Board Approves ‘Great and Good’ Strategic Plan for University of Virginia


(Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

The University of Virginia’s new 10-year strategic plan is now official.

The Board of Visitors on Friday approved “A Great and Good University – the 2030 Plan,” which will serve as a roadmap for the next decade, founded on an aspiration for UVA to become the best public university in the country by 2030 by renewing and strengthening the commitment to its animating purpose of service.

“It’s our game plan. We now have a clear sense of where we want to go and how we will get there. Now it’s time to execute,” President Jim Ryan said. “I’m really grateful and thrilled to have the board’s approval of the plan.”

The strategic plan is built upon four overarching goals and includes 10 key initiatives to help achieve them, ranging from expanding UVA’s financial aid plan and improving faculty recruiting to working with the community to address issues such as wages, affordable housing and access to health care.

University Rector James B. Murray Jr. said Ryan’s arrival a year ago initiated an emphasis on themes including community, service and discovery for the University’s third century.

“Today, we have taken these three general concepts and we have begun the work of converting them into tangible programs,” Murray said at the meeting. “With the adoption of this strategic plan the board has helped launch the entire University community with a new sense of purpose.”

The four overarching goals describe what it will take to be both great and good:

  • Strengthen UVA’s foundation.
  • Cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education.
  • Enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives.
  • Make UVA “synonymous with service.”

Beneath those four overarching goals, the plan lays out 18 sub-goals designed to capture and shape the University’s work across different schools and units.

Strengthen UVA’s foundation.

  • Recruit and support exceptionally talented, diverse and service-oriented students, regardless of their economic circumstances.
  • Recruit and retain excellent and diverse faculty.
  • Attract and support talented and committed staff.
  • Ensure that our systems enable our students, faculty and staff to do their best work.
  • Promote a culture of integrity, mutual respect, excellence, collaboration and innovation.

Cultivate the most vibrant community in higher education.

  • Prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world.
  • Continuously promote and strengthen an inclusive community of trust.
  • Be a community that consistently lives its values.
  • Be a strong partner with, and good neighbor to, the Charlottesville region.
  • Strengthen our engagement with alumni.

Enable discoveries that enrich and improve lives.

  • Enable faculty and students to work across traditional boundaries.
  • Become an international leader in several distinct and critical areas of research.
  • Shed new light on enduring and profound questions.
  • Approach all learning as an opportunity for discovery.

Make UVA “synonymous with service.”

  • Offer one of the best values in higher education.
  • Provide outstanding and accessible health care.
  • Offer accessible and affordable educational programs to those beyond our Grounds.
  • Lead economic development through academic discovery and entrepreneurship.

The plan outlines 10 key initiatives that, along with work already being done across the University, will help meet the goals.  

SuccessUVA – An extension of AccessUVA, the initiative will significantly expand the University’s financial aid program to enable more low- and middle-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to attend. It also emphasizes advising and support services that promote student well-being.

Citizen-Leaders for the 21st-Century – To prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world, the University will:

  • Establish a series of residential communities that will house all first- and second-year students on Grounds and provide ways for third- and fourth-year students to stay connected to their residential communities.
  • Provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to have at least one international experience before they graduate.
  • Define the competencies necessary to pursue public service, create more opportunities for students to serve and explore the feasibility of creating a loan-forgiveness program for undergraduate students who enter public service.

Third-Century Faculty Initiative – This initiative will expand the existing Bicentennial Professorships and create new cluster and “Targets of Opportunity” hiring programs, which will help recruit the best researchers, teachers and mentors to UVA.

Pathways to Research Preeminence – To help UVA move from prominent to preeminent in research, the University will:  

  • Continue to make strategic investments in research infrastructure and substantially upgrade Alderman Library.
  • Focus on a discrete set of pressing challenges and opportunities that require collaboration across disciplines and schools and where UVA can be an international leader in important fields of research (Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society).
  • Create a Catalyst Fund that will provide seed funding to help launch and grow research initiatives, with preference to applications that involve collaboration across disciplines and schools.

Cultivating Staff Success – The University will prioritize the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and create an inclusive and supportive environment for staff.

Good Neighbor Program – In partnership with Charlottesville and surrounding counties, UVA will address key challenges, including housing, living wages, local educational opportunities and access to health care. The University will set ambitious sustainability goals and create a community engagement office in an easily accessible location in town. A new Center for the Redress of Inequity will support community-engaged scholarship to model how public research universities can reduce racial and socioeconomic inequities in local communities.

Bachelor’s Completion and Certificate Programs – The University will expand both in-person and online educational opportunities for working adults – especially the 1.1 million Virginians who have some college credits, but have not yet earned a degree.

Open Grounds at Emmet-Ivy – UVA will develop the 14-acre site at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road to create three interrelated nexuses – creativity, democracy and discovery – designed to encourage cross-disciplinary endeavors involving people from across Grounds and beyond, in an active and engaging environment.

School of Data Science – The University will establish a School of Data Science. It will be a “school without walls,” specifically intended to leverage the power of data across all disciplines by helping integrate data science across our Grounds.

Broadening Our Horizons – UVA will continue to increase its impact and grow its research footprint in Northern Virginia, allowing the University to reach more students and develop new partnerships. Anchored by the business, engineering and data science schools, the emerging grounds in Rosslyn will offer graduate and professional degree programs and certificates in high-demand fields. The INOVA site in Fairfax offers a rare opportunity to launch health-related research and academic programming in partnership with an urban medical center and in the context of a large population center. 

The board also discussed funding sources for the plan. UVA’s Strategic Investment Fund, philanthropic support, University funds, debt service, state funds and other sources will contribute toward implementing plan components over the coming months and years.

Ryan and his team also provided the Board of Visitors a framework for how the plan’s elements will be sequenced, and for how the University will measure the progress of the plan’s components.

Media Contact

Wesley P. Hester

Office of University Communications