How Robust Feedback from Thousands Will Shape UVA’s New Strategic Plan

Collage of images with the text Ours to Shape

How Robust Feedback from Thousands Will Shape UVA’s New Strategic Plan

University of Virginia leaders are going through feedback from every corner of the UVA community as they begin to put together President Jim Ryan’s strategic plan for the University, which will be presented to UVA’s Board of Visitors in June.

The “Ours to Shape” campaign, which Ryan launched when he took office in August, has gathered insights from more than 2,500 comments, both online and through 75 in-person sessions with groups across the University, as well as numerous alumni events that drew large crowds coast to coast. A Wednesday event, to be held at 4:30 p.m. in Garrett Hall, will give students another opportunity to share suggestions and ask questions.

Ryan, along with members of his Strategic Planning Committee and other University leaders, have been active at each of the events, asking questions and – most importantly – listening.

“The volume of feedback we have received is incredible,” said Michael Lenox, the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration and senior associate dean and chief strategy officer at UVA’s Darden School of Business. “We have heard from students, faculty members, employees, alumni, parents and community members. We will take all of that feedback and share it with University leadership to inform their planning process.”

Lenox co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee with Margot Rogers, a senior adviser to the president for strategic initiatives. The 14-member committee, which also includes five ex-officio members, was tasked with soliciting input and generating ideas for the strategic plan, which Ryan and UVA leadership will draw on as they develop a vision for UVA over the next 10 to 15 years.

The committee recently posted a summary of feedback received so far.

Common themes included ways to bolster student and faculty research, create a vibrant and diverse community on Grounds, streamline collaboration among different schools and fields, be a good employer, and be a good neighbor to the Charlottesville community.

The insights fueled a vision for the University that Ryan laid out in a January video calling on the University community to be “both great and good,” a theme he reiterated at last week’s Board of Visitors meeting.

To help University leaders develop an actionable plan around these ideas, complete with financial planning and analysis, the Strategic Planning Committee is now busy synthesizing and organizing feedback and putting together short reports about the topics addressed.

“Our job now is to provide the analysis that will help University leaders make decisions about how to invest UVA’s resources, and how to create a workable plan that will reflect the values and goals people have shared with us,” Rogers said.

In addition to sharing feedback with University leaders, the committee will also share feedback and ideas with those on Grounds whose work the comments relate to.

“So many people offered such valuable input, and we want to get that feedback to the people responsible for that work,” Rogers said.

Community members can continue to provide feedback at any time, through submissions to the Ours to Shape website.