Nearly two years after the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors approved its 10-year strategic plan, “A Great and Good University – the 2030 Plan,” evidence of progress can be found in nearly every corner of the University, even amid 15 months of a global pandemic.
On Friday, President Jim Ryan updated the Board of Visitors on the goals laid out the plan, sharing a dashboard and interactive timeline tracking milestones and progress on key efforts. The strategic plan includes 10 major initiatives, all aimed at establishing UVA as the best public university in the country.
Overall, Ryan said he is thrilled by the progress he has seen so far, especially considering that many initiatives began or developed as UVA battled a global pandemic.
“As much as we have spent time dealing with the pandemic, I think it is worth pausing to thank the large number of people, many in this room, who have helped us continue to move forward with respect to our strategic plan,” Ryan told board members on Friday. “I am incredibly grateful to the faculty, staff and students, and to all of you, for the hard work that got us to this point.”
Rector James B. Murray Jr. also thanked Ryan and the UVA leadership team for “just a remarkable job of guiding the University through an incredible year.”
“We have survived, we are prospering and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our leadership,” Murray said.
Going forward, Ryan said, the dashboard and timeline presented on Friday will provide “a way for us to track, at a fairly granular level, how we are doing with respect to projects that are part of the initiatives [in the strategic plan.]”
“This is both a way for us to track our progress and, frankly, a way to hold ourselves accountable so that we can share this publicly with all of you,” he said.
Each initiative in the strategic plan will help meet four overarching goals: strengthening UVA’s foundation by recruiting and supporting excellent and diverse students, faculty and staff; cultivating the most vibrant community in higher education; enabling discoveries that enrich and improve lives; and making UVA “synonymous with service.”
Among the progress and milestones highlighted on the timeline are:
- The establishment of the new School of Data Science in 2019 to position UVA as a global leader in efforts to improve society through teaching and research based on the powerful, emerging field of data science.
- Significant strides in affordability and accessibility, with the SuccessUVA initiative expanding financial aid programs to enable more low- and middle-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to attend. Virginia families earning less than $80,000 per year can send their children to UVA tuition-free; and UVA will also cover tuition, room and board for students from Virginia families earning less than $30,000 per year. In April, the Princeton Review named UVA the No. 1 public school for financial aid, and the No. 2 best value public school in the country.
- Plans for the Ivy Road corridor, which are rapidly coming together and include academic buildings – including space for the new School of Data Science – as well as performing arts facilities and a new hotel and conference center. Elsewhere on Grounds, a new Student Health and Wellness building will open this summer, renovations are underway on Alderman Library, and an athletics complex is planned to support approximately 750 student-athletes in 27 varsity sports.
- Investments in research, including the launch of seed funds like the President’s and Provost’s Fund for Institutionally Related Research, and support for priority research areas where UVA has considerable strength, including the study of democracy, environmental resilience and sustainability, precision medicine, the brain and neuroscience, and digital technology and society. In October 2019, UVA research funding topped $412 million, the largest amount in University history. On Friday, the University announced its new Karsh Institute of Democracy, which will build on UVA’s existing expertise in democracy, public policy and leadership and support research, teaching and public events.
- Resources to support and strengthen UVA’s faculty as the University heads into its third century, including more than $300 million dedicated to the Bicentennial Professors Fund supporting endowed professorships.
- Efforts to be a good neighbor and partner in the Charlottesville community, including the establishment of the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships and a Center for Community Partnerships on West Main Street; the launch of the UVA Equity Center, and UVA’s decision to raise pay all full-time, benefits-eligible employees a living wage of at least $15 per hour. In March 2020, Ryan also announced plans to support the development of up to 1,500 affordable housing units in Charlottesville.
More information about these initiatives and many others within the strategic plan can be found on the interactive timeline, which will be regularly updated.