Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors has approved The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries – the university’s next strategic plan that builds upon the Beyond Boundaries vision and guides Virginia Tech’s priorities for achieving global reach and impact.

The approved plan, developed over the past 18 months, is the result of a holistic collaboration with faculty, staff, students, alumni and university partners across colleges, institutes, offices and distributed locations. The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries guides initial steps to achieving the university’s vision for becoming a comprehensive global land-grant university by affirming and advancing the institution’s vision, mission, and core values, defining university priorities, and outlining the goals and milestones for achieving each priority.

The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries establishes four overarching strategic priorities:

  • Advance Regional, National, and Global Impact.
  • Elevate the Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Difference.
  • Be a Destination for Talent.
  • Ensure Institutional Excellence.

In an effort to effectively align these institutional priorities and key strategies, the plan creates a structure for continuous planning where sustained and systematic monitoring of goals and progress help to ensure that the various elements of the strategic plan remain relevant to the university’s core values and its mission and vision.

“One of Virginia Tech’s greatest strengths is our ability to anticipate and adaptively respond to changing landscapes in education, industry, and outreach,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “The strategic plan reflects our commitment to a culture of continuous learning and improvement, with metrics to measure our progress and inform our decisions, and the flexibility to adapt as our internal and external environments change.”

In partnership with the campus community, the strategic planning committees identified four core university values that serve as the foundation for creating the priorities and goals of the plan: Diverse and Inclusive Communities, Knowledge and Innovation, Opportunity and Affordability, and Excellence and Integrity. These values are not only integral to the priorities for the new plan, but are also connected to and reflective of existing initiatives and commitments that continue to be critical to the university’s success.

The integration of the university’s inclusion and diversity goals and commitments directly into the development of The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries distinguishes this planning process and represents a more holistic approach to university plan development and delivery.

“The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries marks the first university-wide strategic plan to integrate inclusion and diversity as a key university priority, as reflected in the Ut Prosim Difference,” said Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for diversity, inclusion, and strategic affairs. “Previously, diversity strategic plans were separate from university-wide strategic plans. As this strategic plan moves to implementation, unit-level diversity strategic plans will help ensure alignment between unit-level and university-level priorities, goals, and milestones.

“The Ut Prosim Difference is a unique differentiator for Virginia Tech, integrating the motto, the land-grant commitment to access and opportunity, and InclusiveVT – the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.”

The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries also closely aligns to and leverages the university’s commitment to its comprehensive research land-grant mission and transdisciplinary education and engagement. The close involvement and collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni across Virginia Tech’s academic enterprise have helped to ensure the plan integrates the institution’s land grant responsibility while advancing Virginia Tech global aspirations.

“A foundational element of the plan is our commitment to transdisciplinary learning and discovery,” said Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost. “As we build out this commitment to advancing a VT-shaped model – one that includes a commitment to disciplinary context across the full realm of the university, and then we look for opportunities to bring those disciplines together through intersections, the strategic plan will enable us to create opportunities to address and challenge the intractable problems of the day.”

Critical to the success of this strategic planning process was the active participation and collaboration with the campus community, including feedback from faculty, staff, students and alumni from various disciplines and at all levels of the university. Of the participants who attended events, nearly 1,100 individuals agreed to provide feedback in various written or digital forms, including approximately 275 participants in roundtable discussions, 270 participants at the Diversity Summit, and more than 525 participants in fall engagements.

Pratt-Clarke said the feedback and perspectives from all units, groups, and individuals was utilized and was essential to developing the plan’s goals and priorities. The thousands of pieces of feedback from individuals across the campus led to developing the mission, vision, core values, priorities, goals, and milestones presented in The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries.

“The strategic planning process has engaged the university and campus community extensively, seeking ideas and feedback throughout the process to help inform goals for a sustainable Virginia Tech committed to Ut Prosim,” said Pratt-Clarke.

“As Virginia Tech builds upon this collaborative strategic planning framework and develops a culture of continuous planning across the university, this framework will be a university-level guide for colleges, institutes, offices, departments, and units across campus as they develop their respective strategies and plans to advance institutional priorities,” said Erin McCann, director for strategic planning.

McCann said that in addition to developing the framework, feasibility studies will help to inform prioritization, implementation, and the development of processes that will identify and incubate new ideas.

The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries can be viewed in its entirety on the Office for Strategic Affairs website.


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