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Provost's Update - August 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of gathering with many of our campus leaders for a day-long retreat to reconnect, refocus, and recommit to university priorities. Throughout the day, we engaged in thoughtful and in-depth conversations on advancing Virginia Tech’s institutional initiatives through the strength of our academic enterprise.

As we worked through our agenda, I was pleased and highly encouraged by the depth of the discussions that took place and the willingness of everyone in the room to share their perspectives and ideas on how we can synthesize and align our activities to achieve the university’s strategic goals. Through these open and honest discussions, we were able to gain a better understanding of individual unit goals and how they contribute to accomplishing our institutional initiatives. We were also able to evaluate each of those unit goals to ensure that they are consistent with President Sands’ comprehensive vision for Virginia Tech.

By day’s end, we had made a great deal of progress in identifying both challenges and opportunities that Virginia Tech will face over the next year. The leadership group recognized and discussed issues related (but not limited) to available and obtainable resources to support strategic priorities, leadership support for connecting academic stakeholders to enable intentional collaboration, determining if we have the right institutional structures and processes in place to achieve our goals, and the importance of securing and employing effective technologies by which to advance our academic and research enterprises.

The core theme undergirding many of the topic discussions was the importance of Virginia Tech continuing to develop areas of distinction that differentiate us from our peers. Achievement of this goal depends in large part on further development of Destination Areas, research institutes, Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs (IGEPs), and other transdisciplinary programs, incentive-based financial models such as the PIBB that support future growth strategies, and opportunities for students and faculty to engage in experiential learning.

Our university commitment to inclusion and diversity through InclusiveVT further inspires and supports all of the foundational initiatives and growth opportunities we identified. In fulfilling our tripartite land grant mission, Virginia Tech’s distributed presence throughout the Commonwealth, including the National Capital Region and Roanoke, enables us to serve the diverse and dynamic needs of the citizens and communities of Virginia through teaching, research, and service.

Although much was accomplished during the retreat, we all recognized that much remains to be done in assessing progress towards realizing the Beyond Boundaries vision and expanding the foundational initiatives that will position Virginia Tech for sustained success. I am confident that the ongoing strategic planning process will greatly facilitate accomplishment of this task.