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Provost's Update - January 2018

Three years ago, President Sands brought together stakeholders from across the campus to begin a collaborative process to envision Virginia Tech a generation from now. Through the lens of our institutional strengths and land-grant mission, the Beyond Boundaries vision was developed to rally our university community and to look at who we are today and determine what we could become through enriching our academic enterprise, extending our national and global reach, and expanding our public and philanthropic engagement.

Today, we find ourselves at a critical yet exciting point in this transformational process as we begin to move from the visioning phase to implementation. Many of the foundational initiatives that were established to achieve and advance the Beyond Boundaries vision have now taken shape. These include destination areas and strategic growth areas, which are designed to promote further development of areas of excellence that differentiate us from our peers and attract talented students and faculty to Virginia Tech. Also included among these foundational initiatives is InclusiveVT, which undergirds our efforts to remain relevant to the communities we serve in the spirit of Ut Prosim.

To resource growth of the university in a climate of limited state support and over-dependence on student tuition, we need an adaptable budgetary system that diversifies income sources, supports shared goal-setting, and incentivizes advancement of our priorities. The new Partnership for an Incentive-Based Budget (PIBB) is being developed to address this need, together with a related data and decision support system. Also, embedded at the core of the Beyond Boundaries vision is the concept of a VT-shaped model of learning, discovery, and outreach and the recognition that all of these mission imperatives are enabled by experiential learning, which is the focus of several programs currently being expanded.

These foundational initiatives, and especially the people who have invested so much time and energy in their development and early achievements, are the means whereby we are implementing the core aspirations contained in the Beyond Boundaries vision. However, to fully implement these aspirations, sustain them during the longer-term, and integrate them into a seamless strategy that balances our land-grant mission, we now must develop a shorter-term strategic plan—one that identifies benchmarks and measures that we will use to assess outcomes. Furthermore, consideration must be given to possible gaps in our foundational initiatives that need to be filled and to opportunities that connect the new initiatives with each other and with existing successful programs, such as the research institutes.

The development of the strategic plan, led by Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke, will serve as the roadmap for guiding us forward. Dr. Pratt-Clarke and the team she has assembled to develop the plan have experience and success in this kind of program development, and enjoy the full support of the leadership of the university. The strategic planning committee is committed to engaging and seeking input from all constituents of our university community and I have confidence in its ability to align actionable strategic priorities with the themes and aspirations of Beyond Boundaries. Please join me in supporting and working with the committee to strengthen and grow Virginia Tech.