|In the 1960s and 1970s, our leadership recognized that the University was poised to achieve national eminence in such fields as law, graduate business, English, religious studies, and history. Our standing today, as the best public university in the nation, is the result of their ability to conceive daringly and their determination to realize their ambitions.
But we cannot expect the aspirations of those who lived two centuries ago or even half a century ago to sustain the University as it enters its third century in 2020. Jefferson, with his impatience for tradition, understood this, arguing that the University's strategies should "be developed by time, as those who come after us shall find expedient. They . . . will know best what will suit the circumstances of their day."
Accordingly, members of the University community have come together to chart an ambitious course for its future. This process began with the formation of the Virginia 2020 Commissions, which provided a roadmap for ensuring excellence in the fine and performing arts, international activities, public service and outreach, science and technology, the student experience, and athletics. Despite the state budget crisis, substantial progress has been made in each of these areas.
||Building on the Virginia 2020 planning process, the individual schools then embarked on their own strategic planning efforts. Taken together, their plans reveal critical strategies that the University must pursue to ready itself for its third century.
Building on Core Strengths
Areas of excellence can be found in each of our schools, yet to sustain them, our schools must continue to evolve. The Curry School of Education, for example, has made a priority of finding new ways to pursue its core mission. Known for its leadership in such diverse areas as early literacy, school design, special education, school psychology, and kinesiology, Curry intends to harness these capabilities to address the needs of vulnerable, at-risk children, with their multiple social, academic, and environmental challenges.
Although the College of Arts and Sciences is the most populous school at the University, with some 9,400 undergraduates and approximately 1,500 graduate students, its commitment to providing an intimate educational experience is shared by all faculty. It intends to promote undergraduate excellence by placing greater emphasis on student advising, by enhancing the Echols Scholars program and other opportunities for intellectual growth, by establishing a science scholars program, and by increasing stipends for undergraduate research. The College also shares a University-wide goal of improving graduate life and is planning to increase fellowship support through the Jefferson and Presidential Scholars programs.