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Initiative and Process

Strategic Planning Initiative and Planning Process

VSU initiated a strategic planning process and established a Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF) to provide leadership and oversight. The university awarded a contract to MGT of America, Inc. (MGT) and Transformation Consulting, LLC to assist the SPTF in facilitating the development of the VSU Strategic Plan. MGT and Transformation Consulting worked in partnership with VSU to complete the strategic planning process.

During the project initiation stage, meetings and interviews were conducted with key stakeholders including the President, Senior Administrators, Deans, and SPTF members about the strategic planning process. Opinions and perceptions about key issues, concerns, and expectations were solicited, and reports, plans, and information pertinent to the strategic planning process were identified for review and consideration. Relevant documents included the Vice Presidents’ Council Priorities and the Six-Year Plan prepared for SCHEV.

In March 2010, Governor Bob McDonnell established the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment to maintain and enhance the quality of higher education in Virginia. The Commission was charged with increasing the percentage of college-age Virginians enrolling and attaining degrees in higher education, especially in “STEM” areas—science, technology, engineering, and math. In order to succeed, the Commission focused attention on forging effective public-private partnerships and regional strategies for business recruitment, workforce preparation, and university-based research; expanding higher education opportunities to military personnel and veterans; and developing innovative ways to deliver quality instruction, cost-saving reform strategies, and affordable new pathways to degree attainment for Virginians regardless of income or background.

In support of these goals, the 2011 General Assembly enacted Preparing for the Top Jobs of the 21st Century: The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act (Opportunity Act), which calls for expanding economic opportunity by increasing degree attainment by 100,000 degrees in 15 years; investing in high-demand, high-earning degrees in STEM and healthcare areas; and increasing research and development through public-private initiatives. Strategies to increase degree production include expanding enrollments in public and private colleges, encouraging Virginians with partial college credit to complete their degrees, and boosting graduation rates for colleges in the Commonwealth. The act established a six-year planning process that consolidates and streamlines institutional reporting.

The State Council on Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) translated the directives of the Opportunity Act into target goals, performance measures, and funding incentives. In response to the 2011 Act and work of SCHEV, VSU prepared Academic and Support Service Strategies for the six-year period (2014-2020) that details the University’s initiatives associated with each objective of the legislation. The Academic and Support Service Strategies estimates the financial impact of each strategy, i.e., anticipated cost increments, savings, and reallocation. In addition, VSU’s President initiated a strategic planning process that solicited input from university constituents through town hall meetings. Following these meetings, the President and Vice Presidents’ Council prepared a set of priorities and established the Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF) comprised of five work groups with representation from across the University to guide the planning effort.

The synthesis process which resulted in the refined priorities was a critical step in aligning the Vice Presidents’ Council Priorities and SPTF efforts to define the future of the University both programmatically and operationally over the next six years and alignment with the University’s Six Year Plan submitted to SCHEV. The synthesis process resulted in five strategic priorities shown below. These five strategic priorities frame the University’s direction over the next six years.

Strategic Priorities

  1. Expanded Constituent Services and Productivity
  2. Programmatic Sustainability and Sponsored research
  3. Global and Civic Engagement
  4. Infrastructural Innovation
  5. Entrepreneurship for the Millennial Academic Enterprise
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