Goal 1: Provide a comprehensive agricultural and life sciences undergraduate and graduate educational experience

Strategy 1.1: Cultivate a student-engaged learning environment and provide excellence and expanded opportunities in experiential and service learning

Priority Actions:

  • Recruit, attract, and showcase faculty who are teaching- and student-centered to enhance the quality of academic advising and mentoring
  • Promote a more student-engaged approach to teaching
  • Emphasize, promote, and encourage experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, independent studies, and internships
  • Develop living/learning communities that integrate CALS disciplines into the fabric of undergraduate on-campus living
  • Identify critical “universal attributes,” such as skills, knowledge, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, that are needed for success in the workplace; emphasize and apply these attributes to both classroom and experiential learning environments

Strategy 1.2: Commit to innovative and interdisciplinary programs of study through diverse delivery methods that are relevant to the needs of students

Priority Actions:

  • Develop interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary programs, curricula, or courses
  • Extend and enhance delivery of undergraduate and graduate distance education
  • Foster the integration and utilization of instructional technology in the classroom as part of the active learning process

Strategy 1.3: Encourage and support efforts to integrate multicultural and international/global perspectives in curricula that meet students’ diverse interests and perspectives

Priority Actions:

  • Develop specific courses and programs that emphasize international/global issues, concepts, and perspectives
  • Expand international exchange and educational opportunities

Strategy 1.4: Strive for a graduate educational experience focused on academic excellence and professional development

Priority Actions:

  • Enhance/facilitate professional development and entrepreneurial management opportunities
  • Enhance quality assessment of students, graduates, faculty members, and programs
  • Promote graduate student participation in active teaching, mentoring experiences, and extension/outreach activities
  • Maintain our commitment to graduate programs meeting specific workforce needs in core disciplines

Strategy 1.5: Strategically increase undergraduate and graduate enrollment and retention in the college

Priority Actions:

  • Develop a comprehensive college recruitment plan to strategically increase undergraduate enrollment to 3,000 and graduate enrollment to 850
  • Evaluate the retention patterns of first- and second-year undergraduate students
  • Increase internal and external transfers of undergraduates into CALS
  • Develop and deliver promotional and recruitment tools for prospective undergraduate and graduate students
  • Create a source of funding to enhance minority enrollment through the expansion of existing scholarship funds (e.g., the George Washington Carver Scholarship Program) and development of new scholarship funding

Goal 2: Strengthen discovery capabilities to successfully address local, state, national, and global needs

Strategy 2.1: Enhance the discovery and translation of knowledge to address the most challenging scientific and social issues

Priority Actions:

  • Build on the college’s traditional competencies and commitment to scholarship while investing in emerging areas of excellence
  • Diversify extramural research funding portfolio (increase annual new awards from $45 million to $70 million by 2018)
  • Increase the number of annual awards larger than $500,000 (from 12 currently to 20)
  • Translate research discoveries into technologies, products, and services that enhance economic development

Strategy 2.2: Engage internal and external collaborators and stakeholders to identify and enhance discovery activities that expand the impact of college programs

Priority Actions:

  • Enhance public/private partnership to facilitate translational research
  • Enhance national and international strategic partnerships with private industry, institutes, and government laboratories
  • Continue to encourage faculty to form interdisciplinary teams as well as productive partnerships with relevant stakeholders
  • Integrate research goals with the land-grant obligation to support workforce development, economic opportunity, and community viability
  • Invest in and sustain an internal seed grant and bridging program to encourage interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and to sustain productive programs during unfunded intervals

Goal 3: Develop and disseminate science-based knowledge and innovative services through engagement with stakeholders and partners

Strategy 3.1: Support and implement the five programmatic focus area goals of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Strategic Plan: Committed to Virginia’s Land, People and Communities and support the outreach efforts of the entire College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Priority Actions:

  • Foster programs that fully integrate the functions of research and extension across local units, departments, and agriculture research and extension centers that are addressing the priority areas of the college and the university (www.president.vt.edu/strategic-plan/strategic-plan.html)
  • Use customer feedback and performance measures to adjust priorities and program delivery while developing and implementing a documentation and reporting system to benchmark and exemplify the contributions of extension and outreach programs
  • Use campus and field faculty to enhance opportunities for international extension and outreach programs
  • Increase regional cooperation to address shared challenges and opportunities

Five programmatic focus areas of VCE:

  • Enhancing the value of Virginia's agriculture
  • Sustaining Virginia's natural resources and the environment
  • Creating a positive future through 4-H youth development
  • Strengthening Virginia families and communities
  • Cultivating community resiliency and capacity

Strategy 3.2: Throughout the college, enhance delivery of extension and outreach programs through the increased use of volunteers, public and private partnerships, and innovative technology to create opportunities for new audiences in Virginia and beyond

Priority Actions:

  • Enhance partnerships between VCE specialists at Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, and the ARECs and agent faculty members at other public or private universities; local, state, and federal agencies; nongovernmental organizations; and/or nonprofit partners
  • Increase the number of programs approved for continuing education unit credits and the revenue generated from programs delivered to professional or industry audiences
  • Increase the use of innovative technology and scholarship methods to reach targeted audiences
  • Increase the number of CALS programs with quantifiable and visible economic and social benefit to local and state stakeholders
  • Leverage more volunteers and volunteer programs to extend the outreach capacity of the Virginia Tech campus across the commonwealth

Goal 4: Create a stable and sustainable resource portfolio for the college and seek continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness

Strategy 4.1: Position CALS to be less dependent on federal formula funds

Priority Actions:

  • Develop plans to shift salaries paid by formula funds to state funds
  • Increase the diversity of external grants and contracts
  • Explore innovative funding models including private/public partnerships
  • Increase multi-institutional and multidisciplinary projects and funding
  • Increase the revenue from scholarly and professional activities, including intellectual property licenses
  • Expand college and departmental development efforts

Strategy 4.2: Develop a comprehensive plan for modernization of college physical facilities and resources

Priority Actions:

  • Track sources and amounts of funding used for new construction, renovation, and new equipment
  • Develop funding and prioritization plans for facility improvements

Strategy 4.3: Develop and implement a communication system that encourages openness and transparency

Priority Actions:

  • Develop and formalize plans that promote effective communication internally and with external stakeholders and volunteers, including a review of the college publication plan
  • Activate the college governance system
  • Form advisory councils for all departments, ARECs, and local VCE units

Strategy 4.4: Invest in the recruitment and professional development of a diverse community of faculty members, staff members, and students

Priority Actions:

  • Identify new funding sources for increasing the diversity of administration, faculty, staff, and students (including scholarships for students)
  • Promote activities of the CALS Diversity Council, University Visiting Scholars Program, and AdvanceVT to faculty and staff
  • Promote broad involvement of college liaisons in all faculty searches
  • Increase collaborations with minority-serving institutions and strengthen the George Washington Carver Scholarship Program
  • Promote broader participation in professional development activities
  • Submit more nominations for awards and honors and for applications to key faculty scholar programs at the national and international levels