Ours to Shape

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On August 1, Ours to Shape was launched as an effort to develop and define a shared vision for the future of the University. To date, thousands of people have participated through this site, and through dozens of events on Grounds and in cities throughout the nation. A summary of these comments and ideas highlights many of the topics and themes that are important to community members. During the spring 2019 semester, focused workshops and discussions are being held around the University to further inform the drafting of the strategic plan.

Strategic Planning Process

Launch Effort 

  • Launch Ours to Shape Website on August 1, 2018

Explore Purpose 

  • Constitute and convene strategic planning committee
  • Engage faculty, staff, alumni, students and community members to share their broad vision for the University
  • Host in person town halls and Conversations
  • Build a fact base to inform decision making

Share Vision 

Develop Priorities 

  • Engage faculty, staff, alumni, students and community members to help refine vision
  • Identify action ideas through design thinking process
  • Explore specific actions
  • Convene senior leaders to prioritize actions
  • Work with units to develop a financing plan


  • submit a draft of the strategic plan, June 2019



Fall 2018 Engagements

See a high-level list of groups engaged to date.

  • Office of African American Affairs, NOVA Parent Advisory Committee
  • Monroe Hall Staff
  • Associate Deans, College
  • Undergraduate Student Leaders
  • Office of the Dean, University Library
  • Faculty Senate
  • Office of the Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • UVA-Wise Faculty and Staff
  • Ours to Shape Community Event - October
  • UVA Sustainability
  • Office of the Dean, School of Law
  • Athletics
  • UVA Career Center
  • UVA Club of Dallas
  • Office of the Dean, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
  • Office for the University Architect
  • Alumni
  • UVA Licensing & Ventures Group
  • Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs
  • Chairs and Directors, Arts & Sciences
  • University Judiciary Committee
  • Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Office of the University Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity
  • Office of the Dean, McIntire School of Commerce
  • UVA Club of New York
  • Parents
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Madison House
  • Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Rodman Scholars, School of Engineering
  • UVA Board of Visitors
  • Faculty
  • Office of the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences
  • UVA Alumni Association
  • Office of the Dean, School of Nursing
  • Higher Education Program, Curry School
  • Meriwether Lewis Fellows/Leadership 2018 Students
  • Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life
  • Graduate Student Council, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Young Alumni Council
  • Community members
  • Office of Enterprise Risk Management
  • Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative, Board of Directors
  • President's Cabinet
  • Office of Student Affairs
  • UVA Club of Richmond
  • Office of the Dean, Darden School of Business
  • Associate Deans for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Office of the Senior Vice President for Operations
  • Graduate students
  • University Communications
  • University Advancement
  • VPSA Senior Leadership Team
  • Student Athletic Advisory Committee
  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Dean, School of Engineering
  • Ours to Shape Community Event - November
  • Office of the Dean, School of Medicine
  • Directors of Diversity and Inclusion, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Office of the Dean, School Architecture
  • UVA Club of New Orleans
  • Health System employees
  • UVA Supporters
  • UVA-Wise Students
  • UVA Club of Houston
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Office of the Dean, Curry School of Education and Human Development
  • Office of the Director and CEO of the Miller Center

    Comment Topic Selection

    Get Involved

    There are several ways you can be involved in this important effort.


    Submit a Comment


    How do we create an unparalleled residential experience for students, in and out of the classroom? How do we strengthen the sense of community on Grounds, with the greater Charlottesville region, and with our alumni?


    How do we best enable faculty to discover new knowledge? How do we best enable students to learn about the past, themselves, and the world around them?


    How do we provide the most valuable service to the Commonwealth? How do we prepare our students for a lifetime of service, regardless of their chosen fields?


    Write an Essay

    As we begin our third century, we have the opportunity to address a set of fundamental questions. What are our dreams and aspirations for the University? What is our purpose as a public university? What impact can UVA have on the commonwealth, nation and society at large? We invite the community to submit essays of 400 – 700 words, answering President Ryan’s questions below or broadly addressing the themes of community, discovery and service. Please submit these, in either Microsoft Word or PDF format, to ourstoshape@virginia.edu.


    Send an Email

    Email the Strategic Planning Committee at ourstoshape@virginia.edu.


    Attend an Event

    Look for news about engagement events in your area in 2019.

    What people are saying

    UVA President James E. Ryan addresses a community meeting
    I propose to develop an ecosystem to integrate units among different schools towards entrepreneurship effort. It would be great ten years from now that we initiate this effort to incubate and promote entrepreneurship mindset among students. Also, it is beneficial to have a platform to promote communication between graduates(PhD)/professionals(J.D. M.D.MBA) and Undergraduates. It would promote collaboration, and new innovation. Maybe it could create an ecosystem for living and learning opportunities towards entrepreneurship efforts for UVA students. As a result, it will improve students education experience and therefore attract more talented students for years to come.
    I love President Ryan's vision and believe that our service to the Commonwealth and our students, faculty, alumni needs to incorporate opportunities for this University to be their Northstar for learning-- through a wide variety of continuing education opportunities that reflect our commitment over time. We can leverage undergraduate and graduate educational content into continuing professional development opportunities that foster a lifelong relationship with our community-- not only locally but nationally and internationally. this is particularly important in the health sciences where expectations for continued professional development is a core expectation for all(grads, sfaff, faculty).
    Position the University to be a leader in the evolution of the traditional higher education model. Anticipate the prospect of operating on a national and global scale delivering our services where the students are. UVA's next strategic plan should contemplate both near term aspirations as well as the inevitability of dramatic change to the traditional model of a four year, full time undergraduate degree. Collaborate with the world's best & brightest institutions. Leverage best practices. Enhance the uniqueness of the UVA “brand” and pricing structure while improving cost of delivery, sustainability and mission achievement.
    Staff, Alumna/us, Community Member & Supporter
    UVA's Aviator Monument
    At this age of information explosion, it becomes extremely critical to teach our students and to make our discoveries based on a solid founding stone and framework. Otherwise, we will all be overwhelmed by the vast amount of information, and lose our ability to think clearly and to make decision wisely. To achieve this, we must always ask why as the first step, figure out the context as the second step (the position of not only the knowledge but also ourselves in time and space), before we dive into details. We must relentlessly practice this to become masters rather than slaves of our knowledge.
    I think we need to focus a strategic plan in the hospital/health system to leverage the gains being made in the area of telehealth. UVA can serve as a leader in this field; but it will also require collaboration with other schools on grounds besides medicine and nursing; the data science school will be key moving forward and faculty need to know how/who to access resources; additionally engineering and education are going to be valuable partners in this process. Faculty need ways to build these cross ground bridges like never before so that we can reach our state's most distant patient and collaborate with other academic partners.
    I have worked for UVA for 12 years and I have never used my PTO benefit for community service. The Day of Caring is a great program, but I have never been able to participate due to the demands of my work. The primary reason that I don't volunteer is that I don' know what is needed or where my skills can be of use in the community. It would be great if UVA had a website where community organizations could "seek" volunteers. If it were an easy process for me to identify where I am a good fit, and sign-up to volunteer my time, I would do it on a more frequent basis. And UVA would be able to track when/where its employees are supporting the community.
    I think we need a "grand idea" to serve our educational mission and our community service mission. UVA has wonderful resources--expertise in solving many of the societal problems our country faces today. Rather than the traditional "town-gown" adversity, we should have a "town-gown" collaboration. The Charlottesville community can be a learning community for our students--a learning laboratory. In exchange, our students and faculty can provide service to Charlottesville. Examples: Medicine/Public Health should focus on preventive health care and management of illness. Curry can focus on our school systems. Architecture--affordable housing. Darden--small business support. UVA gives back
    As a faculty member at SCPS, my comments align with the themes of diversity & inclusion and the value of relationships. I agree with the importance of striving towards the goal of being a “good” university as well as a great one. While UVA has made significant strides to provide greater access to minority, underserved students on grounds, we can do better to provide greater inclusivity and access through quality online programs for adult leaners in the commonwealth. Promoting and fostering a culture and financial model to encourage partnerships between SCPS, UVA’s continuing education school, and other schools and units will help us deliver our quality programs to underserved working adults.
    Community involvement needs to be integrated into the general curriculum. Students should be required to complete X number of credits/hours of community service (To the community, to the common wealth, and to the nation). These experiences will help foster citizens who will be able to lead communities of their own.
    Stormy rotunda at sunset
    Create a culture which fosters mindful, purpose-driven students, faculty and administrators aspiring to fully energized, fully engaged, holistically balanced lives. Too often students focus on near-term, resume building activities at the expense of exploring and defining their own values, ideals and aspirations, both professional and personal.
    Staff, Alumna/us, Community Member & Supporter
    Two of my children attended UVA. One also has a Masters degree and the other completed the pre med Post Bac program. For both who wanted to stay on grounds their second year, having no on grounds housing available to them after first year impaired their sense of being a part of the community and thrust them into isolated apartment living. Both found smaller communities -- a sorority and a Christian group-- but they missed interacting with a more diverse group of students that dorm living would have provided. In my view, UVA has neglected this important aspect of care for students' physical needs and has missed an opportunity to build a stronger sense of community for undergraduates.
    Parent & Community Member

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