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. As we move into 2019, focused workshops and discussions will be held in schools and units across the University to further refine and draft a 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.

  • Undergraduate Student Leaders
  • Office of the Dean, University Library
  • Faculty Senate
  • Office of the Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • UVA College at Wise
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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 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

    Jim Ryan meets with community members
    Inter-disciplinary and cross-grounds collaborations are essential if UVA is to be a leader. The existing organizational structure of the University's Departments, Colleges, and Schools no longer corresponds to the reality we and our students operate in. This is reflected in the demand for new majors and courses. The previous Strategic Plan helped launch several mechanisms for fostering inter-disciplinary research and teaching (e.g. cluster hires, funding for faculty proposals) but these need vigorous financial and intellectual leadership from the President and Provost if they are to have the desired impact.
    Faculty, Parent, Community Member & Supporter
    I believe that the University should engage a study group across the Grounds to examine the likely impact of augmented and artificial intelligence going forward from both a research and educational perspective. Harvard had a university-wide retreat on the topic last year and the results were such that they plan to have a follow-up conference next year. AI is a very multi-pronged development with implications for many scientific disciplines and also stiff challenges for the humanities.
    Learning about the past can be problematic since history books do not reflect nor give credit to the enormous contributions made by diverse populations. Get innovative! Commission the Department of History to write a new book. Give people reasons to respect and value others and reasons to be proud about in their history. As for faculty, ask them what they want, engage them in experiential learning, involve their expertise in critical areas of development across UVA. Reward and recognize them when the university reaches its strategic or developmental goals. This will inspire everyone!
    A community member offers her opinion on the future of UVA
    Add a mandatory volunteer class (could have a variety of available classes or opportunities that engage in bettering the Charlottesville community) to graduation curriculums in E-School and the college.
    Create an innovative way to connect volunteer opportunities with people seeking to volunteer. Perhaps an online portal? Many students can't commit to a scheduled post via Madison House, yet want to volunteer and aren't aware of opportunities in our area. Can we create a website that allows needs to be presented by local organizations and then filled by our willing and generous community on a recurring basis or as a "pop up volunteerism" concept? Let's make it easier to donate time and talents.
    Alumna/us & Community Member
    Emphasize brain research as a data-driven science of discovery, linking basic and clinical neuroscience with data science resources to aggregate large scale data on brain form, function, and connectivity. Brain imaging would be a particularly relevant focus in the era “big data”. Hire dynamic, energetic, and visionary faculty. Give them the resources to do the best possible science, map the brain, understand clinical syndromes, and advance the field. Promote participation of students through courses, internships, and volunteer opportunities. So doing will put UVA at the forefront of brain research at the national and international level.
    UVA's Rotunda is lit up for the holiday season
    Consider expanding the Center for Undergraduate Excellence to include graduate students and even potentially faculty. Actively seeking and assisting these populations in securing prestigious fellowships would bolster UVA's already strong standing and could also help with recruitment of top-caliber graduate students and faculty.
    Student, Staff, Alumna/us & Community Member
    Create community gardens where students have a role in harvesting food for the University's consumption. The ultimate goal could be for a large percentage of produce consumed to be produced by the University. This would promote a sense of community in a very different but meaningful way.
    I think we need to walk the walk with supporting people, whether it be students, staff, or faculty. There is distrust within the University community and between UVA and the larger community. But there is an opportunity there--to do better, to be better. We can earn trust among ourselves, which will enable us to be better equipped to build trust in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County community. Let's be true to our word. Let's be clear and transparent in our communication. Let's be kind. Let's be steadfast in our integrity and willing to acknowledge mistakes and challenges and then all roll up our sleeves to do better because of them.
    The UVA Marching Band's drum major leads the band
    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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