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President seeking input for updated University Plan

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 11 - November 2, 1995

(Editor's note: The following memo from President Paul E. Torgersen is being published in Spectrum to help assure the widest possible dissemination of information regarding the Board of Visitors' request for an update of the University Plan. University administrators request that input on the University Plan be channeled through the leaders of campus organizations such as departments, faculty and staff organizations, senates, commissions, student groups, etc., whenever possible to facilitate the process of updating the University Plan.)

As we begin to develop an update to the University Plan, we would prefer to give everyone as much opportunity as possible to provide input. At the same time, we face extraordinary time constraints, in that the rector of the Board of Visitors has asked for the updated plan to be submitted to the BOV at its February 1996 meeting. I have agreed to meet this request. This means that a draft must be completed and ready for review by the end of the present semester.

Fortunately, over the past six years, there has been a great deal of analysis, thought, and discussion concerning the future of the university. In 1989-91 we went through an exhaustive, broadly interactive process to develop the current plan. The Phase II and Restructuring processes, along with the review of Faculty Roles and Rewards and the examination of Core Values, have brought additional focus to issues of our aspirations and priorities. I am sure that each of you has thought about, and probably discussed with colleagues, the question of possible futures for this university. Given this background, the board and I believe that the time has come to make decisions that will allow us to move ahead.

First, before the updated draft is prepared, I would like to know your present thoughts. In particular, I would appreciate your listing the top three strategic directions that you believe Virginia Tech should follow in the next five to 10 years, and their relative priorities.

As you may know, the 1991-96 plan generally stated a very broad set of goals and strategies, without establishing priorities among a large number of competing directions. In the new fiscal and political environment in which we operate, I believe that the updated plan must be much more focused. (Note that the 1991-96 plan is available on the Virginia Tech gopher under "Administration" and then "Strategic Planning.")

In considering my request for suggestions about strategic directions for the university, I hope that you will consult with others in your units/commissions/groups, at regular or specially called meetings, or in other ways. As I have noted, however, time is short. To ensure full consideration of your input in preparing the updated draft, I will need it no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 10. If you can provide it sooner, so much the better. I will also do my best (but cannot promise) to take into account later submissions.

Please try to keep your response to two pages or less. It should be sent, preferably in electronic form, to David Conn (conn@vt.edu; fax 1-7211; mail code 0132).

Once input has been received, it will be discussed with the University Advisory Council for Strategic Budgeting and Planning, senior administrators, and others. I have designated a writing group, including a liaison with the Faculty Senate, to work with me on preparing a draft document that will be distributed widely for review and comment before it is finalized near the end of January.

I regret giving you this extra task at such short notice, but I know that you will appreciate its importance. I intend that the new University Plan will not be relegated to a shelf but rather that it will help us to define Virginia Tech's direction for a number of years to come. In the immediate future, it will provide an important starting point from which to launch the university's upcoming Self Study, leading to reaffirmation of accreditation in 1998.

Thank you for your cooperation.