The University of Virginia Board of Visitors wrapped up a two day retreat in Richmond Thursday. Board members say there were several takeaways from the retreat: be more engaged, let go of the past, and get serious about the future.
UVA President Teresa Sullivan addressed the board during the retreat. She says the institution is not facing a financial crisis but does have a number of weaknesses. Sullivan had a very serious tone in her voice when giving her presidential report and talked about five key challenges for UVA.
Sullivan told the board that UVA's weaknesses include less state and federal funding, a lack of masters degree programs, faculty salaries, faculty replacement and medical center programming. But she says she will have a four-year plan to present to the board at its meeting in September.
Sullivan stated, "Collaboration is an important ingredient in solving the big problems. Collaboration makes it possible for members of relatively small departments to be part of big ideas and that's one of the keys to our future."
A lot of talk during the retreat focused on the number of committees dealing with UVA issues. Currently there are a dozen, including a newly formed committee with the task of reducing that number. By consolidating committees, the board can dig deeper into specialty issues.
The governance and engagement committee will look at the structure of the board and look at consolidating the dozen committees now running.
UVA Board of Visitors member George Martin stated, "It's really hard to manage 12 committees."
The strategic planning committee will create the framework for how UVA's future plan will unfold. Unlike traditional plans, this one will be shorter, covering five to seven years.
UVA Board of Visitors member Linwood Rose said, "The future of the institution is, gets defined by this plan. It sets out strategic initiatives for the university. It focuses the effort and brings an institution together."
A draft with a formal charge to the president on the future plan will be done by September. The hope is to have a full plan by the end of the academic year.
University of Virginia PRESS RELEASE
Statements from UVA Board of Visitors meeting
The University of Virginia Board of Visitors concluded its annual two-day retreat with a commitment to collaborative leadership and an emphasis on strategic planning and governance issues.
"We came together in a renewed spirit of partnership to lay a foundation, and we did just that," said Rector Dragas. "I know we are all ready to address -- together with President Sullivan -- the many issues facing the University."
President Sullivan agreed with the Board's sense of urgency, and said that the meeting solidifies the Board's deep commitment to the academic enterprise and the future of the University. "The Rector, the Board and I are moving forward together in a shared commitment to the University and its community. There is much at stake here regarding the future and we have many aspirations, but I believe that working together we can achieve great things."
The Rector specifically established two new committees: a Governance and Engagement Committee, to be led by board members George Martin and John Nau, and a Strategic Planning Committee to be led by two new board members, Frank Atkinson and Lin Rose. Both committees will help the University navigate an ever-changing higher education landscape, while at the same time engaging the whole University community.
The Board was joined by higher education governance expert, Dr. Terry MacTaggart, who led them in a discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the University, highlighting the role the Board of Visitors should play in inspiring and guiding change.
Student member Hillary Hurd also provided the Board with her thoughts regarding issues of importance to the students in the new academic year.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:36 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:36:22 GMT
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