A CLOSER LOOK INTO BEYOND BOUNDARIES
In August 2015 President Timothy D. Sands challenged the university community to engage in a visioning process to support two interrelated goals: advancing Virginia Tech as a global land-grant university, and strategically addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscape of higher education.
The initiative challenges all members of the university community to think well beyond traditional timelines, mindsets, and paradigms to envision the university we aspire to become in a generation’s time.
Now, more than ever, the impacts of globalization require us to consider how best to prepare our students for the interconnected world in which they will live and work — a world that will demand a global perspective. Through research and analysis conducted by the Office of the Senior Fellow for Resource Development, we identified four thematic areas central to our future: student preparedness, the campus of the future, discovering new funding models, and the global land-grant mission.
+ Research and Analysis
Committee membership was comprised of thought leaders from the university community. Participants represented different academic disciplines and functional areas of university life, providing a diverse population important to inclusive and creative thought processes.
The campus of the future may look very different in terms of student, faculty, and staff needs and the college experience. The questions of who will be learning, how will they learn, and where will they learn will determine future Virginia Tech facilities and infrastructure needs.
Shifting funding and cost models dictate innovative ideas towards enhancing and diversifying our resource base. To preserve accessibility and affordability, we must evaluate new and diverse revenue sources. Virginia Tech’s continued strength as an institution will depend on how well we navigate this changing landscape.
The impacts of globalization require us to consider how best to prepare Virginia Tech students for the interconnected world in which they will live and work. To foster global and engaged citizens, we must innovate the ways in which we teach and learn, including capitalizing on opportunities that technology will bring to students in and out of the classroom.
Today’s land-grant university must address economic, societal, and technological needs of this generation. Our graduates must have the capacity to solve complex problems of a regional, national, and global scale that have yet to be envisioned. Now and in the future, we will use research and service to address global issues such as health, sustainability, resilience and security, and advance knowledge through technical assistance. Global recognition is a testimonial to comprehensive excellence.
Campus of the future
New funding models
Destination Areas combine our world-leading research, faculty and technology, with a strong experiential component. The term “Destination” references the goal of the identifying cross-cutting themes that will be “destinations” for talent. Destination Areas will evolve on the timescale of a decade as the needs of our society evolve, in contrast to the more permanent disciplinary department/college structure that serves to aggregate knowledge and evaluate quality. The faculty engaged in each Destination Area, in collaboration with colleagues across the university, will create crosscutting, interdisciplinary majors designed to facilitate the development of VT-shaped students. Students will be challenged to focus on real problems and thus engage in the purpose-driven, “hand-on, minds-on” work that is a hallmark of the Virginia Tech undergraduate student experience.
Former University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman launched the Beyond Boundaries project with a public lecture in Blacksburg in September, 2015. Coleman addresses the need for universities to become more innovative and entrepreneurial.
President Sands, Provost Rikakis, and the Beyond Boundaries leadership hosted town hall meetings to update the Virginia Tech community on the Beyond Boundaries project.
Through informal video vignettes, students shared personal stories about their Virginia Tech experiences. We asked, "Where do you want Virginia Tech to take you? What is standing in your way?" We learned about organizational and cultural barriers that impede some students' full potential.
Communitywide participation is essential to the Beyond Boundaries project. During the 2015-16 academic year, participants gave feedback through the Beyond Boundaries idea bank and in-person meetings with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders. In addition, students shared their Virginia Tech experiences and hopes for the future through video vignettes.
VT-shaped people prioritize purpose-driven engagement with a combination of disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary capacities.
Communities of Discovery advance organizational networks and engage the university in ideas that matter.