Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to many of the most common questions regarding the upcoming strategic plan.

For questions about the current strategic plan, visit our archived FAQ page.

Why do we need a strategic plan?
A strategic plan helps us identify what is important to us as a university, as well as what we want to achieve and how to get there.

Having a strategic plan unites VCU, defining its priorities and providing high-level strategic direction to ensure we are all working toward a set of common goals. This guidance helps our units and employees prioritize resources, inform decision-making, identify opportunities, and shape policies and programs.

A strategic plan also provides benchmarks and practical implementation guidelines to help us accomplish our goals.

Who is able to contribute to the strategic planning process?
We want to hear from everyone, including university administration, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and community partners.

How do I get involved in the strategic planning process?
Throughout the planning process, there will be a number of opportunities for engagement. We will be holding town halls in the fall, for instance, where everyone will be invited to come and provide comment. Volunteers are also being accepted for task groups, and the strategic plan website has a comment form where anyone may provide feedback.

When will this new strategic plan launch?
This new strategic plan will begin in fall 2018.

What will happen to Quest for Distinction?
Always envisioned as a six-year strategic plan, Quest for Distinction will reach the end of its lifespan on June 30, 2018. This new strategic plan will serve as its successor.

There are a lot of university-level projects happening right now. What are the differences between them?
The university’s strategic plan serves as the successor to Quest for Distinction, providing a unifying vision and set of goals that will guide the university forward.

The master site plan focuses on the physical location of VCU, providing an analysis of the university’s current facilities, maintenance, operations, and use of land. It also explores future challenges and opportunities for expansion/upgrades.

The diversity and inclusion strategic action plan provides a framework to measure VCU’s progress in its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity through its community building, its curriculum and co-curriculum, and its engagement with communities beyond the university.

The human resources redesign is the VCU Office of Human Resources’ new personnel management plan to attract and retain university employees. It emphasizes career advancement, offering competitive salaries, and aligning employee duties with the VCU mission and values.

The university budget redesign serves as the new budget model for VCU. This plan will restructure the university’s budget process to better align with its core values and strategic direction.

How does the strategic plan correlate with future budget allocations?
We know higher education faces increasing financial constraints. This strategic plan, therefore, will be closely linked with resource allocations. Consideration of tradeoffs and resource allocations necessary to support the plan will be part of the budget deliberation process. The plan will also coordinate with the capital campaign.

If my unit or school wants to pursue a new program or activity in the future, does it have to be reflected in the strategic plan?
Strategic plans are designed to be dynamic, and to articulate shared goals at a high, big-picture level. So every initiative the university will pursue in the coming years will not be directly listed within the strategic plan. Instead, schools and units should use the plan as a guideline, and pursue initiatives that are in alignment with the shared values and themes it defines.

Who will implement the plan?
As part of the strategic planning process, our steering committee, work groups and task groups will create implementation plans during the 2017-18 academic year. These guidelines will designate appropriate university units or teams that will consider, refine and put into place the goals and action items that come out of the plan.

Who will decide which goals we pursue?
The steering committee will identify criteria through which all goals will be vetted and discussed, and will consider the direction of the plan as a whole when narrowing down the goals submitted by work groups in fall 2017.

How detailed will the plan be?
This plan is designed to provide high-level, big-picture guidelines for 2019-2025. Goals will be broad, rather than prescriptive, allowing for teams and areas across campus to develop specific implementation plans. We have defined elements of the plan on our strategic plan website.

Will the work groups meet during the summer?
Work groups will organize themselves and may choose to meet in the summer. First drafts of recommended goals and initiatives will be due in September 2017, and each group can determine how best to meet that deadline. Visit our strategic plan website for a full timeline of the plan.

How will work group and task group members be chosen?
Work group co-chairs were selected by the strategic plan co-sponsors, charged with staffing their work group teams. Work groups may choose to create task groups to provide targeted support or research within a given area. This pool of volunteers is being collected on an ongoing basis via our online sign-up form.

Who will write the plan?
A writing group is built into the structure of the strategic plan, with a representative assigned to each of the five work groups. This writing group will collect information from work group and task group meetings, and come together to craft the language of the plan. See the plan’s full structure at our strategic plan website.

What is the timeline for developing the strategic plan?
Fall 2016

  • Environmental scan
  • Community feedback and listening sessions
  • Plan structuring
  • Affirmation of VCU mission, vision and values

Spring 2017

  • Major theme identification
  • Steering committee kickoff
  • Work group charge and kickoff
  • Community feedback and town halls

Summer 2017

  • Work group goal formation
  • External VCU community feedback

Fall 2017

  • Strategic plan goals identified
  • Implementation teams formed
  • Community feedback and town halls

Spring 2018

    • Implementation plans finalized
    • Strategic plan submitted for Board approval

Fall 2018

    • Quest for Distinction is officially celebrated and closed
    • New strategic plan kicks off