Support and Resources
The 21st Century will require a very different higher education paradigm. The rapid expansion of information technology exchange demands an “anywhere–anytime” deployment of a college’s academic, research, and service mission. No longer is “access” to higher education the most critical gap. Today, and well into the foreseeable future, achievement of educational goals, most notably degree completion, is the paramount objective. At the national level as well as across the Commonwealth (articulated by the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment), academically prepared citizens with competitive skills for a global marketplace are critical to invigorating and sustaining our economy. Every public or private college and university across Virginia shares this responsibility.
Through this plan, VSU vigorously and strategically addresses that challenge. Subsequently, VSU will continue to provide access to an affordable education for its varied constituents, either locally (on campus) or through distance delivery modes. The University will further develop appropriate mechanisms to ensure its students are prepared and encouraged at each stage of their academic journey to succeed and advance. University administration and faculty will continue to review, rethink, and reshape the academic program mix to better align with critical needs of the region, the state, and the nation, while strengthening basic skills that transcend discipline specific content. Simultaneously, VSU will integrate a global perspective that touches its academic, research, and service roles.
Finally, in order to make the transition required for viability in the “global arena” of higher education, VSU must take appropriate steps to enhance the infrastructure (both physical and intellectual) of the University to accomplish the initiatives identified above. Needed changes will not only require investment in capacity, efficiencies, and utilization of existing assets, but creative strategies for new and innovative solutions. For example, increases to the entering freshmen class will likely require additional residential capacity and both capital and operational improvements. Likewise, distance delivery of programs will require considerable enhancement and upgrades to the VSU technology infrastructure to enable seamless and reliable instructional and support services as well as virtual admission and registration functions. Faculty, staff, and student communication, information exchange, training, and technical support will require further development as well. A targeted increase in international students will require additional specialized services, not typically required of domestic enrollment growth.
Needless to say, University leadership recognizes that all of these important changes require additional resources if they are to be realized. The “new economy” of public higher education will demand that VSU explore creative opportunities to maximize efficient use of resources, while seeking innovative solutions to attract alternative funding sources beyond a traditional state support model. All the while, VSU will strive to provide a quality education at an affordable price.