2020-2025 Strategic Plan Executive Summary



The five-year strategic plan for Virginia State University (VSU) was established through a collaborative effort that included various internal and external stakeholders.  This plan, for sustained excellencePreeminence with Purpose sets forth the next chapter in our continued growth, focusing on six areas:  Student Opportunity and Access, Academic Excellence, The Holistic Experience for Students, Enhancing the Land Grant Mission of the University, The VSU Brand and Financial/Operational Effectiveness. 

VSU is dedicated to using a holistic approach to academic excellence and student success and engagement.  This plan emphasizes leadership and professional development, career planning, and experiential learning. It focuses on developing student leaders who are more engaged with their learning, have the soft skills necessary to be successful in their careers, and are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to be globally competitive while remaining civically engaged. 

This plan is transformative as it considers new opportunities and identifies methods of adapting to the ever-changing landscape of higher education. As such, the plan identifies new academic programs to prepare our students to be competitive in the growing fields of computer science, cyber security, engineering, food science, military science and health care.  In addition, it promotes continuous learning through the creation of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Social Work (MSW) programs and recognizes the need for added infrastructure to support the new programs and the holistic student experience.

The strategic plan identifies priority area, goals, objectives and strategic actions to grow the university and address the challenges facing the University and our students.  Some of the key challenges are as follows:

  • Managing declining state and federal funding;
  • Increasing philanthropic giving from alumni and corporations to grow endowments needed for student scholarships;
  • Implementing new degree offerings that are responsive and innovative through online and/or traditional class room environments;
  • Working with the Virginia General Assembly on making college more affordable;
  • Communicating the unique challenges that Opportunity Universities and their students must address in financing college tuition and fees; 
  • Increasing research and grant opportunities to address global and community issue;
  • Communicating and advocating solutions to the “student gap funding”(Student gap funding represents the point where student financial aid and scholarships are not enough to fund tuition and fees);
  • Improving VSU’s enrollment management/marketing efforts;
  • Improving the campus learning infrastructure by working with the General Assembly and corporate donors to replace Harris Hall and continually update the technology infrastructure;
  • Communicating with stakeholders by effectively telling the VSU story and establishing OUR brand;
  • Partnering with other institutions of higher learning and the corporate community to grow the Commonwealth’s talent pool;
  • Obtaining employment/internship opportunities for all students.


Initiated by the Board of Visitors (the University’s governing body,) and led by the President (the University’s Chief Executive Officer), the VSU strategic planning process identifies critical performance areas that affect and determine the University’s capacity to achieve its mission and realize its strategic vision.  In addition, it identifies steps to address each of the priorities.  In developing the Strategic Plan, the University constituents focused on the academic strengths of the University, the Institution’s role as an HBCU, a Land Grant Institution, and the Opportunity University for students of all backgrounds. 

The VSU Strategic Plan is designed to accomplish the mission and vision of the University through a collaborative effort of shared governance and strategic alignment of institutional resources.  The President, members of the Executive Cabinet, Academic/Administrative Deans, and Department Heads provided oversight for the strategic planning process and are ultimately responsible for the execution, monitoring, and assessment of The Plan.  It considered the expressions, input, and visions of The Strategic Plan Steering Committee. This cohort collaborated for more than a year to identify the strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats that impact the University. Active participation was encouraged through vision sharing during focus groups, alumni forums, campus meetings, community town halls, and surveys with hundreds of our internal and external patrons and supporters.


The Strategic Plan has profound implications for those who believe in and support the holistic VSU experience.  In summary, it is our five-year blueprint to equip our students to be reformists, critical thinkers, and community activists and leaders.  Preeminence with Purpose is our roadmap for administrative decision making and sets the path to help us develop and implement aggressive, innovative, and multidisciplinary solutions to authentic personalized real-world learning.