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Strategic Plan

College of Natural Resources and Environment 2020-2026 Strategic Plan

Learn more about the current state of the college and the goals and milestones for attaining the college’s strategic priorities.

A message from
Dean Paul M. Winistorfer

Headshot of Dean Paul M. Winistorfer

The College of Natural Resources and Environment has been engaged in continuous strategic goal setting and execution for a decade. Starting with the first State of the College address in 2009, each year I address the college with a message that begins with reflection but evolves into a hopeful missive that charts a path forward. When you look back at these presentations, you can see the tremendous progress we have made in identifying and achieving our goals over the decade.

We have been opportunistic at every turn in advancing the college: from growing our faculty size, to enrollment growth, to degree program development, to enhancing facilities, to the creation of our Advising Center, to restructuring our development, alumni relations, and communications activities under the umbrella of the Advancement team, and much, much more. We are on a continuous journey of achieving excellence and impact in all we do.

The state of the college

The College of Natural Resources and Environment is ready to take on the future. We have worked hard and strived strategically, pursuing a path leading to greater impact on the world around us and a contribution to the greater good. We aspire to do more, to be the best, and to be the go-to place for all things natural resources and the environment while remaining true to our roots in forestry, forest products, fish and wildlife conservation, and geography. Under the broad umbrella of the college, we have advanced these disciplines with new degree programs and majors, new faculty expertise, and enhanced facilities and technology.

We are growing our influence in the world and linking together disciplines and expertise to address global challenges. With our many past accomplishments and our quest to impact the future, we are poised for great success.

Vision

The College of Natural Resources and Environment will be a national and global leader in teaching, research, and outreach to sustain and advance the wise use and management of our natural resources and the environment for the betterment of all people.

Mission

The mission of the College of Natural Resources and Environment is to prepare the future generation of leaders to address the complex natural resources issues facing our planet, primarily through world-class faculty who conduct transformational research that complements the student learning experience and impacts citizens and communities across the state and around the world on issues of sustainability, natural resources management, and the environment.

Core Value 1
Diverse and Inclusive Communities

We value the educational benefits of diverse ideas, peoples, and cultures in order to contribute to the equitable inclusion and just engagement of the world’s communities through collaboration and partnerships, guided by open expression, self-awareness, and mutual respect.

Core Value 2
Knowledge and Innovation

We value lifelong learning and freedom of inquiry through research, innovation, and the creative process within and outside of the university to promote the continuous seeking of knowledge to enhance society and address difficult and complex issues affecting the human condition.

Core Value 3
Opportunity and Affordability

We value providing affordable educational opportunities for the Commonwealth of Virginia consistent with our land-grant mission.

The strategic planning process

Our strategic planning process was anchored at the department level, engaging faculty and staff committees throughout the process. Each department took a different approach to the charge through their frequency of meetings and level and variety of engagement of faculty, staff, and students. Departments with an advisory group received feedback from their external partners. Some departments held a retreat to address strategic planning. As a result of these varied endeavors, each department has prepared a strategic plan that adheres to the document style and reporting requirements and identifies its core values, strategic priorities, goals, and milestones.

Strategic
Priority 1

Advance Regional, National, and Global Impact

Daniel McLaughlin

Aspirational Vision

The College of Natural Resources and Environment will be globally recognized for its research strengths, world-class faculty, and ability to integrate its learning, discovery, and engagement missions as a comprehensive research land-grant university. We will prepare graduates to contribute and lead in a complex world by offering person-centered and purpose-driven student experiences designed to educate the whole person. The college’s impact will be regional, national, and global.

Goals and Milestones

Click on each goal to see the corresponding milestones.

Milestones:

  • Achieve $18 million to $20 million in research expenditures by 2025
  • Increase campus, regional, national, and global awards, prizes, scholarly recognitions, and patents of faculty by 2025
  • Enhance research infrastructure and facilities by 2025
  • Hire grant coordinator by 2023
  • Create a research support fund by 2022
  • Develop a Destination Area (DA) theme in invasive species and hire two DA faculty associated with the theme by 2023

Milestones:

  • Increase the four-year graduation rate for undergraduate (entering freshmen) students to 70% by May 2024
  • Increase the three-year graduation rate for all undergraduate transfer students to 85% by May 2024
  • Increase recognition of faculty teaching excellence through the receipt of teaching awards
  • Endow an instructional support fund to promote excellence in teaching and learning through the awarding of $10,000 annually by 2024
  • Increase the number of collegiate teaching faculty to a total of six by 2024
  • Designate one undergraduate course from each academic department as an honors course by 2022
  • Increase the number of online course offerings to enhance access and personalized learning (using pre-COVID course offerings as a baseline) by 2023
  • Ensure 100% of academic majors have a required experiential learning component by 2023

Milestones:

  • Increase undergraduate enrollment to 1,500 by 2025
  • Hire an additional administrative and professional faculty member to assist with recruitment and advising of first-year students
  • Create the School of Environmental Security in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area by 2022
  • Develop new degree programs: two B.S. degrees, one professional master’s degree in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, one new Pathways minor, and master’s and doctoral programs focused on water by 2024
  • Maintain a top three national ranking by College Factual
  • Increase college Extension faculty and programs, particularly in the area of forest landowner programming, as a responsibility to support the commonwealth and our land-grant mission
  • Grow participation in annual career fair to 50 partners/employers by 2022

Strategic
Priority 2

Increase Representational Diversity and Inclusiveness

A crane taking off from a rock on the shore or a body of water.

Aspirational Vision

The Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Difference, a foundational differentiator for Virginia Tech, recognizes the integral connection with Virginia Tech’s land-grant responsibility of access and opportunity and its mission of service to humanity. Consistent with InclusiveVT, the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence, the College of Natural Resources and Environment will build and support communities of discovery where global citizens engage with different ideas, beliefs, perspectives, experiences, identities, backgrounds, and cultures.

Goals and Milestones

Click on each goal to see the corresponding milestones.

Milestone:

  • New director began work in January 2021

Milestones:

  • Assess best practices on campus and at other universities by 2022
  • Develop and implement hiring guidelines focused on enhancing faculty and staff diversity by 2023

Milestones:

  • Achieve 100% participation by faculty and staff in a cultural competency learning module by 2022
  • Include cultural competency material in at least 40% of all courses by 2024

Milestones:

  • Meet or exceed university scorecard metrics (awaiting release of metrics) for student success and the hiring of female and underrepresented minority faculty and staff
  • Achieve 20% representation of underrepresented minority students in the entering class (freshmen and transfers) by 2022

Milestones:

  • Complete governance process for degree program proposal by 2022
  • Achieve approval of the degree program from SCHEV by 2023
  • Initiate recruitment of a diverse undergraduate student body from urban settings during 2023 to populate the major

Milestone:

  • Complete the committee by 2021

Milestone:

  • Create departmental committees by 2021

Strategic
Priority 3

Be a Destination for Talent

A female professor analyzing satellite imagery data.

Aspirational Vision

The College of Natural Resources and Environment will attract bold and dynamic faculty, staff, and students to a diverse and inclusive community to be a force for positive change. The college will support the well-being and quality of life of students, staff, and faculty. Alumni and local communities will recognize the college as a lifelong learning destination. The College of Natural Resources and Environment will invest, empower, support, and value a workforce that will champion our vision for the future.

Goals and Milestones

Click on each goal to see the corresponding milestones.

Milestones:

  • Assess and benchmark faculty salaries of competitive and aspirational peer departments, colleges, and institutions by 2023
  • Raise faculty salaries to the 90th percentile of peer and aspirational programs by 2025

Milestones:

  • Construct new research, teaching, and outreach facility at Center Woods by 2023
  • Renovate and expand the Brooks Forest Products Center by 2024
  • Construct an addition to Cheatham Hall to create additional high-quality faculty and graduate student office and research space by 2025

Milestones:

  • Assess salaries by 2022
  • Achieve progress in administrative and professional faculty and staff salaries at the 75th percentile by 2024

Milestone:

  • Improve on those categories of the Employee Climate Survey and the COACHE survey for which college satisfaction falls below the 70th percentile of responses among Virginia Tech colleges

Milestones:

  • Increase scholarship funds distributed to undergraduate and graduate students by 50% before 2024
  • Create a development fund to support underrepresented minority students by 2024

Strategic
Priority 4

Ensure Institutional Excellence

A student replacing a wrench on a pegboard labeled with tool names and marked with their corresponding silhouette.

Aspirational Vision

The College of Natural Resources and Environment will, through continuous strategic planning, create opportunities to solicit and explore innovative ideas, inform resource allocation, and engage the university’s system of shared governance. The college will also optimize efficiency and effectiveness of administrative functions to ensure alignment of personnel, physical campus, and fiscal resources and processes in support of strategic goals.

Goals and Milestones

Click on each goal to see the corresponding milestones.

Milestone:

  • Establish departmental advisory councils (or boards) by 2023

Milestones:

  • Achieve annual progress toward Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech goal of $20 million for the college
  • Add one additional development officer to the college advancement team by 2023
  • Replace vacant alumni director position by 2022

Milestone:

  • Evaluate the need for a centralized business center by conducting an audit of current personnel and operations by 2023