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Strategic Plan

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering has engaged in a strategic planning process to span the next several years and charts an intentional direction. With the planned expansion of the college that includes campus growth in Blacksburg and the Washington D.C., metro area, including the Innovation Campus, a new plan is imperative for the college.

Dean Julia M. Ross talking with two students in the Ware Lab.

In alignment with the university’s new strategic plan, The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries, the college’s strategic plan was developed in collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni across the college, and informed by partners and employers.

Dean Julia M. Ross brought together strategic planning committees, representing leadership from the college who were responsible for executing multiple phases of the strategic planning process. Together, they performed an in-depth analysis of the current state of the college that includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Throughout the process, the college’s strategic planning committees engaged with the college community of faculty, staff, students, advisory boards, alumni and friends, and asked for input. In all, 7,000 unique comments from 550 members of the college community were collected.

With that foundation, a mission, vision, core values, strategic priorities, and goals were shaped. To guide the implementation, tactics, metrics, milestones, and targets were also developed. 

For each priority and goal, a set of tactics will define the action and shape decisions.  Metrics for success, with milestones and targets defined, have been developed. In Fall 2019, the college began aligning the work of departments and units around the highest priority goals, which purposefully link planning to budgeting. This will ensure the highest priorities are resourced appropriately. 

The strategic plan will guide our fundraising efforts in the capital campaign, hiring priorities, and how the college builds partnerships.


Anchored by our land-grant identity and the university’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), the College of Engineering educates and inspires students to be critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders. We create new knowledge, technologies, and sustainable solutions that address complex social and technical challenges.



We will be the college of choice for aspiring engineers because of our innovative, dynamic, and integrated approach to education, research, and service. Our students and alumni will be sought globally for their talent, creativity, and work ethic. The impact of our transdisciplinary research will advance the boundaries of engineering knowledge and practice. Our solutions will make a difference in the Commonwealth and the world.

Core Values

Our community supports equity and fosters respect for every individual, enabling collaboration and collegiality to permeate our classrooms, research facilities, and offices, and to extend to the broader university community. We recognize the importance of allowing every voice to be heard in a spirit of mutual respect. 

We are committed to excellence through continuous improvement in our teaching, research, service and day-to-day operations. 

Ethics, honesty and transparency are the foundation of all that we do. We believe in honor, discipline and a commitment to do the right thing. 

We are tenacious and believe in the value of hard work. Through resilience, teamwork and a supportive community, we become stronger and more agile, enabling us to adapt to future challenges and opportunities.  

As citizens, innovators, and leaders, we serve our communities, both local and global. We seek to be environmental stewards, believing that engineering for sustainability is critical for the future health of our world and its inhabitants. 


Strategic Priorities

Strategic Plan Diagram showing that "Community" is nested inside of "Infrastructure" which is inside of "Impact".

Strengthen the Community


  • Increase representational diversity of the college 
  • Reduce differential graduation rates
  • Support practices that improve work-life balance for faculty and staff
  • Increase alumni engagement
  • Strengthen communications 

Build the Infrastructure and Resources to Support the Vision


  • Recruit and support high-potential students
  • Invest in faculty and staff recruitment and retention
  • Expand and improve physical infrastructure
  • Build advancement and additional revenue streams to meet strategic priorities

Align Education and Research for Impact in a Rapidly Changing World


  • Leverage Tech-Talent Pipeline Initiative
  • Leverage university and statewide initiatives
  • Accelerate the integration of data-driven technologies across the college
  • Support engagement in transdisciplinary team science and engineering
  • Grow and leverage partnerships with industry
  • Increase flexibility in curricula to support student academic choice and progress to degree
  • Grow opportunities for experiential learning


Strategic Plan Committee Members

Eileen Van Aken

Committee Lead

Eileen Van Aken
Department Head, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Bev Watford

Bev Watford
Associate Dean, Equity and Engagement, College of Engineering, Director of the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity

Cal Ribbens

Cal Ribbens
Department Head, Computer Science

Danesh Tafti

Danesh Tafti
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Faculty Organization

Eric Westman

Erik Westman
Department Head, Mining and Minerals Engineering

Jack Lesko

Jack Lesko
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, College of Engineering

Jenni Case

Jenni Case
Department Head, Engineering Education

Jeremy Weaver

Jeremy Weaver
Assistant Dean, Advancement, College of Engineering

David Clark

David Clark
Department Head, Materials Science and Engineering

melanie darden

Melanie Darden
Senior Fiscal Technician, Computer Science

David Dillard

David Dillard
Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics

John Ferris

John Ferris
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Kimberly Johnston

Kimberly Johnston
Advisor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Jeremi London

Jeremi London
Assistant Professor, Engineering Education