Virginia Tech® home

Continuous Planning Process

Continuous Planning Process

When The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries was approved by the Board of Visitors in June 2019, Virginia Tech transitioned from the strategic planning process to the continuous planning process, which includes collaboration with colleges, institutes, offices, departments, and units as they develop their respective strategies and plans to advance institutional priorities.

Virginia Tech's Drillfield in the summer time on a sunny day

What is the Continuous Planning Process?

At the university level, Virginia Tech has moved from the "strategic planning process" to the "continuous planning process" since the unanimous Board of Visitors approval of The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries on June 3, 2019.

The strategic planning process provides the necessary framework and methodology for effective change management.

The continuous planning process involves monitoring goals, metrics, and milestones for existing priorities; identifying, developing, and advancing new strategic priorities; and ensuring a culture of self-evaluation, innovation, agility, and adaptability.

Strategic Planning Process Timeline

Strategic Planning Phase

Academic Years 2016-18

- Beyond Boundaries

Spring 2018

- Information gathering
- Mission, vision, core values, strategic objectives development
- Campus engagement and feedback solicitation

Summer 2018

- Metrics whitepaper development
- Analysis of key themes, objectives, and feedback

Fall 2018

- Campus engagement and feedback solicitation
- Goals and metrics development

Spring 2019

- Strategic priorities development
- Comprehensive document drafted

Summer 2019

- Virginia Tech's strategic plan submitted to University Leadership
- Unamimous approval of university's strategic plan by Board of Visitors

Continuous Planning Phase

Fall 2019

- Collaborated with units to form their own strategic plans
- Began measurement of university progress toward milestones

Spring 2020

- Launch of the Strategic Planning Dashboard

Fall 2020

- Achieved 100% completion of college and unit-level strategic plans

Implementation Planning Phase

Fall 2020 - Winter 2021

- Collaboration with units on implementation planning and department-level strategic planning

Summer 2021-Spring 2022

- Convened faculty, staff, and students through the Diversity and Innovation Think Tank Series to explore how Virginia Tech might actualize its potential within the rapidly-evolving higher education landscape.

Fall 2022-Beyond

- Continue collaboration with administrative units, ensure alignment of financial resources, and implement processes to support the achievement of University Strategic Plan milestones.
- Updates to several milestones in light of the pandemic and other institutional changes. 

Strategic Planning Process Timeline (Detailed)

The Office for Strategic Affairs and committees efforts began gathering knowledge and educating themselves about the university (how it works), including the Beyond Boundaries vision.

In January, February, and March, the Office for Strategic Affairs hosted three full day retreats dedicated to learning the academic, research and administrative units at the university. Nine colleges, eight institutes, and several administrative units presented to the committee about their respective areas.

Information discovery from the retreats and discussions led to the committee recognizing the importance of creating the metrics and rankings and research subcommittees. The subcommittees were charged with understanding areas of metrics, rankings, and research at the univesrity in more depth to assist in forming clear objectives and goals.

Once formed, the subcommittees began their work and understanding of metrics and rankings as it related to the university, Beyond Boundaries, and President Sands' vision. This included several sessions to discuss and understand the Partnership for an Incentive-Based Budget (PIBB), research rankings, past strategic plans, etc.

In April and May, the Office for Strategic Affairs hosted town halls, engaged with more than 18 commissions, committees, associations, and alumni groups, to share the initial draft vision, mission, core values, and strategic objectives, and to hear feedback from the campus community. The feedback was valuable and led to additional sessions to capture the Virginia Tech's community voice in the process. The Office for Strategic Affairs scheduled round table sessions for a summer engagement.


The Office for Strategic Affairs facilitated round table events with over 250 experts offering input and valuable discussions on strategic objectives. The team synthesized the Beyond Boundaries vision, current goals, and key emerging themes from the feedback and discussions; presented to President Sands, Provost Clarke, and the Board of Visitors the work to date; and began conversations at the Diversity Summit on the Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Difference.  


The Office for Strategic Affairs and committee members re-connected and engaged with the university to hold several campus conversations on the Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Difference in Blacksburg, Roanoke and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. The office also worked on the development of meaningful metrics, refined the vision and mission statements, and prepared to present to the Board of Visitors.

The Office for Strategic Affairs finalized the strategic framework and collaborated with leadership within the Office for Inclusion and Diversity to ensure alignment between inclusion and diversity strategic planning efforts and the integration of the university's diversity plan within the university's strategic planning framework.

The university strategic plan, The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries, was unanimously approved by the Board of Visitors in June 2019. Following its approval, Virginia Tech moved into the continuous planning process. The Office for Strategic Affairs continued to collaborate and partner with colleges, institutes, offices, and units across the university in the development of unit-level plans as part of the continuous planning process.

The strategic planning leadership team and committee members worked with the University units to assist with their strategic plans.

Beginning as a Summer Conversation Series and continuing through the fall semester, the Office for Strategic Affairs faciliated several Diversity and Innovation Think Tanks, bringing together faculty, staff, and students from a variety of departments, colleges, units, and administrative levels. These Think Tanks were created as a place for conversation among diverse thought leaders to share ideas, perspectives, and strategies to accelerate Virginia Tech’s vision for its future. Individuals discussed the future of higher education and looked to explore how Virginia Tech might actualize its potential within the rapidly-evolving higher education landscape and within the context of Virginia Tech's Beyond Boundaries vision, key initiatives, and the university strategic plan.

In support of the continuous planning process, in Fall 2022, university-level milestones were evaluated and updated in light of achievement/completion and alignment with university initiatives and the university’s academic and investment priorities set by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.


Creating the University Strategic Plan

The strategic planning process was an iterative process, involving engagement and collaboration with the university. The Office for Strategic Affairs guided the process in collaboration with strategic planning committees and examined feedback from the campus community.  

Based on the foundation of Beyond Boundaries vision, the process developed measurable goals for a sustainable Virginia Tech committed to Ut Prosim. Over 18 months, working together with the Office for Strategic Affairs, strategic planning committees refined the vision, mission, core values, and built a framework for the university to connect to with their respective strategic plans.

Continuous Planning Process Documents

View the university's strategic plan and its supporting documentation including The Virginia Tech Difference: An Inclusive Process, appendices, and the qualitative data appendix from Fall 2018 campus conversations: