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Strategic Plan for Higher Education

The Code of Virginia vests the State Council of Higher Education (the Council) with responsibility to develop a statewide strategic plan that reflects statutory goals for higher education in the Commonwealth, identifies a coordinated approach to such state and regional goals, and emphasizes the future needs for higher education in Virginia.

The Council is in the midst of developing a new strategic plan for higher education in Virginia, with approval of the new plan targeted for late October 2014. The new strategic plan for higher education in Virginia is anticipated to:

SCHEV recently invited Virginians to give us their views about higher education through a survey posted on this page. More than 500 responses were received. Thanks are extended to those who responded.  The responses you provided will assist in guiding the Council in its development of the new statewide strategic plan for higher education. A document, Results from Public Data Collection, that summarizes responses to the survey can be found here.

As part of the strategic planning process, regional meetings and focus groups were held across the Commonwealth to ask about conditions, challenges, and concerns pertaining to higher education.  Participants included high school and college students, high school principals and counselors, college presidents and vice presidents, and business and community leaders. A document describing the process and containing a sampling of comments that emerged from the interviews and focus groups can be found here.

An environmental scan was conducted as part of the data-gathering process for development of the statewide strategic plan, resulting in two documents (Data Memo and Gap Analysis Memo). Drafts of these documents were shared with Council at its July 2014 meeting. Links to the final documents are given below:

At its September 2014 meeting, the Council approved a framework for the statewide strategic plan for higher education in Virginia including mission, vision, and four goals. At its October 2014 meeting, the Council approved strategies aligned with each of the four goals. The framework approved by Council is shown below.

Framework for the Statewide Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Virginia

Mission: Higher education in Virginia will advance postsecondary learning, research and public service that enhance the civic and financial health of the Commonwealth and the well-being of all its people.

Vision: Higher education will transform the lives of Virginians, our communities and our Commonwealth.

Goal 1: Provide Affordable Access for All

Goal 2: Optimize Student Success for Work and Life

Goal 3: Drive Change and Improvement through Innovation and Investment

Goal 4: Advance the Economic & Cultural Prosperity of the Commonwealth & its Regions

A set of principles guided the development and implementation of the next strategic plan for higher education in Virginia. 

Click to View Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

These principles guide the development and implementation of the next strategic plan for higher education in Virginia:

  • The plan will:
    • promote the development and operation of an educationally and economically sound, vigorous, progressive, and coordinated system of higher education in the Commonwealth, recognizing the connections of higher education to PK-12 education and economic development.
    • have broad applicability across all institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, with primary focus on two- and four-year public institutions, and acknowledging the contributions of private institutions.
    • be statewide and strategic rather than institutional and operational.
    • include measurable goals for making regular progress reports.
    • respect institutional diversity and autonomy.
  • The plan will be informed by goals for higher education set by the Council and recent legislation including:
    • Affordable access and excellence
    • Achievement of long-term degree attainment goals
    • Instructional and administrative innovation
    • Optimal economic development impact by Virginia’s higher education system
  • Development of the plan should not be hindered by fiscal limitations, although availability of financial resources will be a factor in its implementation.
  • Council members serve as catalysts for greater access, affordability, quality, and accountability throughout Virginia’s excellent system of public and private colleges and universities and thus, their involvement in the development of the plan is pivotal. Progress on the development of the plan will be reviewed at all meetings of the Council and its Strategic Planning Task Force
  • A comprehensive environmental scan addressing economic, socio-cultural, technological, environmental, political, legal, and policy aspects of Virginia’s higher education will inform the development of the plan.
  • Implementation of the plan will not only require but also foster institutional collaboration.
  • The plan will include periodic triggers that will require the Council to modify and refine the plan as it is implemented.

The Council is scheduled to discuss the next steps of the statewide strategic plan for higher education at its meeting on January 12, 2015. In addition, the Council’s Executive Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, November 24, 2014. Meeting agendas (as available) can be found here. 

This webpage will be updated as new documents become available. 

Historical strategic plan documents are available: