Virginia Tech® home

College of Science Strategic Plan

Virginia Tech College of Science 2020-2026 Strategic Plan

Our plan to educate and inspire a new generation of scientists who will change the world.

chemical structure in focus on window with blurred gloved hands in background

the future is science

Science doesn’t exist in silos. It can’t. The world’s most challenging problems don’t contain themselves to neat boundaries — they span industries, nations, and scientific disciplines. COVID-19 has unquestionably demonstrated the importance of science to the health and welfare of every human on the planet. It has shown the importance and relevance of science, not only for the betterment of humanity but also its very survival. The world will emerge from this challenge. It will do so because of science.

While the College of Science’s Strategic Plan was created pre-pandemic, it is even more relevant today. As the world emerges from this pandemic, it does so with the help of science and because of science.  

Over the past year the College of Science has remained steady in our implementation of this Strategic Plan.  For example, we began work on three of the four initial initiatives outlined in the plan.  We:

  • Created an Academy of Data Science,
  • Invested in high-impact strategic research opportunities, and
  • Expanded our educational offerings, where we are establishing a minor in Behavioral and Decision Sciences and we are laying the groundwork for a Master’s degree in Data Science.

In the coming year, we will redouble our implementation efforts, including exploring how the College of Science might develop a Women in Science Leadership Program.  

As the world emerges from the pandemic, so too will Virginia Tech and the College of Science.  Via this Strategic Plan, the College will emerge stronger and more able to bring science to bear in solving humanity’s greatest problems.

Please join us on our journey to create the future!


Ron scanned name

Ronald D. Fricker, Jr.
Interim Dean, College of Science
Virginia Tech


Discover, Create, Inspire, Inform

In the Virginia Tech College of Science, we discover, create, inspire, and inform. We teach. We learn. We explore, advance, and use science to promote healthy living, strong communities, and a sustainable planet. Our research is focused on the future, aimed at discoveries that address the world’s most critical problems. We believe in advancing Science as a service to our community, our state, and the world.

The College is committed to tackling today’s challenges in ways that make an impact in the real world. Addressing society’s needs can only be achieved through a convergence of deep know-how that comes from the fundamental sci­entific disciplines and a willingness to work together in new ways, with new people, across scientific disciplines. 

It takes drive to innovate and courage to disrupt the way things have been before. Within the College, traditional disciplines are being reimagined and recombined because this is the only way to truly understand and address the global problems.

Our Vision

To be world leaders in transdisciplinary science, grounded in fundamental disciplines, fueled by data, focused on discovery, and directed at decisions.

Our mission

We explore, teach, advance, and apply science to promote healthy people, strong communities, and a sustainable planet.

Our core values

Excellence in all we do. Discovery as the key to science and innovation. Hands-on learning to promote and informed and scientifically literate citizenry. Diversity and inclusion to create a robust, durable, and thriving scientific community.

The College of Science core values rest on the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim and the spirit of a land-grant institution pervades all that we do. Science at Virginia Tech is inherently Ut Prosim.

The College also upholds the University’s core values of Diverse and Inclusive Communities, Knowledge and Innovation, Opportunity and Affordability, and Excellence and Integrity.

President Tim Sands recognizes the key role that the College of Science claims at Virginia Tech:

Science was a pillar that supported Virginia Tech’s development into the great university that it is today, and scientific excellence is essential for advancing Virginia Tech to even greater heights as we look toward the future.”

An inclusive and continuous planning process

This Strategic Plan is the result of a year-long effort which involved the faculty, staff and students of the College as well as external stakeholders including the College’s Roundtable Advisory Board. The process was designed to ensure alignment with the University’s Strategic Plan Advancing Beyond Boundaries, and to include the College’s inclusion and diversity goals. This Plan is intended to be a living document, evolving, adapting, and improving as the College makes progress toward its goals as measured by prespecified metrics, and providing flexibility to seize opportunities on an ongoing basis.

We have four Strategic Priorities, each with three goals that collectively define our path forward as we reimagine our future and our continued commitment to scientific excellence. In the full-length plan, each of goals has four to six possible Supporting Activities to guide implementation. A subset of these or similar types of activities will be selected each year via an annual implementation plan that will set out specific goals, metrics, milestones and responsible parties. We have already chosen a set of initial initiatives and will select additional activities over the summer to implement in the coming year.