Strategy 1. Define and implement the mission of the modern land grant university by expanding our scope of research.
The land grant mission commits Virginia Tech to research and discovery that serve the public good of the community, the commonwealth, the nation, and global society. Advancing the land grant mission in creating tomorrow’s knowledge connects the most advanced fields of inquiry with the obligation to transform this knowledge into practical, aesthetic, social, and commercial applications that serve the public good.
In the traditional land grant model as pursued at Virginia Tech, research in certain fields (engineering, agriculture, life sciences, and transportation) has been prioritized over others (business, the arts, humanities, and theoretical sciences). Citizens of the 21st century, however, recognize that an environment of academic excellence in all fields provides fertile ground for innovation across disciplines. This requires the support of research excellence in business, the humanities, as well as the sciences. To truly serve the citizens of Virginia, Virginia Tech must strive to invest in research areas that will prepare both their students and community members (via outreach programs) for competition in a global community. Virginia Tech can distinguish itself by carefully examining the changing nature of the role of a land grant university and reinvigorating its commitment to the land grant mission with a fresh interpretation.
As a modern land grant university, Virginia Tech must seek to expand its research activities nationally and internationally, to capitalize on the success of traditional land grant research (e.g., agriculture) and to broaden Virginia Tech’s portfolio in a range of research areas such as business, the social sciences, health sciences, and science policy, to highlight a few examples. The relative contribution of the different Virginia Tech campuses, colleges, and institutes also needs to be assessed. We must educate the public about both the emerging and future role of land grant universities and affirm Virginia Tech’s identity as a modern land grant institution.