As Virginia Tech looks forward to a new horizon, we can take great pride in the strides we have made as a progressive and internationally recognized research university. Looking toward the future, we foresee a changing world characterized by global, geopolitical and geo-economic shifts, and inexorable technological and social innovation. To meet these challenges, we are committed to advancing scholarship, learning, and engagement for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation. At the same time, we look internally to cultivate the creative and intellectual life of the mind for our faculty, staff, and students.
Inclusive excellence will be key as we prepare our university for an increasingly global, interdependent world. We recognize that Virginia Tech will continue to evolve demographically in response to this changing world. Our institutional diversity and inclusive practices must change correspondingly.
The 2013-18 Diversity Strategic Plan will guide Virginia Tech during the upcoming years. The goals, objectives, and strategies outlined have been developed and articulated by individuals from units, departments, and colleges across the university, reflecting the shifts they see as necessary for our continued growth and advancement. The university community will be called upon to achieve these goals in an innovative, collaborative, and flexible manner. Progress will require effective use of resources and an adaptive infrastructure to meet the demands.
As this plan makes clear, inclusive excellence entails more than changing demographics. It goes beyond our ability to address the range of differences in the cultural and economic backgrounds of prospective and current students, staff, and faculty. Inclusion involves the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities. Likewise, diversity and inclusion extends beyond our campuses to include alumni, parents, employers, donors, and policymakers. We aspire to be reflective of, and responsive to, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.
Our students and emerging citizens must be interpersonally and technologically proficient in order to enter an increasingly complex and interdependent world. They will need inclusive, “hands-on, minds on” pedagogical models that inspire curiosity, facilitate creative thinking and problem solving, and develop cultural competencies. These skills, but more importantly habits of mind, are crucial in today’s society.
Moving forward will inevitably involve experiments and learning as we develop a process of continuous improvement. We will learn from and with each other as we pursue inclusive best practices. The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion is charged with documenting, facilitating, and assessing these collaborative and interdependent actions that will both meet and exceed the expectations of the Diversity Strategic Plan. However, inclusive excellence is ultimately created and implemented in the departments, units, and colleges that make up our university community.
I call on all Virginia Tech students, staff, and faculty to participate in the process of inclusive excellence characteristic of a dynamic and distinctive university.
Charles W. Steger
President, Virginia Tech
(January 2000 - May 2014)