Strategic Planning

Student Life

The Student Life Working Group is focused on the proposition that the residential college is and will continue to be an integral part of a profound education experience.  The understanding of the benefits of not only the residential experience, but the University of Virginia residential experience will be a focus.  Student/faculty relationships, the Honor System, student self-governance will feature prominently into this discussion.

Additionally, the Working Group will look at the attributes of a U.Va. graduate and how well this matches to the characteristics and capabilities desired by future employers.  It is anticipated that alumni input into the employer aspect of this work will be critical to this effort.

Another aspect of the Working Group’s effort will be a focus on the U.Va. curriculum.  Are we teaching all the right things at the undergraduate level?  Should we have more Masters programs to meet increasing industry demand?  Are there opportunities for improvement in our Ph.D. programs?

Finally, these inquiries will be supported and informed by a front side focus on the ability to maintain access and affordability to a U.Va. education and a backside look at student career services.

Emergent Ideas of the Student Life Working Group

Email the Student Life working group or add a comment below.

Tom Faulders Chair
Julie Caruccio Working Group Staff Lead
Nicole Eramo Assoc. Dean of Students
Larry Goedde Faculty, Art
Marie-Louise Hammarskjold Faculty, Medicine
Meg Jay Curry School of Education, Human Services
Sean Jenkins Working Group Staff Member
Rebecca Leonard Assoc. Dean Student Services
Megan Lowe Working Group Staff Member
Tony Tuonan Li Undergraduate Student, Commerce
Deborah Parker Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Greg Roberts Dean, Admissions
Lisa Spaar      Creative Writing Program
Chelsea Stokes Undergraduate Student, A&S
Shelby Sutton Undergraduate Student, A&S
Sheryl Wilbon Alumna, College



Submitted by Adam Rosen (not verified) on

I would like to see the addition of an undergraduate business minor. As a non commerce major, I am frequently unable to enroll in many classes that would greatly help me operate in a business setting upon graduation. I do not think these classes should only be limited to students in the commerce school. The addition of this minor option, currently only offered to engineers, would make many of the University's CLAS graduates more competitive in the workforce. 

Submitted by Emily Hazzard (not verified) on

I agree with Adam Rosen in that the University should offer an undergraduate business minor. College is a time of huge personal changes for many students - I would know. I am a History major but I discovered my passion for web marketing just before I entered my third year - and I suddenly found that I had little to no options as far as professional training in the marketing and business world. There are a number of Comm School classes I would have loved to have taken in my time here which I was barred from by four little letters. CLAS. I'll be graduating in May, and quite honestly, I don't feel prepared for it - I see hundreds of job listings every day that I just don't feel qualified for. I'm ready to hit the ground running, but I would have appreciated not being so on my own at the start. Many of my peers feel the same. Please add the Business minor, for the sake of the students that follow us. 

Submitted by Gail Spatt (not verified) on

Please don't forget about the importance of international education at UVA, both for American students who should be studying abroad and for the international students who should feel welcome on campus.  UVA is not going to compete with other presitigious universities in the future if it does not recognize the importance of the global community.  A reasonable goal would be that at least 50% of students should go abroad during their time at UVA.

Thank you!

Gail Siegal Spatt, CLAS '97

Submitted by George Snyder '81 (not verified) on

Too often, barriers to student progress are erected at U.Va. 

In the college (A&S), several programs have admission requirements above those of the university.  Commerce, government and foreign affairs (name now possibly changed), and architecture come to mind.  I believe all programs should be open to all students, without admission requirements.  This will allow students to have full exposure to education, and allow them to hone their interest in a particular field.  A 3.0 GPA should not be required to enter certain majors when a 2.0 suffices to graduate from the university.

To get to the academical village concept: Long gone are the times when a faculty memeber lived in a pavilion and taught classes in the same building (except in few rare cases).  U. Va. needs to bring this concept back, in the form of regular (at least monthy) required interaction between faculty and students outside of the classroom, whether it is through formal advising or social activities.  I believe that the commerce and business schools have some of these traditions, and they might be good instituttions to emulate.

To often, it is easy for a student to go through four years without finding a foothold, graduating without focus.  This is a real shame, both for the student and his family, for the commonwealth, and for the nation.  I do not believe it is what Mr. Jefferson had in mind when he founded the University of Virginia to help foster democracy in the United States.

Submitted by Cynthia Miller,... (not verified) on

Several years ago, during state budget cuts and faculty retirements, the Dean of the Curry School made a disastrous decision to close the nationally-ranked flagship master's program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling despite data indicating a growing need for mental health counselors.  The rationale at the time was that mental health counseling didn't belong in a school of education, though there were significant politics also going on behind the scenes.  Shuttering the program reduced revenue to the school because those master's students all paid full tuition.  The doctoral program in counselor education has also been shuttered.  The push has been entirely to create researchers in education.  All that is left is a small program that focuses on school counseling.  The University is not currently training any mental health professionals at the master's level, even though the master's degree is the most common degree in the mental health field and applications to the program far exceeded the space available when the program was open. 

As healthcare needs continue to swell in this country and healthcare remains a growing field, the University needs to steer itself towards providing practical training to people who wish to be practitioners, not researchers.  The passage of the Affordable Care Act will require new healthcare models to emerge.  One push is for integrated care, where several services (including mental health) are available in one primary care setting.  The University could lead the push by developing a College of Allied Health that provides training for individuals who wish to work in the healthcare field.  The College could include training programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Integrated Care, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician's Assistants, and other fields.  Students in these programs could complete internships within the hospital and assist in providing patient care.  New opportunities for collaboration and research will emerge and the University will be at the forefront of an emerging market.

Submitted by Frank Dukes (not verified) on

The University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) is pleased to be able to respond to the call by President Sullivan to “consider the issues we are facing and offer advice.”


The Student Life working group has wide-ranging set of set of tasks, ranging from the residential experience to curriculum to affordability. We very much hope that as you examine these topics, you keep in mind the historical context of these questions and, in particular, issues of race and equity.


In UCARE’s May 2012 Report and Call for Reflection and Action, we note the actions taken by University leaders that supported extraordinarily harmful public policies such as slavery, eugenics, segregation and white supremacy. Substantial opposition by University leaders to integration of African Americans and women meant decades of struggle, a struggle that has not yet been fully resolved.


This history, and the way in which it is – and, far too frequently, is not – acknowledged, plays a profound role in the student experience. As our Report notes, “This history of slavery, segregation, discrimination and racism has been so well hidden that it has allowed the University community to isolate itself from the continuing legacy of that history, even as elements of the past continue to shape the University, neighboring communities and beyond. A student may spend four years and more with no exposure to a more complete history.” This education impacts student experience on grounds as well as off grounds, as some students experience hostility based on the reputation of the University.


We are attaching a copy of our Report to this letter. We invite you to look carefully at the ideas for actions included in the Report that have come from several years of authentic dialogue among the University and surrounding community. Many actions have to do with the student experience and provide both challenges and opportunities for the working group.


For example, as we note in the Report, one of the most important questions to ask is “How can students, faculty and staff, alumni and the University’s neighboring communities develop and share a more complete understanding of the history of segregation and racial inequality in the university and the wider local community?” Goal 1.6 addresses that question: “Increase awareness among UVa students of a more complete history of race at UVa and in the community by ensuring that every student is exposed to that history.” Seven actions would accomplish that goal.


We also have a specific concern about the decline of the proportion of African American students at the University and urge you to think of ways of increasing enrollment, with an emphasis on local students and with an eye to retention of African American faculty.


We would be most pleased to speak with the Student Life working group or individual members to explore common ground and to answer any questions.


Respectfully yours,



E. Franklin Dukes, Ph.D.


Steering Committee members:

Mr. John Alexander

Ms. Riana Anderson           

Ms. Lawrie Balfour

Rev. Lehman Bates

Ms. Selena Cozart O'Shaughnessy

Ms. Holly Edwards

Ms. Ishraga Eltahir

Ms. Bonnie Gordon

Ms. Claudrena Harold

Mr. Walt Heinecke

Ms. Phyllis Leffler

Mr. Dion Lewis

Ms. Sarah Malpass

Ms. Leontyne Peck

Ms. Regina Pencile

Ms. Leah Puryear

Hon. Kristin Szakos

Mr. Sherman White

Rev. Erik Wikstrom



Submitted by Amy Muldoon (not verified) on

On Friday afternoon, I attended the BOV special committee meeting on the Strategic Planning process. President Sullivan mentioned the importance of improving academic advising at the University of Virginia. I know there are many advising models out there, many of which rely strictly on faculty members. However, there are other models that utilize staff in addition to faculty. I worked as a general academic advisor at the University of Michigan for students in Arts and Sciences. I was a staff member, and my job was not to teach but to advise students, so my whole focus was on helping students succeed at UM and beyond. I assisted them with selecting courses, identifying internship opportunities, selecting a major/concentration, understanding graduation requirements, navigating the university, finding appropriate university resources, talking to their parents about the direction they wanted to go in their lives and so on. While I mostly assisted first year and second year students, a student could continue to come to me as long as he/she was a student at UM. Many came to see me as the point person at the university.

Each student in Arts and Sciences was assigned a general academic advisor at orientation, and this general advisor remained the same for the duration of his/her undergraduate program. Once a student declared a major, that student would also be assigned a faculty advisor in the department, so that each student  would eventually have 2 advisors. Each general advisor was assigned about 550 students at any given time. 

It was an incredibly rewarding job for me, and I think it served the students well. If you are interested in learning more about the University of Michigan's advising program, please visit the website. I know the director of the Advising Center would be very happy to talk to you as well. His name is Tim Dodd ( The website is 

Submitted by Bob Woodard (not verified) on

The University of Virginia and the Charlottesville area are in need of more hotel rooms. Why not create a hospitality major and build a University managed hotel or inn, providing new revenue to UVa and practical experience to its students.

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