Strategic Planning


Supporting Materials

How do we identify and align common interests among the College and Schools?  What are the barriers to collaboration across the University?  What will distinguish the University of Virginia in the future?  How do we produce an effective process to evolve and mature new ideas that originate across the schools, then make them essential to our strategy and implementation?

Emergent Ideas of the Synergy Working Group

Email the Synergy working group or add a comment below.

Jeff Walker, Chair
Alumnus, McIntire School of Commerce

Jeff Walker currently serves on the Boards of New Profit, Berklee College of Music, Morgan Library, Lincoln Center Film Society, Millennium Development Goals Health Alliance where he Chairs the Community Health Worker Pillar, TheMiller Center and University of Virginia's Undergraduate Business School, where he was President for ten years. Jeff is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium, Chairman of The Council of Foundations at University of Virginia, serves on the Visiting Committee at the Harvard Business School and is on the Advisory Boards of MIT Media Lab, UCLA Film TV and Theater School, Blue School, The Tibetan Village Project, and He is President of the 15 Central Park West Board.

Previously, Jeff was Executive-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on social enterprises and collaboration, and a Lecturer at the Kennedy School. At Harvard, he also helped to develop and launch a course in exponential fundraising for nonprofit leaders at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. He served as the Chairman of Millennium Promise, with the United Nations and Columbia University, an incubator to eliminate extreme poverty, and was the long-time Chairman of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), where he still serves as an Emeritus Trustee. Jeff Co-Founded and was Chairman of Npower, an organization that provides shared technology services to nonprofits.

Jeff was CEO and Co-Founder of CCMP Capital, the $12 billion successor to JPMorgan Partners, JPMorgan Chase & Co's global private equity, Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. He has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. from the University of Virginia, is a Certified Management Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant.

Steve DeKosky
Vice President and Dean, School of Medicine

Dean DeKosky, an international leader in the field of Alzheimer's disease research, became vice president and dean of the University of Virginia's School of Medicine on Aug. 1, 2008. DeKosky formerly served as professor and chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He will step down at the conclusion of his five year term on July 31 and return to his research and patient care.

Tim Dunne
Alumnus and Computer Systems Engineer, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Tim has been a member of the greater UVA/Charlottesville community for the vast majority of his life.  He received an engineering degree in Computer Science from UVA and an M.B.A. from James Madison University.  He has been a UVA employee since 1997.  He has served as chair of the LSP steering committee, the organization for departmental Information Technology professionals at UVA.

David Germano
Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Mr. Germano teaches Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on eighth through fourteenth century Tibetan religious and intellectual movements, as well as their broader historical contexts.  Additionally, he has directed the U.Va. Tibet Center and the Tibetan and Himalayan Library since 2000, a major international initiative aimed at stimulating and publishing innovative research on the region.

Since 2008, Mr. Germano has been the director of SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives).  The mission of SHANTI is to promote a culture of innovation and excellence in humanities, sciences and arts within the academic life of the University of Virginia.

Charles Grisham
Professor, Department of Chemistry

Charles received his B.S. in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1969 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1973. Following a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia, he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia, where he is Professor of Chemistry.

Elisa Holquist
Alumna/College and Managing Director, Portico Capital Securities LLC. 

Ms. Holquist joined Portico in 2004 with extensive experience in M&A, capital raising and restructurings. Previously, she had spent 13 years at JP Morgan where she served as a Managing Director and Head of M&A in their Telecommunications Group.

Ms. Holquist holds a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. She currently serves as a member of the Board of the University of Virginia Alumni Association.

Lansing Lee
Student, Law and Darden

Lansing Lee is a third-year J.D./M.B.A. student in the Law School and the Darden School of Business. He serves on the Academic Affairs Committee of Student Council, and he is a member of the J.D./M.B.A. Society and the Business & Public Policy Club at Darden.

Before enrolling at the law school, Lansing worked in the field of economic development in India and in East Africa, first in the business development division of a micro-credit bank and then as an project manager for a non-profit focused on livelihood training.  Lansing is originally from Atlanta, Ga. and received his undergraduate degree in English from UVa in 2009.

William Lucy
Lawrence Lewis Jr Professor of Planning, Dept. of Urban and Environmental Planning

William H. Lucy has been researching trends and proposing plans pertinent to the future of cities, suburbs and exurbs. With David L. Phillips, he has produced several analyses of suburban decline and exurban sprawl for the Virginia Commission on Population Growth and Development and the Partnership for Urban Virginia. He teaches courses on Planning, Budgeting and Finance; Strategic Planning and Sustainable Communities; and Urban Theory and Public Policy.

Paul Mahoney
Dean, School of Law, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law, and Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law

Paul G. Mahoney became dean of the Law School in July 2008. He is a David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor and the Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law. Mahoney's teaching and research areas are securities regulation, law and economic development, corporate finance, financial derivatives and contracts. He has published widely in law reviews and peer-reviewed finance and law and economics journals.  He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1984 and a B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981.

Jeffrey Nuechterlein
Alumnus/College and Law

Mr. Nuechterlein (Government and Foreign Affairs ’79, Law ’86) (Oxford University, MA, D. Phil) founded Isis Capital LLC, a venture capital and hedge fund in Alexandria, Virginia in 2000 and has been its Managing Partner since its formation.  Previously, he was Managing Director and Chief Investment Office for Pension Fund Investments at National Gypsum Company; Senior Counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative; Special Assistant for Policy to the Governor of Virginia; Counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology; and outside legal counsel to several U.S. semiconductor companies.  Mr. Nuechterlein serves on the board of directors of The Jones Group (NYSE: JNY) and Chesapeake Lodging Trust (NYSE: CHSP).  Among his non-profit activities, he serves on the Board of Trustees of The College Foundation at the University of Virginia; The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia; Americans for Oxford in New York; The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust; and he is a member of the U.S. Department of State’s 100,000 Strong Advisory Committee focused on dramatically increasing the number of Americans studying in China, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Marsh Pattie
Associate Dean of Students

Marsh Pattie has served as an associate dean of students in the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) since June 2012. He serves on the on-call team and assists with crisis management, as well as general student advising and support. Mr. Pattie also oversees the student criminal self-disclosure process and manages the administrative services unit within ODOS.

From 2005-2012, Mr. Pattie served the Darden School of Business in a series of roles that included Director for Student Affairs, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and Assistant Dean for the full-time MBA program. He received his B.A. from the College of William & Mary with a double major in history and government, as well as a master’s of education and a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the Curry School of Education.

Katharine Sadowski
Student, Undergraduate

Katharine Sadowski is a second year student. She is applying to the Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership and the Curry School of Education and hopes to pursue a career in Educational Policy. She aspires to one-day work for the Department of Education. She currently serves as co-chair of the Community Affairs Committee of Student Council, chair of the U-Scouts Merit Badge University Committee, and works as a volunteer with various Madison House programs. She is also creating a Leadership Workshop Club in order to teach Charlottesville and Albemarle high schools the importance of leadership.

Michael Weber
Professor and Director, Cancer Center

Mr. Weber is the Cancer Center Director as well as a Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology.  He has overall responsibility for orchestrating the research, clinical, and educational components of the Cancer Center.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego.  Mr. Weber’s research interest is Signal Transducing Kinases in Cancer

Richard Will
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Music

Richard Will specializes in European music of the 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as American folk and roots music. Current projects include Mozart Live: Performance, Media, and Meaning, an examination of Mozart performance in the 20th century, and studies in the ideology of folk music collecting and arranging. He is the author of The Characteristic Symphony in the Age of Haydn and Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and of articles and reviews in Music & Letters, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Beethoven Forum, Musical Quarterly, The Cambridge History of 18th-Century Music, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and the German Academic Exchange Service among others. He is also a bluegrass fiddler and hosts a regular jam session for members of the university and Charlottesville communities.

Meredith Woo
Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciencesand Professor of Politics

Since arriving at the University of Virginia in the summer of 2008, Meredith Woo has developed and implemented a strategic plan to advance the distinctive position of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences as an institution that provides a transformational educational experience, amid the benefits and energy of a major research university. She has sought to enhance the College’s scholarly visibility, particularly in the sciences, global studies, and collaborative and multidisciplinary research.

Dean Woo came to U.Va. from the University of Michigan, where she served most recently as professor of political science and associate dean for the social sciences in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Prior to her eight years on the Michigan faculty, she taught for 12 years at Northwestern University, where she helped rebuild the department of political science and co-founded the Center for International and Comparative Studies.

Kari Evans
Working Group Staff Lead

Jon Bowen
Working Group Staff Member

Ryan Emanuel
Working Group Staff Member



Submitted by shocked (not verified) on

we are shocked every time we witness and hear about attitude, activities, and outcomes that belittle staff :


e.g. In a conversation with a student - who had been urging faculty of his primary area of study to join the series of University--wide dialogue groups (that purposefully include faculty, staff and students) - the student reported that faculty said 'why should we be interested at all in hearing what staff have to say'.  And, it has been widely observed that while students and staff have shown continued interest in the Dialogue groups, faculty have not taken time to be involved

What is the source of belitting attitudes toward staff?  why do these persist?  who is leading the change to empower and respect staff, rather than belitting and diminishing them?


e.g. In last year's Academic Staff survey, it was widely noticed that lgbt staff's concerns were completely ignored: these staff were not included in demographics, and there was not a single question respecting their concerns. 

What is the source of such intentional ignorance of imporant staff concerns?  how come intentional ignorance persists in a University (of any kind), must less a University that claims to be 'world class' in the 21st century? 


e.g. I am staff for more than a dozen years, with fine evaluations; i have several advanced degrees - all from the University, and the most recent one from the University in a field supporting my work.  But, of all staff with my job title, I am the lowest paid by many thousands of dollars, and paid thousands of dollars below the median salary with my job title, and many paid more and much more than I am have many years less work years than I.    And, many staff, in many divisions, department, and units of the University might report a similar experience. 

What perpetuates such grandiose inequity - violating a basic principle of 'equal pay for equal work' - that likely disproportionately impacts various non-White, non-heterosexual, and women staff?  Why are staff abused and harmed by such inequitable outcomes?  Who wants this obviously broken system - or, rather, faux-System, or perhaps perverse-system - of job and pay classification to continue this way with inequitable outcomes? 







Submitted by Peggy Ehrenberg (not verified) on

Dear "Shocked",

I am contacting you as the staff representative of the Synergy Committee. I have found my experience with this group to be inclusive and very respectful. Staff is regarded highly by this committee and I stand in awe of faculty credentials and their collaborative projects already in existance.

Jeff Walker, Synergy Committee Chair, stated in an initial email to this committee:

“As each of you comes from a unique constituency here at the University I would ask that you be the eyes, ears and voice for that group…but still keeping your overall University hat on.  I would like each of you to hold brainstorming and communication sessions with your respective peers so that we can maximize our knowledge and reach.”

I have recently been asked to form a staff subcommittee to further explore how different synergy projects across grounds could impact staff involvement.

Our voice is being heard through this group and by the University's leadership. I have witnessed this first hand through my involvement in this committee, as staff representative of the COO/EVP Executive Search Committee, and through participating in the Provost Employee Communication Council. Staff is regarded highly by leadership and we now have the task of making our voices heard in a positive and proactive way.


Peggy Ehrenberg

Submitted by shocked (not verified) on

Thank you.   We appreciate your participation and leadership.   But, staff experiences are not uniform.  For example, re: Employee Councils, more than a year ago I advised proper authorities that the named representative for my unit was outdated - at that time - by a year or more.  So, staff with my unit had no effective representative for years.  Further, it seems - as your leadership may indicate - some Employee Councils take proactive approaches to worklife of staff, and some are inactive.  So, again, as with our comments and questions regarding 'equal pay for equal work' there appears to be lack of uniformity across the University; and as with our comments and questions regarding staff-level research there appears to be lack of equality in what staff are heard, what staff experiences and concerns are validated or ignored; and all of this substantiates our comments and questions regarding dismissive attitudes toward full inclusion of staff as integral to the work and mission of the University.  And, yet another continuing example of this last point: how many times have we read and for how much longer will we continue to read stories published by University media that relate to the entirety of the University, but fail to say that staff were involved, fail to quote staff, fail to refer to staff contributions, etc.  Even people who know better are routinely quoted saying 'students and faculty did this', 'students and faculty are doing that' ,'faculty want this and students want that', etc ... as if staff were entirely missing, or entirely unimportant.   It is sad to believe that this is a continuation of other 'hidden histories' of the University: e.g. the labor who built most of the great buildings, provided the great landscaping, we so admire today, and who sustained all of this for generations with little or no recognition.  Thank you.

Submitted by Peggy Ehrenberg (not verified) on

I would welcome you contacting me at I am not sure that you are classified staff or university staff, nor which communication council you are referring to. All I know is attending these forums as staff members of the community is a great place to get your voice heard. 

I wish you only the best experience working at UVA. It does start with involvement and now is the time to be involved.

Kind regards,


Submitted by Frank Dukes (not verified) on

Members of the Synergy Working Group


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 Synergy group has a set of tasks that offer as much opportunity as challenge. As the very first sentence of your Tracking Document of Dec. 10 models, the University of Virginia is a place to “put together ideas from a wide variety of areas ... to bring about change that made the world a better place.” We strongly agree with you that “This community, through effective collaboration and teamwork can continue to have a major impact on the world.”

We think that for this to be done right, your group needs to pay attention to the historical context of the University’s impact on the world and, in particular, to 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.

Until very recent decades, UVa earned the reputation as a largely provincial institution concerned with preserving mostly Southern institutions. At the same time, paradoxically, UVa’s vision also included a broader ambition expanding to the international arena, an expansion that promises a global perspective to students and faculty. The University has a welcome and determined vision to achieve greatness as a world-class institution of higher learning.

Yet that ambition also has had a less desirable consequence. This broad vision too often has meant ignoring duties and opportunities at home. UVa’s presence in the central Piedmont, surrounded by the city of Charlottesville and adjacent counties, has been viewed by many as no more than a happy accident of history, to be enjoyed with little care or even awareness of any responsibility for those surroundings and the people who inhabit them.

Faculty who seek to engage public issues in the local community find few incentives and many disincentives, most prominently tenure and promotion criteria. In fact, many of the members of the faculty most deeply engaged in academic public service to the surrounding communities are non-tenure-track faculty at the fringes of departmental priorities.

This attitude is ripe for dramatic and productive change. Your Tracking Document foreshadows that change. This attitude is not a view that can continue if students are to become the citizens that UVa desires them to be. And this is not a view that can continue if the University community can hope to have genuine learning partnerships and respectful relationships with the community-at-large.

As you continue to think of ways of engaging “students, faculty, alumni, parents, donors, staff and government” collaboratively, we ask you to do so in ways that address real needs and issues of concern to the wider community. That collaboration does indeed need to extend beyond the grounds: the University needs to become far better integrated into this community so that it is not viewed as an exclusive and even isolating presence. Many of the ideas in the Tracking Document, if enacted, will help accomplish that integration. But as you consider ways of improving communication, incentivizing collaboration, funding innovation, and finding collaborative learning experiences for students, among many others, please consider how these impact issues of race and equity.

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

Respectfully yours,

E. Franklin Dukes, Ph.D.

Submitted by "Synergy" (not verified) on

I see McIntire, school of law, medicine, Darden, CLAS.... where's the engineering school?

David Germano, who I respect and have had as a teacher, is the member listed next to computer science. He may make innovative use of technology but he is certainly not a computer scientist. 

You guys have an entire section on applied entrepreneurship. Maybe it would be easier for studetns to be entrepreneurs if they didn't spend all their time looking for "technical" people and instead had the ability to learn the technical skills necessary to build their businesses. 

Submitted by Interested Alum (not verified) on

If you want to streamline and encourage cooperation, you might start with merging the 2 different programs you have in Clinical Psychology (one in Gilmer and one in Curry).  That one never has made sense.  I believe it was a rift among the faculty several decades ago that resulted in two separate programs located in two separate schools.  Of course, the faculty in each program will tell you that their program is different from the other, but in the end they both produce Ph.D.s in clinical psychology who enter the clinical psychology field.  Why on earth is the University subsidizing two departments with two clinics in the same field?

Submitted by Daisy Rojas (not verified) on

I was excited to talk with members of our work group on Friday about how to identify weak areas as well as areas of strength within the University community. We identified a problem with resource and information 'silos' that are held by schools and units. Several of us noted that sharing information, faculty and resources is sometimes discouraged due to the risk of losing the same. It is unfortunate that this underlying fear is perhaps the greatest prevention of collaborative work.

We were able to identify several programs on grounds that have overcome this fear and are beginning to demonstrate the value of collaboration. These include the already recognized Darden school  curriculum model of case studies and external educational resources in the classroom, The Global studies program which crosses disciplines and is very popular with undergraduates, Contemplative Sciences which also crosses disciplines and Open Grounds which provides idea and fund sources possibilities for anyone within the U community.

Because each University environment is unique, I believe it would be most beneficial for us to look at these and other exisiting models of synergy within our own community. One thing I was a bit disheartened about was the lack of anyone in our group from the surrounding Charlottesville area (perhaps there were some in other groups?). Ideally we should invite and include community leaders and members of functional community action groups to help us in our endeavor. Several recent city projects have had successful outcomes through similar dialogues and may provide insight into how we can similarly model our efforts. E.g: The Dialogue on Race helped with idea sourcing several spin-off projects--the Minority Business Council, the Community Investment Council, the Jefferson School City Center and several others...

I know it felt tedious to some to talk without some over-arching goal or clearly defined direction but the open forum offered an opportunity for free flowing thought that may have otherwise been hindered if we were directed. I really appreciated that freedom and I think our group was able to consider some things that otherwise would have been missed.


Submitted by shameful (not verified) on

Has the University gone - with all its influence - to the General Assembly - to support SB701 State government employment; nondiscrimination? 

SB701 affirms sound public policy and the will of Virginians that irrational and unjust prejudice against employees and their families, and that discrimination because of status unrelated to work performance, is wrong.  

SB701 adds several categories for protection against workplace discrimination: "discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran ..."

Regarding one of the classes that would be added: Contrary to ill-informed, and perhaps maliciously deceptive, opinion discrimination because of sexual orientation occurs in Virginia, and sexual orientation discrimination (and gender identity discrimination) harms Virginia families.  Protecting against 'sexual orientation' discrimination is about family life. Gay and lesbian families suffer a legal 'segregation' in Virginia. 

And the University is an enforcere of this 'segregation':

Many benefits nicely provided to other employees, and other employees' families, are denied to gay and lesbian employees, and their families.

And, why did the University - as recently as 2011! - fail to include lesbian and gay employees in its staff survey?    Nevertheless,
when the University of Virginia conducted a study of its academic (2011) employees,
employees stated (verbatim):

“University health benefits are extremely discriminatory against the LGBT community … lack of partner benefits and ‘blanket’ exclusions for all transsexual care”

“I get last choice in selecting leave … University does not offer domestic partner benefits … UVA [should be] more proactive to support its LGBT employees … looking elsewhere for employment”

“I have worked in the same unit, in the same position, for more than 12 years, with no advancement … achieved an advanced degree and achieved a professional specialty credential, … my pay remains barely at 40K”

“LGBT employees appear to be treated as annoyances when they ask for even the most basic level of concern. They are not even treated with the usual respect that is due to employees”


“I have personally felt silenced by and alienated from the conservative culture of the University”


“I have personally observed intolerance of sexual orientation  [and other issues ] from people in supervisory roles”

“There are no University statements that protect transgender employees”

“University can be considerably more vocal about its support … and can work out ‘Plus One’ policies like with the gym. Please do more.  Discrimination is so pervasive that it will only be repaired with a grassroots movement.”

“I have seen cases of issues of sexual orientation discrimination [and other issues ] handled very badly”

“Your survey should ask about sexual orientation … You should care whether gay people feel comfortable at UVa"

WHY does the University sustain prejudice, discrimination, and harm, when  its policies says that it does not? 

These many comments about many experiences at the University of Virginia - and likely across many Commonwealth's agencies - adduce that Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia and/or its interpretation is harming many Virginians: men, women, infants and children, retirees, frail elderly, veterans, etc. because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One).

Clearly, the Governor's Executive Directive is insufficient, as if the University's stated policies of non-discrimination. 


1. has the University taken to the General Assembly its strong support for SB 701?

2. has the University taken to the General Assembly its strong support for repeal of the anti-gay Constitutional Amendment that supports a legal 'segregation' of gay and lesbian families in Virginia?

... Employment discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated by this
Administration. The Virginia Human Rights Act recognizes the unlawfulness
of conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation
governing discrimination against certain enumerated classes of persons.  The
Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits
discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons. 
Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental
status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. 
Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in
the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of
persons without a rational basis is prohibited. " [ emphasis added ]

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