Virginia Tech is beginning a process to identify, define, and strengthen “destination areas,” or elements of the university’s curriculum and research that will differentiate Virginia Tech as a leading university.  

The proposed areas span the academic enterprise, leverage existing and emerging resources and strengths, and have the potential to distinguish the university and advance scholarship. In addition, growth in specific areas will attract students and faculty focused in these fields.

“The destination areas are not meant to replace or subsume existing college disciplinary strengths; instead the areas will build on those strengths,” said Provost Thanassis Rikakis. “Also, the areas are not intended to be static. They will evolve with continuous input from the community. What we want to do now is identify a few we can pursue and invest in the near future as our first destination areas.”

As a first step to the process, this semester, colleges and institutes provided a working list of suggestions to the Provost's Office on proposed areas. Ten emerged from the process, including:

  • Adaptive Brain
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Built Environment
  • Data, Information, and Decisions
  • Digital Arts, Communication, and Marketing
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Integrated Health and Wellness
  • New Materials as Systems
  • Security, Risk, and Resilience
  • Sustainability at the Intersection of Energy, Water, and Food

Descriptions of each proposed area are available on the Beyond Boundaries website. The titles and descriptions are a work in progress. As the areas and activities are more defined through an expanded input process, the titles and descriptions of the areas will be focused further.

At this point in the process, the provost has asked faculty to provide feedback and input to their department chairs or institute directors. The chairs will compile faculty input and work with the deans to complete a project survey. Institute directors have been asked to work with the vice president for research and innovation for survey submission.

For an overview of what input the faculty have been asked to provide, please view this document. The faculty survey process will be open until Jan. 7. The Provost Office will compile the results to share with the university community by the end of January.

By exploring potential destination areas, the university is beginning to take steps towards short- and immediate-term plans to expand upon university strengths in strategic ways. At the same time, the Beyond Boundaries project asks the university community to consider Virginia Tech’s longer-term future through iterative visioning scenarios and a future participatory incubator that will support pilot proposals. Participate at

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