Concept 30 Pillars

Arts & Sciences' Concept 30 Strategic Plan is supported by four pillars:

VALUES of Arts & Sciences that shape our mission and goals

MISSION statement that proclaims the purpose and primary action of Arts & Sciences

FOUNDATIONS that must be in place for A&S to support our values, pursue our mission, and meet our goals

GOALS that set out to the work we will do to live our values and mission as we approach A&S’s 30th anniversary.

Each goal will have associated initiatives designed to help A&S meet it. Assessment of these initiatives will include immediate, short, and long term actions over the next 5-7 years. For example, the State of A&S Address to build, support, and celebrate community might be an immediate action, whereas the implementation of a Field of Interest Declaration Fair might take 1-3 years to implement. Budget alignment will drive some of the timing of these priorities.

Our Values


Arts & Sciences supports a thriving and inclusive community of students, staff, and faculty who inquire, discover, take risks, and socialize together. We value "place-making"—using lived experience to envision what a place is and what it can be— as critical to knowing ourselves and developing an equitable community. In practicing place-making, we recognize the knowledge and experiences of those in our broader community, including across the campus, the city of Richmond, the surrounding region, and the wider world. Dialogue and collaboration on and off campus foster curiosity, creativity, justice, empathy, and hope.

Deep Inquiry

Deep inquiry opens spaces for the production of knowledge and creative expression. Creativity and discovery arise from a commitment to scholarly work and intellectual freedom. Sustained attention on a particular question generates new knowledge but only as the result of rigorous academic practice, including evidence-based decisions, preservation and curation of materials, civil engagement, collaboration, and critical thinking. As a community of learners committed to deep inquiry, students, staff, and faculty ask questions, pursue solutions, and defend positions or change them based on new evidence. We value such deep inquiry as integral to being and becoming local, national, and global leaders. As a community of learners, we cultivate the life of the mind and well-being through the pursuit of knowledge, beauty, truth, and enlightenment.


Self-awareness is the ability to examine and understand ourselves and our impact on the world around us. It begins with reflection and facilitates the capacity to learn from one's mistakes, accept criticism, and make responsible decisions with conscious direction and intentionality. Essential to self-awareness are humility, empathy, and civic mindedness, which lead to understanding the perspectives of others, past and present, and recognizing and examining our own thoughts, experiences, and character. Self-awareness enables us to identify our priorities, abilities, and limitations, helping guide us toward balanced lives. It also undergirds our willingness to walk in unfamiliar territory, take risks, remain resilient in the face of failure, and have the courage to speak out against injustice and stand up for the public good.

Equity & Justice

Diversity and inclusion require attention to equity and justice. We advocate for full participation in A&S's social and academic life and for the broadening of access and contributions to our economic, social, and intellectual capital. The commitment to equity and justice is ongoing and evolves to include those who have been historically excluded from the academy. As a community that stands for justice and equity we seek to break down societal barriers that preclude all of us from thriving. When we practice equity and justice, we foster innovation and inclusivity, and we learn to navigate through controversy—whether public or private—with critical thinking, empathy, and self-awareness.

Ethical Stewardship

Ethical stewardship is our commitment to create a world that is healthier, cleaner, fairer, and more just. Providing an education in sustainability is critical to being and training civic-minded, global leaders. Literacy in the environmental, social, and economic interrelations of human and biophysical systems establishes a foundation for local action, global thinking, and innovative solutions. We promote ecological resilience through cross-disciplinary learning about our limitations and interconnections. Together, we learn to be accountable not only to ourselves but also to future generations.


Arts & Sciences fosters a community of learners who thrive by questioning, knowing, and acting. A&S prepares our students to be committed lifelong learners who challenge societal and intellectual barriers, who provide ethical leadership, and who lead sustainable and meaningful lives.


A&S Concept 30 Foundations are those elements of the A&S Community that must be in place for us to live our values, pursue our mission, and meet our goals. While not specific short-term "strategic goals," these elements are foundational to our plan and may have associated initiatives.

  • Clear and consistent policies and practices across A&S
  • Efficient and transparent administrative structures
  • Robust shared governance
  • Effective communication throughout A&S
  • Time integrity—appreciation for time outlays and commitments across the community
  • Shared time, place, and space
  • Essential technology and information services and clear procedures for addressing IT needs
  • Sustainable stewardship of financial resources and transparent budgeting procedures
  • Intentional and productive relationships between A&S (Dean’s office, departments, programs) and university-level units (e.g., Business Office, Admissions, HR, Student Development)
  • Advocacy for A&S within the University
  • Active engagement with A&S alumni



Arts & Sciences will be a thriving community of learners made of exceptional students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds and points of view. This community will build a shared identity that recognizes and values the contributions of all of our members and celebrates our diversity of interests, knowledge, and experiences. Our caring and interconnected community members will support and challenge each other to enhance our work within and beyond campus, to promote social justice and critical engagement with past and present inequities, and to draw new members who enrich and renew our shared mission.


Arts & Sciences will develop intellectual dexterity in all its community members through a wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary liberal arts curriculum that intentionally scaffolds learning, encourages curiosity, challenges preconceived ideas, and helps define a college-wide identity.


Arts & Sciences will support personal and professional development and further creativity and the production of new knowledge by all of its members through the removal of barriers to free and innovative inquiry and expression.


Arts & Sciences will sustain curricular and co-curricular structures and programs to support our intellectual production, community engagement, and ecological responsibility in ways that exemplify our shared values.