Our Strategic Goals
Strategic Goals for the Department of Computer Science
As a complement to and an extension of the Strategic Priorities of the College of Engineering, the Department of Computer Science has identified a preliminary set of Goals and Objectives befitting our vision and values. These Goals and Objectives represent the current priorities of the Department and are reflective of the prevailing contextual ethos; as such, they are subject to modification over time in response to changing concerns within the Department, the College, and the University. The Strategic Goals are organized in four different categories: Community and Culture; Teaching and Learning; External Engagement; and Research.
A.1 Formalize, standardize, and implement recruiting plans designed to recruit a diverse, highly talented set of faculty, staff, and students to the Department of Computer Science.
Increase the number of applicants from traditionally underrepresented groups (AHN-MR) to faculty and staff positions in Computer Science: African American/Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Multi-Racial (non-Hispanic).
Increase the number of applicants who identify as female or non-binary to faculty and staff positions in Computer Science.
Increase the enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups (AHN-MR): African American/Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Multi-Racial (non-Hispanic).
Increase the enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students who identify as female or non-binary.
Enhance efforts to enroll in-state students from Virginia.
Increase the enrollment of students from rural communities with significant populations of first-generation and Pell-eligible students in proximity to the Blacksburg, VA campus.
Increase the enrollment of students from communities considered high-risk across the state of Virginia.
Increase the enrollment of graduate students from HBCU and MSI campuses in the state of Virginia.
Enhance funding and financial aid to improve student recruiting.
Work with university development to grow endowed scholarships and fellowships.
Increase number of merit based graduate fellowships, e.g., NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
A.2 Provide and prioritize professional development opportunities for departmental leadership, faculty, graduate students, and staff to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Identify and arrange for professional development activities designed around best practices for ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in Departmental offices, laboratories, and classrooms.
Encourage faculty and staff participation in professional development activities designed to educate attendees about best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and in the classroom.
Create opportunities for the CS Department to develop habits of inclusive practice and build a positive reputation for its efforts among peer institutions.
A.3 Formalize, standardize, and implement support and retention plans designed to increase the success of all faculty and staff in the Department of Computer Science.
Develop and implement robust, comprehensive onboarding for all new hires.
Identify and encourage professional development opportunities for AP faculty and staff.
Implement an effective and sustainable mentoring program for faculty.
Provide topical workshops for new faculty during their first years.
Offer a suite of flexible and effective mentoring options for junior and mid-career faculty.
Establish leadership and mentoring programs for teaching-focused faculty.
Acknowledge outstanding faculty and staff contributions with awards and honorifics.
Increase nationally-competitive faculty awards received.
A.4 Contribute to the ongoing development and support of a collegial and collaborative department community.
Provide inclusive opportunities for students and faculty to engage formally and informally with alumni and industry partners.
Provide inclusive opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage formally and informally with one another, with faculty, and with researchers.
Provide opportunities for graduate students to share and discuss their research projects with their peers.
Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to recognize and reward teaching excellence among their CS faculty, UTAs, and GTAs.
Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to recognize and reward advising excellence in CS.
Support, recognize, and reward undergraduate and graduate student excellence.
Support, recognize, and reward excellence in faculty mentoring.
Identify and prioritize opportunities to collaborate with other administrative units and colleagues across the department.
Increase internal transparency and communication.
Plan and participate in events designed to highlight, promote, and celebrate the departmental community.
B.1 Formalize, standardize, and implement support and retention plans designed to increase the success of all students in the Department of Computer Science.
Create and implement a peer mentoring program for students who identify as AHN-MR.
Create and implement a peer mentoring program for students who identify as female or non-binary.
Engage in transformational advising and mentoring practices designed to support student agency and self-efficacy.
Establish proactive and high-impact advising and mentoring practices to ensure student progress and success.
Identify issues and implement strategies to address causes for gaps in graduation rates.
Identify challenges and implement strategies to address obstacles to timely degree completion.
Ensure the availability and effective sequencing of critical/required courses.
Expand student project, collaboration, and tutoring spaces.
B.2 Provide curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in experiential learning activities, including undergraduate research, internships, study abroad/study away, and service learning.
Develop experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students in Southwest Virginia.
Explore opportunities to increase experiential learning into the CS core curriculum.
Explore possibilities for students to earn credit for off-campus experiential learning.
Increase opportunities for undergraduate research in CS and as part of interdisciplinary research teams.
Plan and implement professionalism and professional communication training workshops for students and student groups.
Provide training for BS students to become successful collaborators in group and lab settings.
Provide substantial training for MS students with GTA and GRA assignments.
Provide training and support for CS Ph.D. students planning to pursue faculty positions.
Provide strong mentoring networks among faculty and research scholars to ensure graduate students are integrated into research culture, engaged in the research community, and prepared to continue innovative and entrepreneurial habits of mind beyond graduation.
B.4 Deliver curricula designed to emphasize the techno-social implications of computing using principles of design thinking and student-centered pedagogical approaches.
Provide a focus on and methods for engaging in interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary inquiry and problem-solving.
Highlight the psychological, social/political, economic, and environmental consequences of ubiquitous computing and the ethical responsibilities of computer science researchers and professionals and those who create and build technology.
Consider the user/stakeholder experiences of various computing technologies and technology-based applications.
Explore aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion among users (including issues of access, affordability, safety, etc.) and the role(s) the computer science professional plays in these issues.
C.1 Leverage growth in the number of faculty and MS/Ph.D. students to grow research activity and impact.
Recruit, retain, and support a sufficient number of faculty at all ranks (instructors, collegiate faculty, professors of practice, and tenured/tenure-track faculty) to meet Tech Talent Pipeline targets.
Increase MS and Ph.D. enrollments and funding to scale with increasing tenure/tenure-track faculty numbers.
Leverage growth at the Innovation Campus to enhance research opportunities.
Recruit, retain, and support high-quality faculty and research-oriented graduate students that contribute to the Innovation Campus vision.
Build and sustain productive working relationships between CS faculty and research activities in Blacksburg and in the DC area.
Leverage Innovation Campus, CHCI, and Sanghani Center to expand connections of research to social implications
Leverage growth in non-tenure track faculty ranks to grow research programs in digital education.
Continue increasing emphasis on high-quality publications.
Identify and prioritize research thrust areas for investment.
Formalize and standardize department-level seed funding and cost-sharing mechanisms to encourage high-potential areas with strong intellectual merit.
Identify and support signature projects that increase the department’s external visibility, e.g., software systems, tools, data-repositories, conceptual frameworks, etc.
Increase funding from a wider variety of federal and state sources, i.e., beyond NSF.
Develop and implement engagement strategies for companies aligned with research thrusts.
C.3 Engage in and promote interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary collaborations to pursue complex research challenges.
Improve engagement and opportunities for research collaboration with colleagues across the CS Department.
Form faculty planning groups to develop large interdisciplinary research proposals that address deep research challenges.
Improve engagement and opportunities for research collaboration with transdisciplinary centers and colleagues from other disciplines across the university, and with colleagues at other universities.
Identify liaisons and mechanisms to regularly communicate collaboration opportunities with university centers, institutes, and initiatives (ICAT, ICTAS, CCI, NSI, FLSI, CENI, ISCE, etc.)
Identify and improve support for connection-building activities with strategic partners, e.g., visits, workshops, student exchanges.
Support research teams pursuing large collaborations and large proposals.
Evaluate and adjust departmental support to incentivize large proposals.
Incentivize faculty to gain awareness of how computing impacts society.
Enhance research by incorporating social themes.
Mentor graduate students to create a generation of computer scientists more adept at navigating the social dimensions of their work.
Identify and execute strategies to engage targeted successful alumni.
Identify and execute strategies to engage relevant industry partners.
Celebrate and highlight alumni achievements and successes.
Keep alumni and industry partners apprised of departmental news and events.
Provide opportunities for alumni and industry partners to engage with the department on a variety of levels and across administrative and academic units.
D2. Identify and create strategic communications that increase the visibility of the CS Department both within and external to Virginia Tech.
Enhance efforts to increase external visibility of BS, BS/MS, MS, MEng, and PhD programs.
Develop a clear, organized, and engaging web presence designed for both internal and external stakeholders.
Promote and document events with multimedia artifacts.
Promote faculty, staff, student, and alumni stories and accomplishments through frequent and timely publications across departmental, college, and university venues.
Increase recognition and visibility for productive faculty members.
Collaborate with administrative units across the department to ensure consistent branding and uniform, non-competing marketing and PR efforts.
Coordinate with COE messaging to ensure consistent branding and uniform, non-competing marketing and PR efforts.
Secure funding for endowed professorships and junior faculty fellowships.
Increase funding for endowed undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships.
Increase donor gifts to the department's annual fund.
Secure funding for a general endowed excellence fund for the department.
Align Advancement functions with the COE.
Enable, reward, and recognize outstanding professional service and outreach contributions.
Identify and support strategic departmental outreach activities, e.g., economic and community development, K-12 education, health.