In keeping with the theme of this issue’s cover story on what’s next, I would like to devote this letter to what’s next for UVA in Northern Virginia.

President James E. Ryan

Affectionately nicknamed NOVA, as many of you know, Northern Virginia comprises more than 1,000 square miles within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and is home to about 6.3 million residents. It’s a growing and diverse population that presents an extraordinary opportunity for UVA to offer education and training to residents who will go on to live and work in the region—and, in doing so, serve the Commonwealth and the nation.

Greg Fairchild is uniquely suited to lead this work. Last fall, we announced that UVA|NOVA will be UVA’s campus in Northern Virginia, and that Greg would be its inaugural dean. Greg is the Isidore Horween Research Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business, has led Darden’s strategic expansion to Northern Virginia, and is a beloved teacher and mentor who has been named a Poets & Quants MBA Professor of the Year—all of which is to say he’s the best person for the job.

Beginning with a site in the Rosslyn neighborhood of North Arlington—proximate to businesses such as Amazon, government entities such as the Pentagon, and transportation hubs such as Reagan National Airport—Greg is working to coordinate and expand UVA’s already strong programs in NOVA. Several UVA schools currently offer programs that matriculate more than 500 students per year. To name a few examples: The Darden School of Business offers executive programs for business leaders. The School of Education and Human Development offers certificate programs and coursework for educators seeking to sharpen their skills and advance their careers. McIntire offers a master of science in the management of IT. The School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers a bachelor of interdisciplinary studies degree. And the School of Data Science offers courses that cut across schools and are geared toward a range of professionals in the area, especially those who want to integrate their current skills with the accelerating need for data science skills.

Working with a broad set of colleagues, Greg and the UVA|NOVA team plan to expand these offerings to meet the demand in the area, including a new part-time MBA program. They’ll also build new online, in-person and hybrid offerings in a variety of subjects that meet a broad range of learner needs, from certificate programs to short courses to employee and executive training. They are looking at ways to expand our research footprint, including through UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute, which already has an office in Rosslyn. And there are plans to create a second UVA|NOVA site near the Inova complex in Fairfax, which will afford new opportunities and partnerships to develop academic programming. Alongside professional, residential, retail and service spaces, the Fairfax site could be the kind of place that opens up exciting new ways to create, connect and collaborate.

In the longer term, the idea is to grow UVA|NOVA into a “Grounds away from Grounds,” where scholars from Charlottesville can access new research opportunities associated with the benefits of a large population center, where NOVA and Charlottesville students can connect with alumni in the area—NOVA is home to the largest cluster of UVA alumni in the world—and where the traditional silos of academia can give way to partnerships across sectors that will help solve big problems that require multiple perspectives.

To that end, although UVA|NOVA will be focused primarily on postgraduates or those seeking to advance their professional skills, we expect that it will benefit undergraduate students in Charlottesville as well. For example, students in Charlottesville who might be studying democracy could travel to Rosslyn, where they are better able to interact and learn from people who work on Capitol Hill. UVA alumni who live in NOVA could more easily teach, mentor or connect with students and faculty. Faculty and students in Charlottesville could better connect with business, government and health care leaders near Washington.

Charlottesville is where UVA’s roots will always lie. UVA|NOVA is an exciting part of its growing reach.

Signature of Jim Ryan
James E. Ryan (Law ’92)
President of the University of Virginia