Building on our disciplinary foundations, we look to the future. Pamplin’s Pillars are areas of study and business practice that cut across our degree programs and address escalating societal needs or will have accelerating impact. These areas are targets for strategic investment in the next five years. For 2019-2024, we will continue to invest in the areas of “Business Intelligence and Analytics” and “Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” We will also use targeted investments to launch new pillars in “Security, Privacy, and Trust” and the “Human Condition.” We see these pillars alone to be as important as their areas of intersection, suggested in Figure 1. International business, or global sustainable prosperity, was included as a pillar in our previous strategic plan but is not included here. The change does not point to lack of importance, but rather signifies that we see global perspectives as integral to all Pamplin programs.
Pamplin’s Pillars are described below.
We will continue to identify new opportunities to invest in business analytics. Businesses are identifying new applications of analytics. Pamplin faculty and programs are unique in their capacity to leverage analytics to create business value. Opportunities to solve problems backed by data will drive increases in the number of analysts employed, in requirements for analytics expertise across positions, in the differentiation in analytics job titles and requirements for at least the next decade. Applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning will grow significantly across disciplines in business, as will potential applications of block chain, big data, data ethics, and functional analyses driving innovation in every business discipline. There is a critical need to create opportunities in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programming to expose students to the increasing breadth of analytics practice and to develop practical skills. Pamplin faculty have unique expertise in understanding how to deploy analytics to optimize return on investment and to build focused programs in analytics sub-disciplines across the college. Despite dramatic growth in competitive programs, several opportunities continue to drive the need for expansion of master’s programming in business analytics in Blacksburg and the Greater Washington D.C. Metro Area. Those opportunities include, but are not limited to, creating strong partnerships in analytics across the university, leveraging our role in enhancing return on investment, and helping the university develop coordinated messaging about analytics at Virginia Tech. The Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics will continue to increase its co-curricular and extracurricular programming and launch a living learning community in Analytics. This will occur in coordination with the launch of the Global Business and Analytics Complex.
Entrepreneurial activity is critical to leveraging today’s and building tomorrow’s opportunities to strengthen the economy and enhance the human condition. We will continue to invest in and expand innovation and entrepreneurship programming. Strong entrepreneurship educational programs at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels provide great potential for growth in Pamplin departments. Opportunities to collaborate also exist with other Virginia Tech colleges to expand curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programming across the university and beyond Blacksburg. A significant strength of the college lies in building a national reputation for entrepreneurship research. The Apex Center for Entrepreneurs was recognized as the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. Pamplin can also play a supporting role in enhancing the effectiveness of technology commercialization efforts and in providing entrepreneurship programming for research faculty and masters students in other colleges. We can also promote cross-disciplinary examination of societal problems, continue to build human capital in support of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and help launch businesses as the university’s capacity for technology commercialization increases. As the Innovation Campus develops, the college has an important role to play in helping promote entrepreneurial start-ups in the Greater Washington D.C. Metro Area. Entrepreneurship programming from the college can also contribute meaningfully to the Rural Virginia initiative.
Industry leaders identify security, privacy, and trust as fundamental requirements for robust and stable economies, democracies, and societies in a digital world. As the proportion of our lives transacted digitally expands exponentially, protecting critical assets and infrastructure from increasingly sophisticated threats from fraud, theft, and loss of intellectual property requires evolving technical and behavioral solutions. Pamplin faculty bring together distinct but highly complementary capabilities and skillsets to educate and solve problems related to security, resiliency, privacy and trust in digital systems and communities. This pillar aligns Pamplin with university priorities and Commonwealth investments. The future Innovation Campus, the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Initiative, and the Hume Center for National Security and the Integrated Security Education and Research Center (ISERC) broaden the scope for collaboration in research and education. Pamplin will expand its capacity and invest in expertise to deliver cutting-edge educational programs at every level, work across disciplinary boundaries to understand the trajectory of threats, and engage in research to build secure and trustworthy solutions to impact decision making and organizational policy, contributing to economic prosperity and sustainable solutions for society.
Safeguarding our environment and assuring human well-being are global challenges. Business can and must play a critical role in developing and rapidly deploying solutions to these challenges. State-of-the-art business practice goes beyond simple profit maximization. Pamplin will create solutions that simultaneously enhance organizations’ economic, social and environmental outcomes. Increasingly, society requires the merging of science and business practice to create sustainable solutions to global challenges. Our faculty, staff, and students need to understand the challenges facing our environment and human well-being and will be called upon to create new types of organizations capable of simultaneously achieving the economic, social, and environmental outcomes that will be required of tomorrow’s successful societies. Many Pamplin faculty are already contributing to these efforts. Leveraging business practice to improve the environment and social outcomes aligns Pamplin more explicitly to the university’s numerous and varied efforts to improve the human condition, opening new areas of partnership and tightening our connection to the University’s motto, “Ut Prosim.”