University of Virginia is Falling Behind its Competitors, Consultants Warn in Report

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Published by The Washington Post

A higher education consulting firm had a blunt message for the University of Virginia’s governing board Tuesday: Despite the university’s vaunted stature as a “public Ivy,” school and state leaders have been complacent in the past 15 years and U-Va. is now falling behind many of its competitors.

Consultants from the Baltimore-based Art & Science Group, which U-Va. hired for the analysis, compared the university to nine public and private universities and interviewed many U-Va. representatives and “thought leaders in higher education.”

“The characterization that we heard from a number of people goes something like this: ‘U-Va. is a wonderful, important, premier place, but it doesn’t feel as driven as others,’ ” said Benjamin G. Edwards, a principal at the firm.

U-Va. leaders are using the assessment as they formulate a long-term strategic plan, which is due to the Board of Visitors by this fall.

Edwards recommended that U-Va. further invest in the undergraduate student experience, immediately hire more faculty and find innovative ways to distinguish itself. The consultants also concluded that U-Va. could charge significantly more for in-state undergraduate tuition without losing its place in the market.

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