University of Virginia

Founded in 1819
1 Campuses
22,049 Students
8,239 Staff
Joined U21 in 2001

In 1819, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as the culmination of his lifelong dream to “create the bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere.” The Jefferson-designed “Academical Village,” with its Rotunda, Pavilions, Ranges, and Lawn, constitutes perhaps the most architecturally significant central setting for any US university. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Academical Village is still in use today.

Audacious at its inception, the university’s goals today are no less ambitious: to represent the American ideal for higher education and to achieve excellence in all of its endeavours. It pursues these by concentrating on four key areas: academic rigor, student self-governance, honour and public service. Moreover, the university intends to remain a national model of excellence for undergraduate learning and professional education within a modern research university. In its 2006 “America’s Best Colleges” issue, US News and World Report ranked the university as number two among national public universities and tied for 23rd among all national universities. In the 20-year history of the rankings, the University of Virginia has consistently been ranked among the top 25 universities, whether public or private.

The university’s Academic Division is comprised of these 10 schools: College of Arts and Sciences, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, School of Architecture, McIntire School of Commerce, Curry School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Collectively, these schools enrol more than 23,000 students, house more than 80 fields of study, and offer degrees at the bachelor, master, doctoral, first professional (law and medicine), and educational specialist levels. Many of their programs rank among the nation’s best.

A distinguished faculty, numbering more than 2,000 full-time members, includes Guggenheim Fellows, Fulbright Scholars, members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, a two-time poet laureate of the United States, and a MacArthur Fellowship recipient.  The university has graduated 43 Rhodes Scholars, as well as many Truman, Marshall, and Luce scholars.

Among the university’s highest priorities is a commitment to raise the stature and effectiveness of international initiatives and to incorporate an awareness of international issues throughout the curriculum. The university’s plans call for making a study-abroad experience possible for every student and increasing the numbers of international students. International students enhance the life of the university and contribute to the education and personal growth of American students and faculty members. Among the undergraduate population alone, students come from 90 foreign countries, as well as from all 50 states in the US. The university presently is engaged in a special, long range initiative aimed at making the institution internationally pre-eminent in science and technology research. Through this endeavour, the university will help lead the scientific revolution in selected areas (biological sciences, nanosciences, and information technology), expand and enhance opportunities for faculty and graduate and undergraduate students, and increase the benefits derived from technology transfer and economic development, for both the institution and the Commonwealth of Virginia. T

he University of Virginia has been a member of the Universitas 21 consortium since May 2001. UVA has implemented bi-lateral student exchange agreements with most of the U21 member institutions. The university is also active in numerous other network initiatives including the wholly online degree-granting enterprise, U21Global. The University of Virginia was the location for the first Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference in April 2005. The conference showcased the work of 32 student researchers from twelve U21 universities in eight countries. The purpose of the conference was to allow students from around the globe to present their research to a diverse audience of peers, faculty, and mentors, as well as the larger community. Papers were printed in the undergraduate research journal, The Oculus, and widely disseminated. UVA was happy to host the 4th annual U21 Summer School in 2007. This very successful programme brought students from around the world together for two weeks for an experiential learning programme designed to simultaneously challenge and excite the attendees through interactive seminars to identify, develop and exercise their leadership skills.

Professor Jeff Legro