SCPS, Advisory Board Strategize School's Future Together

On Monday, January 29, the UVA School of Continuing & Professional Studies advisory board, members of which include Chair Allison Linney, Glenn Davidson, Chris Foster, Victoria (Tori) Hobgood, and Kara Ramirez Mullins, joined school leadership for a day filled with conversations, plans and visions. The convening offered an important opportunity for the board to expand its understanding of the School and to proffer insights stemming from their own experiences and perspectives, which are rich given the diversity of their backgrounds, regional focus and industry experience.

Melissa Lubin
SCPS Dean Melissa Lubin

SCPS Dean Melissa Lubin remarked, “Our advisory board is an incredible group of seasoned leaders who personally connect to SCPS through their own lived experiences and diverse workforce development expertise in business, industry and government. As external advisors, they provide the guidance, support and context SCPS needs to ensure we are meeting the needs and wants of the adult learner to upskill, reskill and progress in their careers.”


Tori Headshot
Tori Hobgood

The board sought greater insight into the SCPS student population, the impact the School has on individuals and the community at large, and the growth the school has experienced in the past 25 years. Tori Hobgood suggested this type of data could help them better “share the story with others.” Tori, who lives in Loudoun County, brings the perspective of both business owner and graduate of the SCPS Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program.

Lubin kicked off the meeting by offering an overview of the School’s current state. Connecting the School’s mission with UVA’s 2030 Strategic Plan where it calls for greater accessibility to degrees, Lubin shared that the School is prioritizing initiatives that pave the way for increased affordability, broader access and more transformative experiences. To that end, the School seeks to grow its presence in Northern Virginia, increase enrollments and ensure offerings are aligned with in-demand, high-paying jobs so students achieve truly life-changing results.

Regarding her aspiration for the School, Dean Lubin shared, “I envision a future where SCPS’s mission continues to expand and impacts more people and the society we live in. UVA is a top tier public institution, and as a School, I believe we have a responsibility to provide the highest quality of education to those who seek it. By investing in our people, programs, partnerships and processes, SCPS can increase student access along every phase and stage of work and life, enhance our program offerings to be even more transformative and create streamlined pathways to make education more affordable.”

Glenn Headshot
Glenn Davidson

With representatives from University Advancement in attendance, the group discussed the funding needed to support growth and increase scholarship availability. Drawing on his knowledge of government and public sector organizations, Glenn Davidson, who leads Deloitte’s Government & Public Service’s workforce development practice, listed potential government resources and funding opportunities to advance its goals. Earlier in his career, Glenn served as chief of staff to Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder and as a senior executive with the US Department of Commerce.

Provost Ian Baucom
Provost Ian Baucom joins the group, sharing his appreciation and encouragement

University of Virginia Provost Ian Baucom poignantly thanked board members and School leadership for their steadfast commitment and dedication to SCPS, as they have directly contributed to forming the School’s strong foundation and positioning it for an increasingly positive future, beyond even what was imaginable. Believing that SCPS has made its way into “the heart of the University,” Baucom encouraged the group to persist in developing creative solutions and partnerships to continue serving students, challenging that the School’s position means the University needs great things from it.

Allison Linney
Allison Linney

Advisory Board Chair Allison Linney echoed Baucom’s urging, sharing the Provost himself “set a culture of collaboration in the University.” A double ‘Hoo with degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Darden School of Business who founded Allison Partners, Linney is intimately familiar with the broader UVA community as well as the SCPS experience, having completed a few classes at the School herself.

Chris Foster Headshot
Chris Foster

While SCPS leadership painted the picture of the School’s culture, enrollment status and priorities, the board responded with poignant insights, valuable questions and energetic challenges. Chris Foster, Omnicom Public Relations Group CEO, pressed the school to lean into its innovative roots in its approach to programs and partnerships. Foster sees SCPS as an incredible space to test, imagine, create and lead the University in spaces like generative AI. Chris urged the school to be agile and collaborative.

In turn, the School asked the board to serve as partners in shaping its future and advising with their diverse perspectives as the School seeks to develop a culture of philanthropy, increase its enrollment and expand its presence through partnerships, initiatives which directly impact the student experience. “Through their personal contributions in time, talent and treasure, along with connections to their professional networks, our advisory board is helping SCPS build a culture of philanthropy that will provide the scholarships our students need to get the education they want for career advancement, personal enrichment and social mobility,” Dean Lubin shared.

Kara Ramirez Mullins, Chief Advancement Officer at National Geographic Society, was unable to attend the January meeting, but her extensive experience in fundraising and external relations will guide the School’s future endeavors well.

Reflecting on the partnership, Dean Lubin shared, “I am deeply grateful to each one of our advisory board members for the passionate perspectives they bring to our school and the commitment they have for the future success and wellbeing of our students. They inspire SCPS to be and do better.”