Miller Center Strategic Plan

Miller Center Strategic Plan

Executive summary of the Miller Center's FY 2021-2025 strategic plan

The Need

The American presidency—and our democracy—face major choices in coming years. Policy makers and the engaged public increasingly want a deeper understanding of the U.S. presidency as an institution, reinforcing the Miller Center’s importance during its second half-century.  Working with talented faculty across UVA and our network of practitioners, the Miller Center can inspire our nation’s leaders and citizens to make our democracy work for all Americans.

The Impact

We seek to be great and good as the preeminent nonpartisan institution at a public university for the study of the American presidency, public policy, and political history. We will use a series of public engagement tools and techniques – from books and OpEds, to public events and academic conferences, to documentaries and webinars, to other traditional and new media platforms – to reach audiences that transform ideas into action.

Strategic goals FY21-FY25

First: Be GREAT in the priorities we pursue by leading the scholarly study of the presidency, by maximizing UVA collaboration, and by striving for purposeful engagement.

  • Remain the leading nonpartisan public center for the scholarly study of the U.S. presidency.
  • Serve as the essential applied democracy partner for the University of Virginia.
  • Be seen as the national model for engaging in diverse and civil discourse.

Second: Be GOOD by achieving our priorities in a supportive environment that inspires us to be excellent and operationally sound.

  • Be an engaging place for every Center employee to work, to enable us to recruit and retain top-quality scholars, fellows, and staff and achieve scholarly and public impact.
  • Maintain future financial sustainability through developing multiple, consistent sources of funding and deploying our resources carefully and in line with the mission and strategic goals of the Center.

Fiscal Oversight

Our advancement team aims to provide resources to execute the strategic goals of the Miller Center; fundraising is the bridge between the mission and the business of the organization.  We have identified a development goal of $3–5M annually, composed of $2.8M per year (average) from restricted and unrestricted giving, plus $8M new endowment over 5 years. The Budget and Finance Committee plans to provide clear, reliable, and consistent data with no surprises so the board can perform its fiduciary responsibility. We recognize that economic uncertainty requires flexibility, that strict oversight will continue to be essential, and that balancing our budget at the front end of this strategic plan will be particularly challenging due to the economic decline caused by the pandemic.

UVA Collaboration

The Center’s work will support the four goals of the University of Virginia’s Great and Good 2030 Strategic Plan.

  1. We will strengthen our foundation by carefully managing the finances of the Center and buttressing volunteer leadership that steward our core institutional resources.
  2. We will cultivate community by supporting students by preparing them for public service, by offering unique content to the Charlottesville community, and by strengthening our engagement with alumni. The Center will live organizational values that emphasize the importance of our faculty and staff.
  3. We will enable discoveries by recruiting and retaining excellent faculty to support our core research programs and collaborating with other units across Grounds. 
  4. We will make UVA synonymous with service by providing free educational opportunities, particularly through our public forums.


As we prepare the Miller Center for its next half-century, we have an opportunity to build on the best of the Center’s rich history while capturing the energy of current opportunities at the University and across the nation. Our three distinct organizational priorities remain: 1) our work on the presidency; 2) our broader work with the University on public policy and democracy issues; and 3) our role in advancing civil discourse through events, conferences, and online dissemination.

Promoting engagement through nonpartisan respectful dialogue and public engagement, in alignment with Miller Center and UVA scholarship, will contribute to public impact. We will continue our public programming, conferences, and University-wide events that make the Center a leader in connecting the engaged public and policy makers to our scholars and fellows. Our media network, online presence, and public scholarship will continue to enable us to reach targeted audiences.

A priority will be working within the University system to best benefit both the Center and the University, including in our role as the premier public-facing unit of UVA. We will be most successful as a supportive community in which both faculty and staff feel respected and appreciated for their multifaceted contributions.