Our Mission & Commitment to Diversity


The mission of the Batten School is to develop leaders and generate new knowledge to solve the world’s toughest public policy challenges. Through training in policy analysis and critical leadership skills, the school and its faculty:

  • develop effective and ethical leaders to promote a better society
  • produce research addressing the most important policy problems
  • serve as a model for transforming public policy education

Commitment to Diversity

A distinguishing characteristic of the Batten School is that from its inception, the community has embraced its role as a “conversation changer,” collectively understanding that its road to excellence is not a conventional one, rather one that requires creating new, unexplored pathways. The School is guided by the example of its late founder, Frank Batten Sr., who rose to become publisher of the Virginian-Pilot and the founder of an international media conglomerate. In the late 1950s, when the Virginia Governor’s office called for the closing of schools as a means of blocking court-ordered desegregation, Mr. Batten’s Virginian-Pilot was alone among major Virginia newspapers to oppose the Massive Resistance doctrine, organizing a full-page advertisement calling for schools to reopen. Mr. Batten cited as his greatest accomplishment, “developing a first-rate company that has high values and makes a contribution to all the communities we serve.” At Batten we hold similar goals for our young school and its graduates.

Consistent with this mindset, the Batten School community aims to develop an organizational culture where diversity, including diversity in race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, veteran status, physical and mental abilities, political philosophy, socio-economic status and intellectual focus, is viewed as a strategic imperative.

Simply stated, a preeminent, forward-looking leadership and public policy school will only flourish in an environment that includes community members with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. This mindset, embedded within the Batten School ethos, will become a defining characteristic of all great public policy schools. With the Batten School effectively positioned as a conversation changer, success on this dimension will further its vision of making a significant impact in the greater Charlottesville community and beyond.