Board of Visitors adopts resolution that support two key initiatives
At its regular quarterly meeting held Monday in Torgersen Hall, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a resolution seeking additional state funding-- $47.8 million over the next two years--that will support two key university academic and research programs identified in the university’s strategic plan.
This resolution underscores the commitment of the board and the university to the Host-Pathogen Interactions and Bioinformatics Program and the Advanced Biomaterials Nanotechnology Program (a component of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)). The university will seek a total of $25 million ($12.5 million for each program) in additional state support toward the development of these initiatives and an additional $5 million to support a strategic equipment program.
In addition, the university will request new state funds for base budget adequacy ($14 million), enrollment growth (for increases in graduate students and transfer students, $3.6 million), operation and maintenance of new facilities ($2.2 million) and unique military activities (to support the military activities of the Corps of Cadets program, $900,000). And $2.1 million will be sought to support the Commonwealth Staffing initiative in the Cooperative Extension/Agriculture Experiment Station Division.
Several other items and resolutions were discussed and approved during the two day session.
The board approved two resolutions proposed by the Academic Affairs Committee. The first affirmed a new anti-discrimination and harassment prevention policy that further clarified existing policies. The second recognized Virginia Tech Services, Inc. as the university’s designated agent to compile, publish, keep, and maintain listings for assigned or required textbooks as required by recent legislation by the Virginia General Assembly. The intent of the new legislation is to help students save money when purchasing books for class.
During the Academic Affairs Committee meeting, Provost Mark McNamee led a discussion on the university’s work toward a six year academic plan required by the recently passed Higher Education Restructuring Act. The provost also reported significant progress in addressing work life issues, such as dual career hiring, childcare and extending the tenure track clock for childbirth and adoption. He also noted the hiring of several new faculty and administrators from under-represented groups in recent months, which underscores the university’s commitment to a diverse community.
Karen DePauw, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School, reviewed ongoing initiatives to improve graduate education. DePauw cited the recent opening of the Donaldson Brown Graduate Life Center and an increase in 450 Ph.D. students since 2002.
On Sunday, the board received a report commissioned by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger to review the long term funding for the College of Engineering.
Over the past several months, some members of the college’s advisory board have publicly questioned the university’s commitment to the college. Steger asked for an analysis of the college’s “funding level in the context of previous funding levels and the budget reductions imposed by the state.”
The review was conducted by engineering advisory committee members, James Turner and W.S. “Pete” White (also former rectors of the board of visitors), and Malcolm McPherson, former interim dean of the College of Engineering. The report concluded that “the percentage of total E&G (Educational and General) funding allocated to [the college] fell during most of the 1990s, [and] it increased in 1998-1999 and has remained essentially flat since then.” The percentage of E&G funds devoted to the College of Engineering from 1999-2005 has remained near constant averaging 12.9 percent of the total university E&G (excluding special engineering initiatives).
The board honored three Virginia Tech professors with endowed professorships. Shinya Kikuchi was named a Charles E. Via, Jr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering; Michael Hyer was appointed the N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics in the College of Engineering; and C. Bryan Cloyd was named the John E. Peterson, Jr. Professor of Accounting and Information Systems in the Pamplin College of Business. In addition, three others professors were recognized with emeritus status.
Shelley Duke, owner and manager of Rallywood Farm in Middleburg, Va., and George C. Nolen, president and chief executive officer of Siemens USA and 1978 graduate of the Pamplin College of Business, attended their first Board of Visitors meeting as board members. In addition, Susanna Rinehart, associate professor of theatre studies, began her term as the Faculty Senate Representative; Navin Manjooran, a graduate students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, now serves as the Graduate Student Representative; and Jennifer Jessie, a political science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is the Undergraduate Student Representative.
The special meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Sept. 24 in Blacksburg. The next regular quarterly meeting will be held Nov. 6-7 on campus.
==> Please note: Board minutes, resolutions, and other background information may be found at the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors website,http://www.bov.vt.edu.