The Virginia Tech Graduate School received an Outstanding Innovative Programming Award from the American College Personnel Association/College Student Educators International (ACPA).

The award, which is the first-ever for the school, was conferred at the ACPA’s annual conference on March 26 in Baltimore, Md.

“This award recognizes innovative programs that break new boundaries in serving graduate/professional students,” said Darlene Ray-Johnson, director/resolution officer for Graduate Student Affairs at the University of Michigan, and chair of an ACPA awards committee. According to Ray-Johnson, the committee considered more than 10 graduate schools throughout the nation before selecting Virginia Tech as this year’s recipient.

“Our Graduate School programming is a collaborative effort that includes many talented people from a number of organizations across campus. The success of our programming is another example of the uniqueness of the graduate community at Virginia Tech,” says Karen P. DePauw, vice president and dean of graduate education.

Virginia Tech organizations that contribute to graduate programming include Cook Counseling Center, Career Services, graduate recruiting, Graduate Student Assembly, Learning Technologies, residence life, graduate fellows, the Graduate Student Services Office, and University Unions and Student Activities.

“Our programming allows for different levels of participation according to students’ availability and desire for involvement,” said Monika Gibson, director of student services for the Graduate School. “Also, our many and varied programs and initiatives increase the sense of community and ownership by graduate students,” she said.

According to Gibson, specific programs such as the Graduate Scholar Society, is an outstanding example a student-led initiative that is interdisciplinary and allows students to become engaged thinkers in all areas of life. Another successful program is the semi-annual photography and art displays, which, through its ever-changing theme, allows visitors of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown to see the world through the eyes of current graduate students.

According to DePauw, a critical element of the success of the Graduate Life Center is the on-going support of the writing center, career advising and career counseling, and the Cook Counseling Center.  All these entities maintain a regular presence in the building. Graduate Life Center programming includes interdisciplinary courses that are offered and range from a short course in electronic thesis/dissertation preparation to job searching and personal finances. 



Written by T. Lynn Caldwell.

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