Beginning in the fall of 2013 Virginia Tech will offer a Bachelor of Science Degree program in real estate, becoming the nation’s first interdisciplinary undergraduate program to include academic strengths in architecture, building construction, business, applied economics, engineering, property management, and natural resources management.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously approved a resolution to create this new degree program during its quarterly meeting today.

The new program, pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, will prepare students with the decision making, risk-evaluation, ethical-behavior, negotiation, communication, team-work, analytical and leadership skills to become leaders in the complex real estate industry that faces diminished public confidence following the recent market collapse and the challenge of building sustainable living and work space for a growing population.

A complete description of the new real estate program will be published on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Virginia Tech News.

In other actions, the board approved a resolution that formally established a new Virginia Tech extended campus site to include the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute and Carilion Clinic in Roanoke. This designation will improve access to programs, research and learning opportunities, and equipment not available in a typical classroom for Virginia Tech students, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine students, and healthcare professionals seeking to expand their professional knowledge.

The Finance and Audit Committee received a report on student financial aid which totaled $413.8 million in loans, grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, and employment opportunities in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Virginia Tech resources provided $36.7 million in financial aid to 9,234 undergraduate students in 2011-12, an average of $3,975 per student. The Funds for the Future program, which protects students and their families from rising tuition costs, aided 3,935 undergraduate students during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The Finance and Audit Committee also received a report on the increased administrative efficiencies through the growth of automated systems. The implementation of new business systems to submit research proposals (utilized by the Office of the Vice President of Research), manage purchasing documents (Graduate School, Purchasing), reimbursement for travel and expenses (Office of Finance), and the Banner Enterprise Identity Services and Going Google initiatives (Information Technology) are some of the efficiencies that have resulted in millions of dollars of savings over that past five years.

The Academic Affairs committee heard a presentation on programs and services that support veterans who attend Virginia Tech to start or complete their degrees. Currently, 219 veterans are enrolled at the university and another 46 students serve in the National Guard or military reserves.

During the two-day meeting, the full board received several reports, including one on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Agricultural Technology Program which has produced 950 graduates since the program began in 1987. The two-year program helps students to be successful in technical agricultural fields.

A report on enrollment and degree management covered strategies and plans that could reduce pressure on over-enrolled courses, use facilities throughout the year, incorporate e-learning, and provide affordable access to middle and low income families, and how the university’s Summer Academy initiatives could help in these areas.

In addition, an update on the university’s six-year strategic plan and a presentation on “Our Online Horizon: Reprioritizing Distance and Online Education for Growth and Distinction” further engaged board members of future teaching, research and outreach opportunities at the university.

The College of Engineering’s Srinath Ekkad was named the Commonwealth Professor for Aerospace Propulsion Systems and Pavlos Vlachos was named the Robert E. Hord Jr. Professorship of Mechanical Engineering. In addition, Pamplin College of Business Professor Dilip Shome was honored with the Russell V. and Arlene F. Oliver Faculty Fellowship in Investment Management Teaching. Stories on each of these appointments will be published in Virginia Tech News beginning Thursday, Nov. 8

In addition, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professor Edward Hagood honored with emeritus status. His story will appear in Virginia Tech News on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

The next full meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held March 24 and 25 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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