Virginia Tech has formed an advisory board for its highly ranked master of information technology program. The board, comprised of eight members, will take effect July 1.

The master of information technology is an online program that draws students, most of whom are full-time professionals, from around the nation and the world.

The program is managed by the Pamplin College of Business, which collaborates with the College of Engineering on the design and delivery of the courses and curriculum.

Ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the program has grown to more than 400 students with 3,800 course registrations.

The new board is expected to offer guidance on such topics as student recruitment, markets to target, resources and methods to promote the program, course pricing and delivery, and the overall curriculum.

It will also advise administrators on ways to enhance services to enrolled students and measure the program’s success.

“Among the goals is a ten-fold increase in enrollment,” said Pamplin dean Robert Sumichrast.

He and the program’s executive committee also seek to make continuous improvements to the program. Such improvements include ensuring that the curriculum stays up-to-date and is “appropriately balanced between fundamental knowledge and immediately marketable expertise,” he said.

“We also want to ensure that the program is recognized as high-quality and high-touch.”

To achieve these goals, Sumichrast said, “it is critical to have input from external professionals.”

Parviz Ghandforoush, the program’s executive director, said the program has educated hundreds of professionals since 1999. “Its success reflects Virginia Tech’s innovative teaching and expertise in IT,” he said, “including business intelligence and analytics, and cybersecurity.”

Members are appointed by the deans of the two colleges and serve initial terms of 2-3 years.

The inaugural members are: alumna Deborah Golden, of South Riding, Virginia, a principal of Deloitte; alumnus Don Halliwill, of Roanoke, Virginia, CFO of Carilion; alumna Kayenda Johnson, of Baltimore, Maryland, an engineer at SRA International; alumnus David Maldonado, of West Chester, Ohio, director of GIRD Systems; alumna Mary Miller, of Blacksburg, Virginia, president of Interactive Design and Development, who will chair the board; alumna Ashley Robinson, of Chandler, Arizona, a researcher at Intel; Jack Sepple, of Denver, Colorado, a senior managing director at Accenture; and Yul Williams, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a senior cyber innovations leader at the National Security Agency.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s master of information technology. Contact program director Terry Hinders at 703-538-8384.

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