At its regularly scheduled quarterly board meeting held today in Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors considered and discussed several issues central to the university's teaching, research, and outreach mission.

Among those topics were the university budget and tuition and fees for the 2022-23 fiscal year (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023). While no resolutions were introduced on these two matters, it is anticipated that resolutions on each will be introduced and voted on at a meeting of the board Executive Committee to be held in Richmond June 14.

“Setting tuition and mandatory fees is arguably the most important decision this board makes each year because we must find the right balance of access and affordability for the students and families who must bear this cost with investing in world-class faculty and campus programs and preserving the quality of a Virginia Tech degree,” said Rector Letitia “Tish” Long. “As we finalize our decision, we are very appreciative of the proposed increases in state support for higher education, which will help us to keep costs down for our students and families.”

As part of the tuition and fees discussion, the university outlined its intention to increase mental health counselors and related resources on campus; to add additional sexual assault prevention staff, educators, and resources; and to increase health center testing and services for Virginia Tech students.

Contingent on setting tuition and mandatory fees, the board is considering an approximately $1.89 billion university budget for the next fiscal year, which would represent an approximately 3.7 percent budget growth compared to the adjusted 2021-22 budget. The proposed operating budget includes increases in student financial aid, a 5 percent stipend increase for graduate assistantships, and faculty and staff compensation increases contingent upon final state budget approval.

The board approved a resolution to establish the Blackwood Department of Real Estate within the Pamplin College of Business pending final approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The proposed department structure will advance Virginia Tech’s nationally recognized Blackwood Program in Real Estate and its efforts to enhance academic programing, experiential learning, and research; recruit and retain world class faculty; and foster industry engagement.

The board approved resolutions to reappoint Rosemary Blieszner, professor of human development and family science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and current interim dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Y.A. Liu, professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, as Alumni Distinguished Professors. The Alumni Distinguished Professorship is a preeminent faculty appointment recognizing those who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments across all three of Virginia Tech’s core mission areas of teaching, research or creative activity, and engagement. Those honored hold the title for a 10-year period.

Individual articles on Blieszner and Liu will be published on the VTx website next week.

In other news, Juan Espinoza, associate vice provost for enrollment management, and University Registrar Rick Sparks updated the board on the university’s continuation of test-optional undergraduate admissions. All public institutions in Virginia are currently test-optional, and more than 1,800 colleges nationwide do not require SAT or ACT scores for admission. Virginia Tech will continue to assess the impact of test-optional admissions and will do so through the spring of 2025.

The board approved faculty promotion, tenure, and continued appointments for 2022. The complete list is published on the VTx website.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, board members received several other reports and updates, including those on the future of work, graduate education, the Innovation Campus, campus construction costs, current issues in intercollegiate athletics, undergraduate mathematics education, InclusiveVT, and the structure of board of visitors committees.

In addition, the board approved the appointment of six faculty members to endowed chairs, professorships, or fellowships, and three faculty members were honored with emeritus status. Stories on each of these individuals will be published on the VTx website later this month.

Long, President Tim Sands, and other board members acknowledged the many contributions of current board members Edward Baine, Mehul Sanghani, Horacio Valeiras, and Preston White, all of whom will conclude four-year terms on June 30. Both Sanghani and Valeiras are completing two consecutive four-year terms, and Valeiras served as board rector from 2019-21.

Undergraduate student representative Paolo Fermin and graduate student representative Phil Miskovic, who will conclude their one-year terms on June 30, were also recognized for their service to the board. Jamal Ross, a senior majoring in political science and politics, philosophy, and economics in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will succeed Fermin as the undergraduate student representative. Anna Buhle, a third-year medical student at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, will succeed Miskovic as the graduate and professional student representative.

Faculty representative Robert Weiss, director of the Center for Coastal Studies, director of Disaster Resilience and Risk Management, and professor of geosciences; administrative and professional faculty representative Holli Drewry, digital content strategist for Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies; and Serena Young, administrative assistant to the University Ombuds, will all return next academic year for a second one-year term on the board.

The board announced its rector and vice rector for the 2022-23 year. Long, who is chair of the board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, will serve a second consecutive term as rector. Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia, will serve a second term as vice rector  subject to his reappointment to the board.

The next scheduled meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Aug. 21-23. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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