President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke have created a Northern Virginia Steering Committee charged with developing a cohesive vision and organizational plan for Virginia Tech in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

“With the Innovation Campus opening next year, plans moving forward for a smart construction in Falls Church, the growth of the National Security Institute in Arlington, and a growing partnership with Children’s National Hospital, Virginia Tech is growing and flourishing across the greater D.C. metro area,” Clarke said. “Now is the time for us to update the university’s long-term vision, mission, and positioning.”

Julie Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering and a recently appointed special advisor to Sands, will lead the committee to build on the significant work already accomplished in designing the university’s programming and physical footprint in the D.C. area.

“Growth in the greater D.C. metro area is critical as we define Virginia Tech’s role as a top 100 global research university,” Ross said. “We have more than 50 years of growth and accomplishment in Northern Virginia, and I look forward to working closely with the steering committee members as well as with colleagues across all of our operations in the D.C. area through an inclusive process to chart a course for the future.”

In her 5 1/2 years at Virginia Tech, Ross has helped guide university expansion in the D.C. area. She served as chair of the search committee that hired Innovation Campus Executive Director and Vice President Lance Collins. Collins praised the decision to have Ross lead the steering committee.

“Dean Ross is absolutely the right leader for the job. She understands what makes the greater D.C. area unique, and she has expertise and understanding of the university’s aspirations for developing centers of excellence in Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church,” he said. “And, perhaps most importantly, she has a proven record of attracting diverse talent, which reinforces our goal to have the most diverse graduate technology campus in the country.”

The steering committee’s scope will include instructional, research, and outreach missions, with an emphasis on those that will distinctively position Virginia Tech among land-grant universities and leverage the opportunities afforded by operating in the nation’s capital, according to the charge to the group.

Sands and Clarke asked the committee to focus on university-level strategy and sites, including the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington, Innovation Campus in Alexandria, and the redevelopment of Falls Church. Aside from considering employee and student services, it will not consider locations that are college- or research institute-specific such as the Occoquan Monitoring Laboratory, Equine Medical Center, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, or Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s partnership with Children’s National Hospital.

In parallel to the steering committee’s work, the university will continue to implement plans to reorganize administrative staffing in Northern Virginia, relocate faculty and programs housed in Falls Church, and finalize a smart construction center in partnership with HITT construction.

Northern Virginia Steering Committee members include:

  • Julie Ross, dean for the College of Engineering, chair
  • Amy Sebring, executive vice president and chief operating officer 
  • Don Taylor, executive vice provost
  • Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Innovation Campus  
  • Aimee Surprenant, dean for graduate education
  • Roberta "Robin" S. Russell, interim dean for the Pamplin College of Business
  • Laura Belmonte, dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Kevin Pitts, dean for the College of Science
  • Dan Sui, senior vice president and chief research and innovation officer
  • Eric Paterson, executive director of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute
  • Mike Friedlander, vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute 
  • Chris Yianilos, vice president for government community relations
  • Shannon Andrea, director of media relations and D.C. area communications

Additional designees will be added as work continues at the end of the steering committee.

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