More than 90 people participated in a town hall meeting hosted by the Northern Virginia Steering Committee this week at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.

The committee, led by Dean Julie Ross in her role as a special advisor to President Tim Sands, held the town hall on Sept. 25 to gather input from faculty and staff across the greater Washington, D.C., metro area and provide an update on progress to develop a cohesive vision and organizational plan for Virginia Tech in the region.

Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke charged the committee in February with charting a course for Virginia Tech’s future in the D.C. area. 

Following opening remarks from Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering, attendees participated in breakout sessions led by steering committee members to gather feedback about the attributes of programs and activities in the D.C. area that are critical in helping Virginia Tech become a top 100 global university. 

Access to different types of partnerships, diverse expertise and talent, research opportunities, and world-class experiential learning opportunities for students to engage with government, industry, and urban communities were common themes discussed. 

“Growth in the greater D.C. metro area is critical as we define Virginia Tech’s role as a top 100 global university,” Ross said. “Our presence in this vibrant hub serves as a gateway to a world of opportunities. Engaging with colleagues across the region to foster an inclusive process is key in helping to define a future vision where our students, faculty, and researchers are driving innovation to new heights.” 

D.C. area breakout rooms deep in discussion following the Northern Virginia Steering Committee overview.
Breakout sessions led by Northern Virginia Steering Committee members gathered input from attendees on the future vision for Virginia Tech in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. Photo by Craig Newcomb for Virginia Tech.

The steering committee’s scope of work includes 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.

Discussions included an overview of the committee work that is organized into three phases with deliverables and recommendations focused on strategic positions, organizational structure, and operational support for the D.C. area.

Currently in phase two, the committee is looking at the operational needs of the region, budget models, facilities and operating costs, tuition models, transportation, and housing.

“Virginia Tech’s origins in the region have grown from the entrepreneurial efforts of individual research and educational programs. As we scale up our efforts in the region, we recognize the need to provide coordinated support structures that serve our faculty, staff, and students in the area and to facilitate collaboration between Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the greater D.C. area,” said Amy Sebring, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

As the committee continues its work in the year ahead, attendees were encouraged to be part of the conversation by continuing to participate in future town halls, sharing new ideas, and offering feedback at

Ross expressed her appreciation to participants for their feedback and active engagement in this important process as the university looks to build on the success in the region over the last 50 years.

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