Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke have assembled a steering committee to strategically advance the Virginia Tech Global Distinction priority.

The steering committee will examine how Virginia Tech’s investments and policies can advance the priority in alignment with the university’s broader goals. This strategic approach will allow rapid progress in elevating the international prominence of the institution and strengthening our capacity to act as a force for positive change.

Sands and Clarke named Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation, and Don Taylor, executive vice provost, to lead the initiative. Co-chairing the steering committee, Sui and Taylor held their first committee meeting on Jan. 29, engaging stakeholders to present existing efforts and challenges.

“Virginia Tech Global Distinction elevates our role as a leading public research institution seeking solutions to the world’s most important challenges,” Sands said. “I appreciate the commitment of the co-chairs and steering committee to guide us forward as well as the work of the entire university community over the past decade to bring us this far.”

In early 2023, Sands amplified two priorities for the university: making Virginia Tech accessible and affordable for students via Virginia Tech Advantage and becoming a top global research university through Virginia Tech Global Distinction.

As a leading global research university with a land-grant mission, Virginia Tech convenes top talent and partners from around the world to pursue solutions to the most complex challenges in Virginia, the nation, and the world, applying local solutions on a global scale and global solutions on a local scale. Our approach to solutions is transdisciplinary with deep and diverse partnerships rooted in our commitment to our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Achieving this global aspiration also will be reflected in national and global rankings — reference tools often used as measures of excellence for research universities like Virginia Tech. In the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings released in the fall, Virginia Tech placed among the top 20 U.S. public Carnegie Class - Very High Research, land-grant universities.

"The impact of faculty research, scholarship, and service, across all programs and disciplines, is central to elevating Virginia Tech's international reputation and position as a global land-grant institution, and to attracting and retaining talent," said Clarke. "I want to thank the Virginia Tech Global Distinction steering committee members for their time and contributions to this important initiative."

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals also are included in the overall global action plan that asks all countries to address complex, global problems covering aspects of sustainability such as health and well-being, equality, clean water, and climate change. Virginia Tech ranked No. 92 in the world in the latest Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Virginia Tech Global Distinction steering committee members include:

  • Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation, co-chair
  • Don Taylor, executive vice provost, co-chair
  • Catherine Amelink, associate vice provost
  • Debbie Day, associate vice president of presidential priorities
  • Jeff Earley, vice provost for academic resource management
  • Ron Fricker, vice provost for faculty affairs
  • Guru Ghosh, vice president for outreach and international affairs
  • Randy Heflin, senior associate vice president for research and innovation
  • Tim Hodge, associate vice president for budget and financial planning
  • Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs  
  • Joe Merola, professor of chemistry and president of faculty senate
  • Rachel Miles, research Impact coordinator and operations officer for faculty senate
  • Mallory Miller, project director for academic resource management
  • Laurel Miner, assistant vice president and chief of staff for research and innovation 
  • Eric Paterson, executive director of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute
  • Kevin Pitts, dean of the College of Science 
  • Menah Pratt, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity
  • Brennan Shepard, chief of staff for university operations
  • Aimée Surprenant, dean of the Graduate School
  • Tracy Vosburgh, vice president of communications and marketing
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