On July 1, Virginia Tech begins operation under provisions of the "Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act." Fundamentally, this effort stems from our belief that we can operate more effectively and efficiently with a greater degree of authority and autonomy than we had as a regular state agency.

Our mission, our focus, and our commitment to our stakeholders will not change. What has changed is our ability to control our future and manage normal operations. We expect that we can improve the overall educational experience of our students, make greater progress toward institutional goals, and improve the quality of your work experience.

On the Higher Education Restructuring website you will find an overview of the new authorities the university gained from the state for capital projects, finance and operations, human resources, information technology, leases, and procurement. We have tried to address questions you might have and also tried to look into the future and describe some of the employee involvement processes we are developing for human resource management.

To quickly summarize, Virginia Tech remains a state agency, but with some special authorities. We all remain state employees. There will be no change from current programs for health insurance, retirement plans, worker compensation, or the grievance process for any staff employee. Nothing changes for classified staff employees for human resource (HR) practices; you remain under the province of the state Department of Human Resources.

Editor's note: Information on human resources issues can be found here.

Any employee hired on or after July 1 will be a university staff employee whose human resource policies are under the province of the university board of visitors, similar to the status of university faculty. Initially, the HR practices governing university staff employees will be identical to classified staff policies, with minor revisions, but they will change over time with input from the staff. Classified staff will have periodic opportunities to convert to university staff.

I encourage you to read the information on this website in its entirety, and come to know how we can use these new authorities to improve the Virginia Tech experience for our students, our stakeholders, and for all employees.

-- Charles W. Steger, President

Editor's note: A campus newsletter published by the Office of University Relation containing information from the Higher Education Restructuring website will be distributed to all university employees via campus mail this week.

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