Campus has started bustling with activity as the quieter summer comes to a close and thousands of students and faculty make their way back to Blacksburg.

The 2012-13 academic year kicks off with the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 27. Fall commencement ceremonies will be held on Friday, Dec. 21. Spring semester starts Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, with spring commencement ceremonies held Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, 2013.

Students will have more educational opportunities than ever as new academic degrees, minors, and programs take root.

  • The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences will offer a new degree. The undergraduate major in religion and culture will open in the spring 2013 semester. Look for more information in an upcoming Virginia Tech News story.
  • The meteorology major – which the College of Natural Resources and Environment began last spring – has exceeded the targeted enrollment numbers. The program estimated a total enrollment of 75 students by 2015-16, but already it has approximately 60 students after just one semester. Four students graduated from the program this past spring after switching from geography or double majoring. The department will offer a meteorology minor starting this fall.
  • The College of Science’s Integrated Science Curriculum program is enrolling approximately 30 freshmen this fall. The program – which uses a problem-based approach to integrate learning in the areas of physics, biology, mathematics, and chemistry – just launched last year, with 11 students continuing into the second year of the curriculum.
  • The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences newest minor is seeing tremendous growth. The civic agriculture and food systems minor started in 2010 and recently graduated its first class of eight students.  The minor that teaches sustainable agriculture now has 44 students from around the university enrolled in the program.
  • The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is expanding its study abroad opportunities for students with the Center for Architecture Sustainability + Art in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The center – modeled after the Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland – has a studio environment and two apartments for visiting faculty. It opened to students this summer.
  • Explore the value of adding a business minor to your academic credentials. Effective fall 2012, students enrolled in any of the six minors in the Pamplin College of Business will have the same, unrestricted access to business classes as business majors. Minors in business diversity, business leadership, real estate, and applied business computing are open to majors throughout the university. The international business minor is available to Pamplin majors only. The general business minor is available only to non-business majors. Learn more at the Business Minors Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pamplin Hall atrium.

Beyond degrees and programs, other academic support areas have new items to note.

  • The Undergraduate Honor System will have a new home on campus. Offices will be moved early in the fall semester to New Hall West, where Student Conduct is already located. The Honor System also is looking for students and faculty members to serve as panel members.
  • The University Honors Program will send approximately 30 students to the Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, for the Presidential Global Scholars program in the spring semester, after a successful launch last year. Applications are being accepted.
  • The university’s newest living-learning community opens for the fall semester. The Residential College at West Ambler Johnston will house around 800 students, open to students from all years and majors.
  • Also opening for the fall semester, the inVenTs living-learning community is open to students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math programs, also referred to as STEM. The community will offer programming, activities, mentorship, and more through collaboration of the College of Engineering and College of Science.
  • Lavery Hall will feature six new classrooms on the third floor, seating between 50 and 75 students each. The rooms have instructional technology and flexible furnishings to support a variety of courses and class formats. The space also includes a small informal study area and group meeting room.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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