At the quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors held Sunday and today, resolutions on three new Bachelor of Science degree programs were approved, underscoring the university’s ongoing commitment to enhance and define undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

All to be based in the College of Science, the three new degree programs — the Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology, the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nanoscience, and the Bachelor of Science Degree in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics — will  prepare students for interdisciplinary research and education, for employment in the private sector or in state and federal government agencies, and for post-baccalaureate training. These programs will be unique to Virginia and will position Virginia Tech as a national and international leader in these emerging fields.

Pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, students may enroll in these programs beginning this fall. A full story on the three new degree programs will be published Thursday in Virginia Tech News.

The resolutions on the new degree programs are among the hundreds of decisions affirmed by the board during the time Charles W. Steger served as university president.

During today’s full board meeting, Rector Mike Quillen presented a resolution on Steger honoring him for his countless contributions to the Virginia Tech community during his more than 40 year career at the university, the final 14 as university president.

Steger received a standing ovation from board members and other university officials attending the meeting.

In other business, the Buildings and Ground Committee approved the final design for a new classroom building to be located on the corner of Perry Street and West Campus Drive adjacent to Derring Hall and Hahn Hall North. The 73,000 gross square feet, three-story building will contain 15 classrooms and four laboratories. 

The building is expected to cost approximately $42.5 million and construction is likely to begin in 2015.

The committee also approved the design of the Indoor Athletic Practice Facility to be located on existing football practice field between Lane Stadium and the Football Locker Room Facility. Construction on the 85,000-gross-square-foot building is scheduled to begin later this fall. The $21.5 million project will be paid for with private funding.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee also approved designs for a new Virginia Tech Rescue Squad Vehicle Garage to be located at the corner of Barger and Stanger streets, and for the new Marching Virginians Practice Facility to be located near Chicken Hill. Both these projects will begin construction later this year.

The board approved a resolution establishing compensation for graduate assistants for the 2014-15 academic year. Virginia Tech will advance the stipend scale by providing a base stipend increase of 2 percent. In addition, graduate and teaching assistants will receive an academic year supplement of $400, an increase of $100 from previous years, to offset the cost of mandatory university fees. The university will continue to pay 90 percent of the annual premium cost of the basic health insurance plan.

On Monday afternoon, the board announced the selection of the 2014-15 student representatives. T. Austin Larrowe of Woodlawn, Va., a junior majoring in agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was named the undergraduate student representative. S. Ashley Francis of Blacksburg, Va., a master's degree student in the Public Health program in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, will be the graduate student representative. 

Both will serve a one-year term beginning July 1, 2014. A full story on the new student representatives will appear in Virginia Tech News on Wednesday.

At the Academic Affairs Committee meeting, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Rachel Holloway gave a report on student athlete academic achievement at the university. Of the 512 student athletes competing on 21 intercollegiate teams last year, 48 percent achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The six-year graduation rate for all student athletes was 73 percent, compared to 83 percent of all students in the same period of time (2006 to 2012).

Also on Monday, Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo and members of her staff presented reports to the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee on the Virginia Tech Student Experience Task Force, the Task Force for a Healthier Virginia Tech Community, and on Fostering Globalization at Virginia Tech.

On Sunday, the Research Committee received a report from Jon Greene, associate director for strategic planning and development at the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences, on the university’s membership in the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. Virginia Tech was chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration to lead one of only six elite test sites in the United States that will help integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. The unmanned aircraft industry is expected to generate more than $500 million in the commonwealth by the end of the decade.

Virginia Tech’s proposal was picked after a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states. A complete story on the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership will be published Tuesday in Virginia Tech News.

The board approved resolutions appointing six faculty members to endowed professorships, and five additional faculty members were honored with emeritus status. Individual stories on each of these appointments and honors will be published in Virginia Tech News beginning Wednesday, March 26.

Because the state budget had not yet been finalized as of this meeting, the board of visitors will schedule an additional meeting later this spring to consider tuition and fees for the 2014-15 academic year. The date, time, and location of this meeting will be announced in Virginia Tech News.

The next regularly scheduled full meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held June 1 and 2 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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