The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a $1.66 billion university budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020) at its meeting in Blacksburg on June 3.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the university’s strategic plan, “The Virginia Tech Difference: Advancing Beyond Boundaries."

Led by the Office of Strategic Affairs, the strategic planning process began officially in the fall of 2017 with the formation of several strategic planning committees and continued throughout the 2018-19 academic year. The committees received broad input from the campus community through more than 100 meetings, presentations, round-table discussions, and town hall meetings, as well as regular briefings with the Board of Visitors.

The plan will be adopted immediately with the expectation that it will undergo further adaptation consistent with a process of continual planning. President Tim Sands or his designee will regularly provide a progress report to the board beginning this fall.

The 2019-20 budget represents an increase of $102.2 million, or approximately 6.6 percent, over the adjusted 2018-19 budget.

This budget increase reflects changes in nongeneral fund revenues for 2019-20 and the outcomes of the 2019 General Assembly session that will impact the 2019-20 General Fund appropriation. The overall change includes an increase of $52.4 million attributable to the Educational and General (E&G) program, $12.3 million of projected growth in Auxiliary Enterprises, $32.8 million in financial assistance for E&G programs, $3.0 million in student financial aid, and $1.7 million in all other programs.

The total General Fund allocation is estimated to be approximately $303.0 million, an increase of $36.9 million from the 2018-19 adjusted budget. General Fund revenues will provide $276.7 million in support for the instructional, research, and Extension programs, $23.5 million for student financial assistance, and $2.8 million for the Unique Military Activities program.

The 2019-20 operating budget includes increases in student financial aid, a 2.75 percent faculty merit compensation program, a 2.75 percent university staff merit compensation program, a 5 percent classified staff compensation program, and a 3 percent stipend increase for graduate assistantships.

The board also approved a resolution to establish a new master of engineering in computer science and applications degree program. This program will provide students with in-depth knowledge about software development, the research and development process, communication skills, and ethical issues related to computing technology, with specialty topics, such as software engineering, internet software development, human-computer interaction, data analytics and machine learning, computer security, and artificial intelligence. The degree program provides students the opportunity to complete the degree in one year by eliminating the thesis and requiring a single new three-credit course that satisfies a number of requirements.

The new degree program, which will become a centerpiece of the new Innovation Campus, will be offered in the spring of 2020 pending approval of State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

In other actions, the board approved resolutions authorizing the university to complete three major capital projects on the Blacksburg campus. Those projects include:

  • The Corps Leadership and Military Science Building, an approximately 75,500-gross-square-foot, three-floor structure located in the northern portion of the Upper Quad section of campus, near Lane Hall. The facility will provide a centralized home to the Corps of Cadets and ROTC programs currently dispersed in the north area of campus and will include modern classroom, administrative, program, and academic office space, including academic space for general assignment classroom and the cybersecurity initiative. This project is budgeted at $52 million.
  • The New Upper Quad Residence Hall will add 300 residential beds to accommodate the future growth of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. This project is budgeted at $33 million and includes the demolition of Femoyer Hall.
  • The Global Business and Analytics Complex Residence Halls, which will house 700 students in total. The living-learning communities will support students with a shared interest in analytical problem-solving, global business, and international affairs. Additional features include entrepreneurship laboratories, shared learning spaces, faculty-in-residence apartments, and space for the Cranwell International Center. This project is budgeted at $84 million.

Faculty promotion, tenure, and continued appointments for 2019 were approved by the board. The complete list is published on the Virginia Tech News website.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, board members received several reports and updates, including those on the enrollment surge, the new Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech, the Mental Health Task Force Implementation Plan, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, the Information Technology Master Plan, the Agricultural Research and Extension Centers Facilities Master Plan, Human Resources, the Child Care Task Force, and the ACC Network.

At the Monday afternoon session, Finance and Resource Management Committee chair Horacio Valeiras noted all board members made philanthropic gifts to Virginia Tech at a 100 percent rate for the second consecutive year. Valeiras thanked his colleagues for their support of the university’s vision and work.

Board of Visitors meeting
Dennis Treacy (foreground) and Horacio Valeiras speak with Kim O'Rourke (right) during a meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Valeiras will succeed Treacy as rector for the 2019-20 year.

In addition, the board approved the appointment of five faculty members to endowed chairs, professorships, or fellowships, and three faculty members were honored with emeritus status. Stories on each of these individuals and about those recently reappointed to endowed professorships will be published on the Virginia Tech News website later this month.

Board Rector Dennis Treacy, Sands, and other board members acknowledged the many contributions of current board members Charles T. Hill, Mehmood Kazmi, Robert J. Mills, Jr., and Deborah Petrine, all of whom will conclude four-year terms on June 30.

Undergraduate student representative Rachel Iwicki, graduate student representative Zo Amani, faculty representative John Ferris, and staff representative Robert Sebek will conclude their one-year terms to the board on June 30. Ferris will serve a second one-year term as the faculty representative and Tammie Smith, business operations specialist with the Office of Summer and Winter Sessions, will serve as the new staff representative in the 2019-20 year.

Madelynn Todd, a rising junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will succeed Iwicki as the undergraduate student representative. David “Ryan” King, a doctoral candidate in translational biology, medicine, and health through the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, will succeed Amani as the graduate student representative.

The board announced its rector and vice rector for the 2019-20 year. Horacio Valeiras, chief executive officer and partner of Frontier Global Partners, will serve as rector. Letitia A. Long, chair of the board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, will serve as vice rector.

The next scheduled meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Aug. 25-26. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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