Virginia Tech heightened the web presence of its destination area initiative today, transitioning toward a more functional site where faculty can view information or make comments.

Destination areas reflect the difficult problems identified in the world beyond Virginia Tech’s campus and provide the mechanism to coordinate efforts — not just within the university, but with companies, businesses, and philanthropists — to improve the human condition.

Faculty members have worked in steering committees and in town hall meetings — the latest on Tuesday involved Integrative Security — to determine opportunities for Virginia Tech to confront and solve difficult problems facing the state and world. The focus will help shape curriculum and prepare students to be the next generation of leaders and doers.

The new website will help faculty members further sharpen the destination area summaries. As the effort moves forward, new functionality will be added to help faculty upload narrative statements, share ideas, and identify new colleagues.

“This is all about making connections,” said Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation. “Our continuing goal is to create tools to help faculty work together. This initial effort will help people share ideas, but within a short time we expect to supply a site that is much more interactive to match faculty from across the university and create new synergies.”

The new destination area pages may be accessed through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost’s website. The prominent link will take people to a destination area overview. Faculty will have an opportunity to click on a “join the conversation” link to make comments and discover additional material.

Five destination areas were developed by faculty steering committees during the spring semester and vetted before agency and industry leaders during a workshop in the National Capital Region.

Additional town hall meetings with faculty were held to further refine the destination area descriptions. As the destination areas evolve, faculty members will align with college priorities and engage in research programs, curriculum development, and instruction.

On Tuesday, after hearing an introduction by Mayer with Karen DePauw, vice president and dean of graduate education, and Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs, faculty members brainstormed Integrative Security concepts.

Charles Clancy, director of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, provided a brief overview of the steering committee effort so far, including key Virginia Tech differentiators in areas such as such as critical transportation and energy system protection, cybersecurity technology and governance, defense technology and strategy, and the developing nexus around social and health systems.

 “Security is a multi-faceted area involving technology, policy, social, and human problems,” Clancy said. “We need to take these needs into account to leverage Virginia Tech strengths across all of these areas.”


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