Virginia Tech has hired a new leader to guide its strategic planning process.

Erin McCann, who is associate director of marketing for academic innovation at the University of Michigan, will be the director of strategic planning at Virginia Tech.

When McCann begins her new role on March 26, she will lead a strategic planning process that began last fall. An advisory group of Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students is working on a strategic planning process to guide the institution’s direction and goals in a variety of areas, from academics and research to student life and campus infrastructure. The new plan will support the university’s Beyond Boundaries vision.

McCann brings to Virginia Tech a plethora of experience in the corporate and higher education fields. Before the University of Michigan, she held marketing, technology, and innovation roles at start-ups and publicly traded companies, including Twitter and Google.

“She has a unique understanding of the business aspects of higher education and the academic aspects,” said Menah Pratt-Clarke, who is vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech.

McCann has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

"I am honored to join Virginia Tech," McCann said. "Virginia Tech's motto, Ut Prosim, resonates deeply with me, and I am thrilled to join the team as Virginia Tech continues to build upon the foundation of the Beyond Boundaries vision for the future."

At Virginia Tech, McCann will develop a continuous strategic planning framework and support large-scale campus initiatives, Pratt-Clarke said.

Last month, Patty Becksted became the new assistant director of strategic planning. Previously, she was lead data warehouse manager for Business Intelligence Services at Virginia Tech.

This spring, the strategic planning advisory committee expects to discuss its work with the campus community.

The following are members of Virginia Tech’s strategic planning advisory committee and subcommittees:

  • Catherine Amelink, director of graduate programs and assessment
  • Jennifer Case, professor and head of the Department of Engineering Education
  • Chelsea Corkins, graduate assistant, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Tom Crawford, professor and chair of the Department of Geography
  • Jeff Earley, associate vice provost for finance
  • Ronald Fricker, professor and head of the Department of Statistics
  • David Guerin, associate vice provost for communications
  • James Harder, project research specialist
  • Kwame Harrison, associate professor of Sociology
  • Steve Holbrook, professor and head of the Department of Geosciences
  • Matthew Holt, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Laura Hungerford, professor and head of the Department of Population Health Sciences
  • Benjamin Jantzen, assistant professor of Philosophy
  • Sylvester Johnson, assistant vice provost for the Humanities
  • Anne Khademian, professor and director of the School of Public and International Affairs
  • Lara Khansa (Chair), associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Pamplin College of Business
  • Benjamin Knapp, director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
  • William Knocke, W.C. English professor and program coordinator in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Brandon Lambert, student, Pamplin College of Business
  • Mercedes Ramirez Fernandez, associate vice provost for Strategic Affairs and Diversity
  • Karen Roberto, University Distinguished Professor, director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, senior fellow in the Center for Gerontology
  • Marcy Schnitzer, assistant provost for Diversity and Strategic Planning
  • Savita Sharma, chief of staff to the Vice President for Finance
  • Angela Simmons, assistant vice president for Student Affairs
  • Tammie Smith, business operations specialist
  • Nick Stone, director of operations for the National Capital Region
  • Paige Talley, student, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Lisa Wilkes, interim vice president for Human Resources
  • Kenneth Wong, associate dean of the Graduate School in the National Capital Region and director of the Northern Virginia Center


  • Mallory Miller, project director for academic resource management
  • Lauren Bulka, associate director of strategic initiatives for National Capital Region operations
  • Vijay Singal, J. Gray Ferguson Professor of Finance
  • Luisa Havens Gerardo, vice provost for enrollment management
  • John Provo, director of the Office of Economic Development
  • Sanjay Raman, associate vice president at the Virginia Tech Research Center
  • Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
  • Chris Barrett, professor and director of the Biocomplexity Institute
  • Loy Van Crowder, executive director of the Office of International Research, Education, and Development
  • Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and Innovation

Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone

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