Jennifer Irish named Virginia Tech’s Faculty Athletics Representative
Jennifer Irish has been named Virginia Tech’s Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). Irish, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been a member of the university faculty since 2011.
As FAR, Irish represents the faculty in Virginia Tech’s relationship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). She also monitors the personal and academic well-being of students and ensures they meet NCAA eligibility requirements to practice, receive financial aid, and engage in intercollegiate competition.
"I’m honored to have this opportunity to support our student-athletes during this time of change in intercollegiate athletics,” Irish said. “As a former student-athlete, I appreciate that these young people are special — they’re not only Virginia Tech students, they’re Virginia Tech students with outstanding skills in perseverance, teamwork, time-management, among many other qualities. I look forward to representing our faculty and working with the administration, athletics department, the ACC and the NCAA in support of maximizing the life success of these exceptional young people."
As FAR, Irish is the senior faculty advisor on athletics to the president of the university.
“I appreciate Dr. Irish’s willingness to serve in this key role,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, who appointed Irish to the position. “Athletics is an important part of our university in so many ways, and we are deeply committed to the educational and personal well-being of our student athletes and our program’s compliance with NCAA and ACC legislation and policies.”
The FAR also creates a channel of information between the faculty, administration, and athletics, serving as an ex-officio member of the University Athletic Committee, and meeting regularly with the director of Athletics and the Athletics Compliance Office.
“On behalf of Virginia Tech Athletics, we congratulate Dr. Irish on her appointment,” said Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock. “Her impressive body of work includes a distinguished, decade-long tenure in the university’s College of Engineering, and we look forward to working with her in this new role as a liaison between Athletics and the academic community. We also salute her predecessor, Dr. Joseph Tront, who served as a valued and trusted resource as our faculty athletics representative since 2014. We have many fond memories from Joe’s time in that role and appreciate his dedicated service.”
Susan E. Short, who led the search as chair of the Virginia Tech Athletics Committee, said the review committee was impressed by the number of faculty members who expressed interest in serving the university in this leadership role.
“Dr. Irish’s background as a former collegiate athlete mixed with her accomplishments in teaching, research, and service uniquely position her to serve as Faculty Athletics Representative,” Short said. “She clearly articulated a thorough understanding of university athletics and the role of a student-athlete."
Virginia Tech’s Faculty Athletics Representative is appointed through a nomination and selection process that is open to any tenure-track faculty member who has been employed by the university for at least five years.