Members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors covered a wide range of topics and issues consistent with a university holding a residential, in person fall semester reminiscent of a normal, pre-pandemic term.

Among the topics addressed, board members received a design preview of a new capital construction project that will enhance accessibility, mobility, and safety within the Blacksburg campus’ North Academic District. The construction of two freestanding elevators and supporting structures will enable a more accessible route to and from the Perry Street region, across a corridor that navigates multiple elevations and building locations, including Bishop-Favrao Hall, Cowgill Hall, Derring Hall, and Johnston Student Center.

In addition, the board approved a resolution today to increase student meal plan costs for the spring semester. The increase was necessitated by workforce shortage issues which the university addressed with a market alignment for rates of pay necessary to attract and retain Dining Services workers needed to maintain current operations and service quality.

The board also approved a resolution to establish an administrative and professional faculty representative to the board of visitors, effective immediately. Currently, representatives from the faculty, staff, and student body meet regularly with the board. Moving forward, the president of the Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate will be invited to sit with the board in open session and, when recognized by the Rector of the Board, to speak on matters in which they may be able to contribute.

Results from the 2021 campus climate survey were reported at the meeting. All employees, with the exception of undergraduate student employees, were invited to take the survey between April 13 and May 3, 2021. Approximately 3,267 employees responded to the confidential survey. Feedback received revealed that Virginia Tech’s overall campus climate is positive. The survey reports that 79 percent of those responded said they are satisfied with their job, and 80 percent said that people in their department or unit work well together. A full report is available online.

Board members received a proposal to reorganize the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and the Department of Dairy Science and establish a School of Animal Sciences within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The proposed change, pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, would establish one academic unit responsible for the oversight of animal sciences programming in the college. The new school would facilitate efficient management of animal science related programs; ensure collaborations in animal and life science research, education, and extension across the university; and elevate the profile of the college’s animal science programs and research.

At Sunday’s information session, board members received reports on the Innovation Campus, progress toward goals presented in the university’s strategic plan, and an update on undergraduate and graduate student enrollments and financial aid support. During the two-day meeting, board members also received reports on campus sustainability efforts, the university’s new National Security Institute, campus security and crime statistics, and student financial aid resources

The board also approved resolutions honoring six emeritus faculty members and appointing nine faculty members to an endowed fellowships. Individual stories on each person will appear in VTx in the coming weeks.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held April 3-4, 2022 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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