More than 100 faculty members joined together at the Graduate Life Center Monday morning as the effort continued to build university Destination Areas — targeted areas where Virginia Tech can build on established, cross-disciplinary expertise to tackle the “wicked problems” of the 21st century.
Along with participants in the National Capital Region, faculty members were asked to think about large societal problems – for example, challenges of traffic and energy in emerging cities — and the disciplinary areas they intersect.
By reflecting the difficult problems identified in the world beyond Virginia Tech’s campus, destination areas provide a mechanism to coordinate efforts to improve the human condition and position the university as an important hub for research, scholarship, and learning.
“If we focus our strengths on the right challenges, together with our partners we can solve and answer bigger questions,” said Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation. “We can add to our strengths and create areas where Virginia Tech is truly the leader.”
Faculty members were also briefed on three levels of participation where they could plug into the Destination Area effort.
Monday’s meeting — devoted to Intelligent Infrastructure and Human-Centered Communities — required additional tables and chairs to be brought into the Graduate Life Center’s multipurpose room.
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 brainstormed Destination Area concepts and representatives from each table briefly summarized their discussion to end the meeting.
The next two town hall sessions will be Wednesday in the Graduate Life Center, beginning with Adaptive Brain and Behavior at 10:30 a.m. and Resilient Earth Systems at 1 p.m. Two others, Data and Decisions Sciences and Integrated Security will be held next week. Here is the schedule:
· Adaptive Brain and Behavior Across the Lifespan, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4
· Resilient Earth Systems, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, May 4
· Data and Decision Sciences, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, May 9
· Integrated Security, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 10