At its quarterly meeting today, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved creation of a new M.A. in Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. The new degree program spins off from the popular graduate option in the Department of English. The new program will offer students advanced study in public and mass communication research. The 36-hour program is expected to enroll 12-16 students annually.

The board approved the university's 2004-06 appropriations request for the upcoming biennium. The proposal is structured around requests for bioinformatics, base budget adequacy, operation and maintenance of new facilities, Extension critical staffing needs, and the Food, Nutrition, and Health initiative. Base adequacy funding request (the term used to address the state's chronic underfunding of higher education) will address instructional support, information technology, academic initiatives, and infrastructure and support costs. The university requests $20.4 million in FY05 increasing to $33.9 million in FY06.

The board voted to proceed with the Lane Stadium West Side expansion. This $52.5 million project 580 indoor club seats, 1,650 outdoor premium seats, 23 suites, a new president's box, and a new press box. Private donations of $15 million are included in the financial plan. The balance of the project will be from self generated revenue. Work will begin at this season's conclusion with completion is set for the fall 2005 season.

The full board considered recommendations from an ad-hoc committee on by-laws, which recommends that a minimum of three working days be given board members to review amendments or additions to agenda items for its meetings. They also formalized with by-law language the standard practice of mailing board materials 10 or more working days prior to a meeting. It also plans to change other language in the bylaws to coincide with language in the Code of Virginia. The board will take action on these revisions in November.

[Editor's note: Meeting minutes of the board are now posted on the university website under Administration/Board of Visitors.]

The board approved the appointment of two endowed professorships. Cliff T. Ragsdale, has been appointed to The Bank of America Professorship of Information Technology, in the Pamplin College of Business. Michael S. Lieb, has been appointed to the C.R. Roberts Endowed Professorship of Clinical Veterinary Medicine in the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.