The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors met June 7 for its quarterly meeting and took action on many items, including a new academic degree program and the 2004-05 university budget.

The board approved the creation of a new Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and offered through the Department of English. Planning continues while the university seeks approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The department hopes to enroll the first class in 2005.

The board approved the 2004-05 fiscal year operating budget of $762.6 million. For the first time in several years, the operating divisions will see an increase. The University Division budget moves from $349.3 million to $370 million, and the Cooperative Extension/Agriculture Experiment Station budget moves from $66.3 million to $71 million.

President Charles Steger told the board that new funding from additional state appropriations and tuition increases will enable the university to extend as many as 80 new faculty lines in the coming fiscal year.

The board also approved the creation of clinical track faculty ranks within the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The new ranks will give the college greater flexibility in hiring faculty who teach, conduct research, and work in the teaching hospital.

Four university professors and administrators were honored with emeritus or emerita status. The promotions of more than 60 faculty members were approved.

In its final action, the board adopted officers for the coming academic year electing Ben Davenport, '64, of Danville, as rector and Jacob Lutz, '78, of Richmond, as vice-rector.

Full details of board materials and actions can be viewed online at The next Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be Aug. 22-23.