At its regular quarterly meeting held today on campus, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors took action on several resolutions. Among them was to amend the board bylaws so that the president of the university’s Staff Senate be invited to join the board in equal standing with the president of the Faculty Senate, and the undergraduate and graduate student representatives.

Virginia Tech is the first university in the commonwealth to have a staff representative.

The staff representative will sit with the board in open session and, when recognized by the rector, speak on matters relevant to university staff. The staff representative may sit with any committee in open session and provide input into committee resolutions.

”The establishment of a staff representative will give voice to an extremely vital campus constituency,” noted President Charles W. Steger. “In the coming months, the university will address many issues that impact our employees as a result the of the Higher Education Restructuring Act, and this voice will have great importance as our community moves forward.”

The current president of Staff Senate is Jean Brickey, administrative and program specialist in University Libraries.

The board also approved a resolution to adopt the “Policy on University Textbook Sales” which will help minimize the cost of textbooks for students. The new policy represents practices implemented for many years by the Virginia Tech Bookstores, but now required by recent action by the Virginia General Assembly.

A resolution to approve a university debt policy brought forth by the Finance and Audit Committee was also approved by the full board. The new debt policy will help the university lower costs, manage risks, and increase its debt capacity.

“Because our strategic plan calls for an aggressive capital building program, and because those buildings will be constructed with a mix of both state funds and private gifts, long term bonds will be necessary to finance the many projects we propose,” said James A. Hyatt, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This new debt policy, which addresses the criteria for issuing debt and the facts to consider when evaluating the capital structure of the university, will help us maintain our strong bond rating and enable us to meet the goals set forth in the university’s revised strategic plan approved by the board in June 2006.”

The board also approved budget amendment requests for the 2007 Virginia executive budget. Among those requests was $10 million in General Fund Support to close the current $37 million gap in base budget adequacy. In addition, $23 million will be sought to replace Davidson Hall among other capital projects.

The board approved the designation of endowed professorships to two College of Engineering professors and one in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Ge Wang was appointed the Samuel Reynolds Pritchard Professor of Engineering, David Dillard was named the Adhesives and Sealant Professor in Engineering Science and Mechanics, and Fred D’Aguiar was named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies. Five professors were honored with emeritus status.

The next regular quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Nov. 5-6, 2006 on the Virginia Tech campus.

==> Please note: Board minutes, resolutions, and other background information may be found at the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors website.