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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2008 / 08 

New human resources policies, master of fine arts program among issues adopted by Board of Visitors

August 25, 2008

Virginia Tech Board of Visitors
Virginia Tech Board of Visitors

At today's Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting, the board acted upon several resolutions, including the approval of new human resources policies following the passage of the Virginia Higher Education Restructuring Act by the Virginia General Assembly in 2005.

The board approved resolutions that define policy changes for university staff. The new policies for university staff (staff employees hired on or after July 1, 2006) are effective Oct. 1, 2008, and will be implemented in January 2009. The resolution is highlighted by a new performance management system that will be used for both university and classified staff; however only university staff members will participate in a new merit pay program.

In addition to the resolution regarding university staff, the board approved a resolution to redefine administrative and professional positions and to allow eligible staff in pay bands 5, 6, and 7 to convert to administrative and professional (A/P) status. More information on the recently approved resolutions regarding human resource restructuring and the upcoming enrollment period may be found on the Office of Human Resources website or by calling Human Resources at (540) 231-9331. Read a related notice on the coming changes.

On the subject of university research, Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger shared good news with the board. Fueled by a 14 percent growth in sponsored research activity, Virginia Tech vaulted from 54th to 42nd in the National Science Foundation rankings for fiscal year 2007, which were released last week. For universities without a medical school, Virginia Tech ranked ninth in the nation.

“I am incredibly proud of our faculty and their commitment to discovery and scholarship,” said Steger.

At the Academic Affairs Committee meeting, Kevin McDonald, vice president for equity and inclusion, provided an update on the implementation of recommendations put forth by the Task Force on Race and the Institution. Earlier this year, the implementation team reviewed the report completed in spring 2007 and recommended several enhancements and new initiatives to address issues of race across all levels of the university, including those for faculty, staff, students, alumni, the curriculum, and administrative infrastructure. The report of the implementation team is posted on the Provost's website.

The board approved a new Master of Fine Arts degree program in Creative Technologies. The 60-credit terminal degree program will focus on two areas: interactive new media and design, and digital fabrication and imaging. The degree will be offered by the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and will draw on collaborations with computer science, engineering, science, and the humanities.

The Buildings and Grounds committee reviewed preliminary architectural designs for three future university construction projects: the Virginia Tech - Carilion School of Medicine and the Virginia Tech – Carilion Medical Research Institute, to be located one mile south of downtown Roanoke, and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) addition and the new parking structure, both located on the Blacksburg campus.

The Virginia Tech - Carilion School of Medicine Research Institute project will be a four-level facility of approximately 154,000-square feet with the school of medicine and the research institute occupying separate wings joined by a three-story central atrium. The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute addition is planned as a 50,000-gross-square foot office and conference center with a small cafe, and the predominate exterior materials include Hokie Stone, precast concrete, glass, and metal. The parking structure is a ground plus four-level, 1,350-space, precast, open structure which will be accessible from both Perry Street and Prices Ford Road. The design concept takes advantage of existing topography and provides an attractive, functional, and durable facility.

University Architect Scott Hurst briefed the Building and Grounds committee on the development of a new process to define and assess programmatic space needs for academic and administrative units.

The board approved the designation of two endowed professor fellowships in the College of Engineering: Maury Nussbaum was named the Hal G. Prillaman Professor Fellow of Engineering and Operations Research, and Kostas Triantis was named the Ralph H. Bogle Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Fellow. Barbara G. Ryder, professor and head of the Department of Computer Science, was named the J. Byron Maupin Professor. Four faculty and campus administrators were honored with emeritus status.

The next regular quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held Nov. 2-3, 2008, on the Blacksburg campus.