At today's Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting, the board acted upon several resolutions, including one on a land exchange between the university and Montgomery County to allow for the construction of a new elementary school in the Prices Fork District.

Approximately 20 acres of land south of Prices Fork Road will be given by the university to Montgomery County in exchange for land in the Heth tract that the county will acquire from the Virginia Tech Foundation.

The board also approved the initial phase for a long-range land use plan to relocate some of the university’s agricultural activities. The proposed multi-phase relocation of agriculture research and teaching facilities is a key element of an integrated land use plan for agricultural activities. The board approved a $500,000 planning authorization to plan and design the necessary facilities needed to relocate the non-lactating herd operations from land east of the Route 460 Bypass to Kentland Farm. In time, both the lactating and non-lactating herds would be relocated to Kentland Farm which is a good location for these operations in terms of land capacity and operational efficiencies.

The board also approved a resolution authorizing the design and construction of a central chiller plant that would service the envisioned one million square feet of future development of the Prices Fork area. The total project cost of the centralized chiller plan is $3.8 million.

A resolution supporting a capital project for an addition to the Jamerson Center was also approved. The proposed $18 million addition would support both football and Olympic sports programs.

The Building and Grounds Committee also reviewed preliminary plans for a new, two-story, 17,780-gross-square-foot building that will serve as the Visitors and Undergraduate Admissions Center located at the main campus entryway off Prices Fork Road. Preliminary plans for a new academic and student affairs building with large dining facility, and renovations to Owens and West End Market food court were also reviewed.

A resolution was passed that allows for the creation of “Professor of Practice” ranks for university teachers. This new rank will recognize the valuable contributions that experienced practitioners make to the delivery of instruction and outreach in such field as engineering, building construction, natural resources, architecture, and design. Appointment as an assistant, associate, or full professor of practice will carry no aspect of tenure. The use of such ranks will be at the discretion of the department and faculty. The new rank series is similar to the clinical faculty ranks which are used in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

The board approved a resolution on a new policy that would allow administrative and professional faculty members who teach credit courses to receive overload pay for teaching when it is beyond the scope of their normal administrative duties. A similar policy already exists for staff who teach academic classes.

The Academic Affairs Committee was provided an update on the university’s diversity strategic plan. A priority of the plan is to create intentional academic and co-curricular experiences designed to achieve diversity learning goals for students.

The board approved the designation of two endowed professorships in the College of Engineering. Engineering Science and Mechanics, and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Norman Dowling was named the Frank Maher Professor of Engineering and W. Samuel Easterling was named the Montague-Betts Professorship of Structural Steel Design. Three faculty were honored with emeritus status.

The next regular quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held May 31 and June 1, 2009, on the Blacksburg campus.