At a general information session held Sunday afternoon, Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger and other senior administrators provided members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors with an update on the university's 2006-2012 strategic plan.

As the six-year plan reached its half-way point, many performance goals in the scholarship domain were at or above target. Areas of improved performance included the graduate enrollment profile, increased undergraduate minority enrollment, growth in the number of Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s awarded by the university, increases in total research expenses and the number of post-doctoral appointments reported to the National Science Foundation, and increases in the number of undergraduate students taking foreign language courses and engaged in service learning and experiential programs.

On Monday, the board approved a resolution to revise the university's severance policy for eligible faculty and university staff was considered and approved by the board. The previous policy, patterned after the state’s Severance Policy, provided ongoing salary payments for individuals who do not retire, and restricted employment during the period of time when the individual received the severance benefit. The revised policy will provide an additional option for the payment of severance benefits for faculty and university staff and will provide more flexible employment practices following separation from the university.

The board also approved a resolution ratifying the structure of the Virginia Tech Safety and Security Committee. The new administrative structure will better coordinate and further clarify the roles of the university's Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention and Risk Assessment Committee, the Threat Assessment Team, and the University Safety and Security Policy Committee. The Safety and Security Committee serves to integrate the actions and responsibilities of the other three campus safety groups.

Design plans for a new chiller plant that will meet current and future cooling demands for buildings in the southwest quadrant of campus was also approved. Construction on the 18,600-square-foot facility located adjacent to the Duck Pond Road parking lot, commonly known as "The Cage," will begin in mid-2010. The facility will be located so that, in the future, it will be masked by the construction of a future parking garage to be built to serve the western sector of campus.

A new program fee ($3,900 for full-time students, $162.50 per credit hour for part-time students) for the Master of Business Administration program in the Pamplin College of Business was approved. Revenue generated from the new fee will support new services and program enhancements — including career placement services — necessary to recruit top tier students.

In addition, the Finance and Audit Committee heard reports on university debt capacity, performance measures related to the Higher Education Restructuring Act, the 2010-2012 biennial budget, and possible enhancements and changes to the graduate student health insurance program.

The Academic Affairs Committee heard reports on ongoing undergraduate and graduate student enrollment initiatives, faculty mentoring programs, the Common Book project, and the Human Diversity and Community Curriculum initiative which intends to strengthen curricular offerings that enhance learning outcomes related to cultural competencies.

The Student Affairs and Athletics Committee received an update on current and future sustainability projects in university housing and dining programs.

The board honored Donald G. Baird with the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering. Four faculty members from the Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the Pamplin College of Business were honored with fellowships: Sudip Bhattacharjee was named the Konrad W. Kubin Junior Faculty Fellow, France Belanger was named the Tom and Daisy Byrd Senior Faculty Fellow, Greg Jenkins was named the William S. Gay Junior Faculty Fellow, and Weiguo "Patrick" Fan was named the L. Mahlon Harrell Junior Faculty Fellow.

Five individuals were honored with emeritus status.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held March 21-22 on the Blacksburg campus. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.