Campus planning task force to focus on the student experience
March 3, 2014
Imagine what the Virginia Tech campus will look like in 2035. What will the Virginia Tech residential campus experience look like compared to what it is today?
University Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee, in partnership with Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo, commissioned a task force to spend the next year studying these issues and to make recommendations on enhancing student experiences through physical spaces.
“The community of students, faculty, and staff who gather on campus each year to study, live, and work define the Virginia Tech experience,” McNamee said. “This community occurs in residence halls, classrooms, laboratories, dining halls, student centers, libraries, and outdoor spaces.”
The Virginia Tech Student Experience Task Force will study residential life, student centers, and dining and the role they will play at Virginia Tech in the future. Co-chaired by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Rachel Holloway and Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok, the task force expects to discover ideas to ensure Virginia Tech in 2035 will offer transformational learning experiences that reflect its heritage and help chart its future.
“In an age where efficiency, online education, and credentialing are inviting many into an increasingly crowded higher education marketplace, Virginia Tech holds a distinct advantage because of the experience it offers students who attend the Blacksburg campus,” said Shushok. “We must not only maintain this advantage, but strengthen it. It’s not just what gives us a competitive edge. It’s what makes us Virginia Tech.”
Among the important questions being addressed by the panel:
- Why is the residential nature of Virginia Tech important to our future competitive and educational advantage?
- As we consider a new student center, what are the programmatic needs that must be housed within, and where should it be located?
- How can we plan financially to achieve a bold vision for the facilities that support the Virginia Tech living and learning experience?
Holloway says it’s all about creating the best possible spaces for learning.
“That includes classrooms, laboratories, informal study spaces, residence halls, and all the other places where we come together to learn from one another," says Holloway. "As we look to the future, we want to support and enhance the strong sense of community that distinguishes the Virginia Tech experience.”
Task force member Jason Soileau, assistant vice president in the Office of University Planning, says the physical space needs of students must be woven into the fabric of campus development in a thoughtful and meaningful way. That includes the next campus-wide master plan, which will help establish projected growth trends over the next decade.
“This broad vision will ensure that Virginia Tech maintains its status as one of the premier campus life experiences available, thereby, helping Virginia Tech to maintain its competitive edge for the best students, faculty, and staff on a global scale,” said Soileau.
The 16 member task force, including faculty, students, and staff is expected to begin work immediately. A town hall gathering will take place in December as the panel completes its comprehensive report.