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Board of Visitors approves new bachelor’s degree in public health; takes next step to acquire school of medicine

November 6, 2017

Members of the board of visitors watch a presentation of the campus master plan
Members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors watch a demonstration of the campus master plan from the Cube in the Moss Arts Center. The presentation was part of the board's November meeting.

During its quarterly meeting held in Blacksburg today, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors took another significant step in the acquisition of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

That important next step was the approval of a resolution to begin the process necessary to acquire and integrate the school as the ninth college at Virginia Tech, effective July 1, 2018.

Last year, the board affirmed its intent to acquire and integrate the school. Today’s resolution paves the way for the university to notify and seek approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and other accrediting or regulatory bodies that will fully accredit the medical school.

In other actions, the board also approved a resolution to create a new bachelor of science degree program in public health through the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, no Virginia college or university offers an accredited bachelor’s degree program in public health at a time when the undergraduate demand for the degree is high. Virginia Tech currently offers a master of public health degree in the veterinary college, and the new bachelor’s degree program will also be housed there and would be accredited through the Council on Education for Public Health.

Pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the new bachelor of science degree program in public health will begin in the fall of 2018.

Campus planners use screens within the Cube to create an immersive experience.
Campus planners use screens within the Cube to create an immersive experience.

The board also approved a resolution in support of a $63 million Student Wellness Improvements project. Central to this project will be a significant renovation of War Memorial Hall and a smaller renovation to McComas Hall, both intended to address the growing needs for student health services, counseling services, and indoor recreation.

Specifically, the project will include 213,000 gross-square-feet of improvements and expansion to War Memorial Hall and renovations to 19,000 gross-square-feet of McComas Hall. Those improvements will support programs and services offered by Schiffert Health Center, Cook Counseling Center, Hokie Wellness, as well as the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

On Sunday, the Buildings and Grounds Committee received a design review for a new Multi-Modal Transit Facility, a 13,716-gross-square-foot project located near Perry Street in the North Academic District. The facility, which will include 17 covered bus slips, centralize transit transfers, serve multiple modes of alternative transportation, and provide amenities for alternative transportation users, including a bike repair hub. The project, scheduled to be completed by 2020, will be funded through federal grants and matching university investments and will be managed through the Town of Blacksburg.

Board members also received a design review for the Virginia Tech Carilion Biomedical Research Expansion. The project, celebrated in October at a groundbreaking event at the Riverside Center Research Education and Medical Park in Roanoke, will include research and education spaces that bring together researchers and clinicians in areas of human and animal medical sciences with a focus on five thematic areas. Construction will begin early next year and is expected to be completed in 2019.

On Sunday and Monday, during committee sessions, board members received annual reports on campus security, campus safety and preparedness, campus sustainability, university research, and student financial aid resources.

On Monday, Rector Dennis Treacy welcomed Cyril Clarke as the new interim executive vice president and provost and expressed his desire to work with Clarke to implement many new academic initiatives.

The board recognized four current faculty members with new appointments to endowed professorship or fellowships and honored six faculty members with emeritus status. Stories on each of these individuals will be published in Virginia Tech News beginning next week.

The next full meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be March 25-26, 2018, in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors is found online.

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