At the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting held Monday in Roanoke, board members approved a resolution to implement at the university Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Order Twelve (2018), Parental Leave for Commonwealth Employees, signed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in June.

The passage of the resolution will lead to enhancements in the university’s leave benefits to include eight weeks of paid parental leave to eligible salaried employees following the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child younger than 18 years of age. Employees can use paid parental leave in addition to other leave benefits offered by Virginia Tech.

An in-depth story on this development is found on Virginia Tech Daily.

Board members accepted two design reviews, providing the authorization for both projects to continue forward consistent with the design drawings.

The first project, the Livestock and Poultry Research Facilities (Phase I), will enhance spaces used by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for its poultry, swine, equine, and beef cattle teaching and research programs. Because several existing buildings are beyond their useful life, the $22.1 million project will improve 14 facilities through renovation and new construction located at the Plantation Road Corridor, Smithfield Horse Center, Kentland Farm, and the Glade Road Poultry Research Center.

The second project, the $16.6 million Student-Athlete Performance Center, will create a 200-seat nutrition center in Jamerson Athletics Center. The approximately 25,500-gross-square-foot renovation and new construction project, supported by private philanthropy, will provide a competitive advantage for athletics through meal offerings that provide performance-based nutrition. The center will serve student athletes in close proximity to their training and performance spaces, foster inter-team community, support athletic performance, and offer a flexible meeting and event space for related uses.

During the Academic, Research, and Student Affairs Committee meeting, Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo gave a presentation on students’ experiences and perceptions as measured by the recent Gallup survey. Mike Friedlander, vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, provided board members with an overview of the latest initiatives at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and other related health sciences and technology projects.

At Sunday’s open information session, Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs, provided board members with an update on the university’s strategic plan. During the current academic year, faculty, staff, and students will work to define a strategic planning process to guide the institution’s direction and goals and support the university’s Beyond Boundaries vision. The goal is to produce the framework of a draft strategic plan by next summer.

Also on Sunday, Vice President for Research and Innovation Theresa Mayer and Charles Clancy, director of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology, provided an overview of the recently launched Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. The initiative will engage all public institutions of higher education in the state to build an ecosystem of cyber-related research, education, and engagement to position Virginia as a world leader in cybersecurity at the confluence with data analytics, machine learning, and autonomous systems.

On Monday, the board approved a resolution to direct the university, through the vice president for human resources, to implement a university succession management program. The Division of Human Resources, through its HR Transformation Initiative, has developed a conceptual framework for a university succession management program. Work will continue to refine program components toward program implementation.

On Monday, the board passed a resolution to honor U.S. Navy Ensign Sarah Mitchell, a 2017 graduate of Virginia Tech and member of the Corps of Cadets. In July, Mitchell lost her life during training exercises in the Red Sea.

The board approved resolutions honoring 10 emeritus or emerita faculty members as well as the appointment of three faculty members to endowed professorships or fellowships. In addition, nine reappointments to endowed professorships or fellowship were also announced. Stories on each person will appear in Virginia Tech News beginning Aug. 29.

During the three day meeting, board members visited and toured Virginia Tech facilities and programs located in the greater Roanoke Valley, including the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Center, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, and the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Nov. 4 and 5 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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