At the president’s State of the University address last week, Senior Vice President Dwayne Pinkney shared his vision for operational excellence and has begun the transition to implement the institutional excellence plan that will create a best-in-class operation to serve the bold ambitions and needs of Virginia Tech.

This implementation follows a yearlong review of university operations and administrative functions and services. “If Virginia Tech is truly committed to achieving President Sands’ ambitious Beyond Boundaries vision, it is essential we effectively manage the financial and operational resources necessary to achieve that vision,” said Pinkney. “We must ensure the university continues to grow and build capacity to support our aspirations for transdisciplinary teaching, learning, research, and engagement in Blacksburg; the greater Washington, D.C., metro area; Roanoke; and locations across Virginia.

“I’ve spent the past year getting to know the individuals who support the university’s operations and vision — those in financial affairs, human resources, planning and facilities management, policy and governance, safety and security, information technology, business affairs, and equity and accessibility,” said Pinkney. “I have come to really appreciate their talent and commitment to the university and its mission. They are the glue that holds everything together.”

Pinkney said the goal of institutional excellence is to align that quality work with the university’s strategic priorities in the most effective way possible. 

Dwayne Pinkney shakes hands with President Tim Sands
President Tim Sands invited Pinkney to speak about organizational plans for Virginia Tech during the State of the University in early September. (Photo by Dan Mirolli)

“We’re working to eliminate the barriers, unnecessary workflows, and redundant efforts that can develop in any large, complex organization,” said Pinkney. “We want to be agile and responsive and have a mindset that embraces continuous improvement. We want to make it easier for all employees to successfully do the work they came here to do.”

Pinkney added that Virginia Tech is working to establish a strong, efficient, and sustainable financial structure that will support the university’s vision for growth across the commonwealth in collaboration with partners in government, industry, and philanthropy.

Pinkney will also serve as the university’s chief business officer. Following the earlier announcement of Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Dwight Shelton’s retirement, Pinkney’s role has expanded to include oversight for the Division of Information Technology and the Division of Finance.

Other organizational changes to support the institutional excellence plan to align with the Beyond Boundaries vision planned for an Oct. 1 transition include:

  • A new position — vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities — will be created, and a nationwide search will begin immediately. This role will be critical to manage the university’s ambitious capital project plan, aging infrastructure, and campus growth in Blacksburg; the Washington, D.C., area; and Roanoke.
  • Virginia Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust has accepted a new role for the university to serve as the associate vice president for campus safety and security. He will report to Pinkney. In this newly created role, Foust will oversee Virginia Tech Police, the Office of Emergency Management, the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety Services, the Threat Assessment Team, and all Clery Act requirements.
  • Deputy Police Chief Mac Babb will become police chief and report to Foust. A search will be announced to replace the deputy police chief.
  • Ken Miller, assistant vice president for finance and university controller, will serve as interim vice president for finance until the search for that position is completed. A national search is underway for a vice president for finance. It is anticipated this position will be filled in early 2020.

“Virginia Tech is a great place to live, work, study, and learn, and I believe we can make it even better,” Pinkney said. “Our goal is to be best in class, and I have great confidence in the ability of our employees and our leadership to make that happen.”

More information on the path to institutional excellence can be found on the Operations and Administration website. Future announcements and transitions will be shared through campus notices, online on the division website, and through open division-wide town halls.

“As I’ve said many times before, our employees are our greatest asset,” Pinkney said. “Their commitment to Virginia Tech is unsurpassed, and together we can advance the programs and services we provide to campus and be recognized as the best in class."

Additional information regarding the institutional excellence efforts will be shared in various forums throughout the fall. Stay tuned to VT News and look for updates on the Operations and Administration website.