Faculty academies recognize new inductees for outstanding leadership, service
March 1, 2021
Three Virginia Tech faculty have been recognized for outstanding leadership and service with induction into the Academy of Faculty Leadership and Academy of Faculty Service. Through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the academies honor the exemplary contributions of faculty members of all classifications in formal service roles or in areas of leadership.
John Ferris, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, and Michael Fox, director of the College of Science’s School of Neuroscience and professor with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC (FBRI), earned membership in the Academy of Faculty Leadership. Bob Hicok, professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has earned membership in the Academy of Faculty Service.
“Faculty leadership and service are hallmarks of Virginia Tech and its role and reputation as a global land grant institution,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “The insights and impacts of our faculty have never been more important to our success, and I am grateful for their continued partnership and contributions. I want to congratulate each of the new academy members on this achievement and thank them for the high standards they continue to set for Virginia Tech and their faculty colleagues.”
Hicok’s nomination was based not only on his demonstrable labor influencing the university with his revisions to the faculty handbook, but also on being extraordinarily collaborative and including all stakeholder levels in his reach. His service portfolio includes election and appointment to leadership and membership in university level governance and committees such as the Commission on Faculty Affairs; University Council, Faculty Senate; President’s Committee on Governance; and the University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning among other college and department level committees.
Fox was recommended based on his global impact and his leadership both nationally and within the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute enterprise. He has brought critical leadership to one of the focus areas at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, where he previously served as the director of the institute’s Center for Neurobiology Research and provided mentorship for early career faculty members. He also secured National Institute of Health funding for the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s neuroSURF program, which provides summer training opportunities for undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented populations. He also contributed essential expertise in the planning for Virginia Tech’s School of Neuroscience, of which he was appointed as its second director.
Ferris’ recommendation resulted from his leadership outside of his department and in governance. He is a thoughtful leader of people who work with him in the governance structure and whom he has led through administrative challenges. Though he serves primarily in faculty governance, he has led the Faculty Senate as president, served as faculty representative to the Board of Visitors, co-chaired the President’ Committee on Governance, and led the Total Compensation working group, which supported an increase in minimum pay for staff employees. Ferris has sparked a vision for shared governance at Virginia Tech and developed the social and political capital required to advance a culture of collaborative leadership.
Faculty nominated for membership in the Academy of Faculty Leadership must have shown exemplary leadership in formal or informal roles within the university and through activities and approaches that significantly advance a culture of collaborative leadership. They must also have promoted faculty, staff, and/or student development; advanced program or curricular transformation; and made a notable and demonstrable positive impact within the university community.
Academy of Faculty Service nominees must have successfully completed an elected or appointed term of office in university governance, completed the assignment or set of responsibilities associated with a university-level project, or made commendable service contributions at the university level outside of usual responsibilities and ongoing formal governance roles. They must also have made a notable and demonstrable positive impact on the university as evidenced by the academy nomination statement and letters of support.
The Academy of Faculty Leadership and the Academy of Faculty Service are structured to parallel the academies of Teaching Excellence and Outreach Excellence; members are called upon for representative service to university committees.