Jack W. Finney to retire after 34-year career at Virginia Tech
April 9, 2021
After a distinguished career as a professor, faculty advocate, and respected university administrator, Jack W. Finney, vice provost for faculty affairs, has announced that he will retire from Virginia Tech in early December.
Finney shared with Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke and Executive Vice Provost Don Taylor his decision to step away after 34 years serving in the Department of Psychology, the College of Science, and the Provost’s Office.
“Virginia Tech has offered so many opportunities for my professional growth and development since I arrived as a tenure-track assistant professor in the psychology department,” said Finney. “I have been able to move into a succession of positions that provided new challenges, and that career progression has been very satisfying. I am deeply grateful for the many colleagues across the university who have facilitated my success.”
Finney came to Virginia Tech in 1987 from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he began his academic career as assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and pediatrics. At Virginia Tech, Finney quickly distinguished himself and advanced through the ranks to professor of psychology and served as chair of the psychology department from 1996 to 2006.
Through his later service as associate dean for administrative and faculty affairs in the College of Science, Finney led many notable activities, including facilitating cluster hires and delivering workshops related to faculty recruitment, evaluation, and retention to department heads and academic leaders.
In his role as vice provost for faculty affairs, Finney has led and advocated for initiatives related to diversifying and supporting faculty across the university, serving as a primary point of contact concerning faculty personnel issues, and leading the development, implementation, and interpretation of faculty employment policies and faculty development programs. He has also led the university’s promotion and tenure process, the annual faculty merit process, academic leadership development programs, and the dissemination of COACHE and university survey results. Finney is also one of the founding members of the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Advisory Committee on Faculty Affairs, a national group of university leaders who are developing a community of practice for faculty affairs work.
“Jack has served as a trusted and wise advisor to several provosts during his distinguished appointment as vice provost for faculty affairs,” said Clarke. “I will miss his guidance, sound judgment, and strong support for faculty. His knowledge, experience, and dedication to advancing faculty have elevated Virginia Tech’s academic enterprise and its reputation among our peers. I congratulate Jack on his retirement and thank him for his years of service and immeasurable contributions to our university.”
Throughout his career, Finney has made extensive scholarly contributions to the field of clinical child and pediatric psychology, including more than 80 journal publications and book chapters and two terms as associate editor for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. An elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Finney has served on grant review panels at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has provided professional service and outreach to child psychology clinics, schools, planning commissions, and other universities.
Finney’s academic and leadership accomplishments are equaled only by the significant impact he has had on the lives of numerous Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students. He has served as chair of more than 30 doctoral dissertations, master's theses, and undergraduate honors theses, and is a past recipient of a Certificate of Teaching Excellence. Finney has also made invaluable contributions to advancing faculty diversity and inclusion through his service as a member of the AdvanceVT leadership team and as a member of the InclusiveVT Executive Committee.
“Throughout his career at Virginia Tech, Jack has worked selflessly to support the success of others and advance the university’s mission,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “He played a key role in growing the faculty ranks and fostering the interdisciplinary culture that is essential to our Beyond Boundaries vision. His dedication to the community can be seen in his work and advocacy for accessible, quality child care across the New River Valley. I congratulate Jack on his retirement and want to express my deep gratitude for his years of effective leadership and service.”
Commitment to university service is also a point of distinction for Finney and reflected in his numerous appointments to university commissions and committees. He continues to serve as a member of the Commission on Faculty Affairs and has served as a liaison to the Department Heads Council. Finney made himself readily available to vice presidents, deans, and department heads for consultation and support. He played a major coordinating role in establishing the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and was instrumental in the integration of the school into Virginia Tech in 2018.
As Finney draws the curtain on his outstanding career at Virginia Tech, he and his wife Kathy are still formulating their retirement plans and deciding where the next chapter in their lives will take them.
“For more than three decades, Blacksburg has been our home, where we have lived, worked, raised two sons, and made many friends,” Finney said. “Although we are considering relocating to be closer to our sons, we will always consider the New River Valley home. I hope to give back to Virginia Tech regardless of where we live and the lessons learned from the pandemic suggest I will be able to do so.”
Virginia Tech will soon announce plans for conducting a search to replace Finney as vice provost for faculty affairs. Search committee appointments, position description, application/nomination processes, and search updates will be posted on the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost website.