Three departments honored with 2017 University Exemplary Department Awards

Students work in a lab in Geosciences
Students work in the paleontology preparation lab in the Department of Geosciences. That department joined the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management and the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials as recipients of the 2017 University Exemplary Department or Program Award.

From: Office of Executive Vice President and Provost, and Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research

Virginia Tech is honoring three academic departments with its 2017 University Exemplary Department or Program Award.

The Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management; Department of Geosciences; and Department of Sustainable Biomaterials each earned distinction for their efforts and achievement in maintaining exemplary teaching and learning environments for students and faculty. Specifically, the 2017 University Department or Program Award recognized the departments’ effectiveness in engaging students in hands-on, minds-on instructional environments.

Exemplary Department award
Julia Beamish, chair of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, accepts the 2017 Exemplary Department Award from Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost.

The Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and the broader community by creating and extending knowledge in consumer studies, fashion merchandising and design, property management, residential environments and design, and family and consumer sciences. Aligned with university goals and initiatives, the department’s programs focus on major content areas with a breadth of understanding of the content from various perspectives, including the sciences, design, humanities, social sciences and quantitative and computational thinking.

Exemplary Department award
Steve Holbrook, head of the Department of Geosciences, accepts the 2017 Exemplary Department Award from Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost.

The Department of Geosciences in the College of Science focuses on research, education and outreach focused on Earth processes at scales that range from atomic to planetary. The study of the Earth spans a wide spectrum of activities, from the hands-on exploration of a field site, gathering of samples, and measuring chemical and physical properties in the laboratory to the minds-on activities of data analysis, computer modeling, interpretation, presentation and publication. These activities are embedded in the Department of Geosciences’ undergraduate curriculum, taught to graduate students through advanced courses and mentoring, and shared with the public through outreach and engagement, including at the popular Museum of Geosciences.

Exemplary Department award
Bob Smith, head of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, accepts the 2017 Exemplary Department Award from Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost.

The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, which resides in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, is considered one of the top programs of its kind in the world, and is internationally recognized for its research and placement of graduates in leadership positions in many natural resource-based government, industry and academic organizations. The department is providing numerous and varied opportunities for undergraduate students to receive hands-on and minds-on training, experience, and practice from faculty who are supported in their efforts to improve student experiences in both traditional delivery and through the development of new content and methods.

Presented annually since 1994, the University Exemplary Department or Program Award was developed as a part of Virginia Tech's Faculty Rewards Project, which sought to clarify the expectations of faculty and define appropriate rewards for their accomplishments.  The annual awards program is supported by the Office of the Provost and facilitated by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER).

A reception took place on Feb. 8, 2018 to honor the award recipients. The award selection committee has selected “Working Beyond Department/Program Boundaries to Collaboratively Achieve Student Learning Goals” as the theme for the 2018 program.

For more information on CIDER or the University Department or Program Awards, contact Tiffany J. Shoop at 540-231-0785 or tshoop@vt.edu.