Board of visitors discusses several items at November meeting

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 3, 2008 – At today's Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting, the board acted upon several resolutions, including a policy on faculty compensation for those who will be involved with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

The new policy establishes appropriate mechanisms for compensation and authorizes secondary (or adjunct-like) appointments with the medical school for Virginia Tech faculty members who voluntarily seek such involvement. This will allow the new medical school to draw upon expertise available from the university to deliver aspects of the curriculum and oversee student research projects. This is essentially the same process currently used for sponsored research.

Dwight Shelton, Virginia Tech’s chief financial officer, and Raymond Smoot, Virginia Tech Foundation chief operating officer, briefed the board on the status of the planned 144,000-square-foot research-focused facility in Arlington, Va., to be built by the Virginia Tech Foundation. The board reaffirmed its support for the project, and the foundation still plans to move forward with construction in early 2009.

“The project was slightly delayed because of uncertainties in the credit markets,” said Smoot. “We are hopeful that the recent action by the federal government will return stability to credit markets and our Arlington project will remain on track to install the first tenants by early 2011.”

Shelton also provided the board with an update on anticipated state reductions in general fund support for 2008-10. To plan for reductions, the university will follow a two step process. First, the university asked the campus to plan for a 1.5 percent, one-time reversion in 2008-09. The second stage of the process focuses on developing strategies to align the university’s base budgets in 2009-10 with the reduction to be announced by Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine.

This is the second reduction of state appropriations this year, resulting in $24.8 million less in state support than plan for this year.

At the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee meeting, members approved a special resolution honoring the life and accomplishments of Zenobia Lawrence Hikes, Virginia Tech’s vice president for student affairs who passed away Oct. 27.

At the Academic Affairs Committee, Kevin McDonald, vice president for equity and inclusion, provided an update on the Diversity Strategic Plan. The plan was revised to reflect an emphasis on inclusive excellence. The plan focuses on advancing inclusive excellence in access and success, campus climate and intergroup relations, education and scholarship and institutional infrastructure.

Karen DePauw, dean of the graduate school, also provided an update of diversity initiatives in the Graduate School and how the school is providing educational opportunities for students in a variety of global settings.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee reviewed plans for several new building projects, including those for the new materials management facility, additional recreational space at McComas Hall, the new parking structure, the infectious diseases research facility at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute in Roanoke.

The board also received an update to the university’s strategic plan. The plan “score card” may be found on the Provost’s website.

The board approved the designation of two endowed professorships. Paul M. Herr was named the Virginia-Carolinas Professor in Purchasing in the Pamplin College of Business and Mechanical Engineering Professor Ranga Pitchumani was named to the John R. Jones II Fellowship. Thirteen faculty and campus administrators were honored with emeritus status.

The next regular quarterly meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors will be held March 22-23, 2009, on the Blacksburg campus.