Virginia Tech Board of Visitors sets 2010-11 budget

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 7, 2010 – At their regularly scheduled meeting today, Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors approved the university budget for Academic Year 2010-11.

With the closing of the General Assembly session, Virginia Tech will adopt an approximately $1.1 billion budget for all of its programs. This is an increase of $46 million over the adjusted 2009-10 budget. The increase reflects changes in nongeneral fund revenues for 2010-11, actions of the 2010 General Assembly session that will impact the 2010-11 General Fund appropriation, and the federal support through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The overall change includes an increase of $30 million attributable to the Educational and General program (primarily federal stimulus) and $9 million of projected growth in auxiliary enterprises.

In other actions, the board approved a resolution allowing the College of Natural Resources to change the college name to the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

“The new name will align the college with current and proposed academic programs and positions the college to take advantage of opportunities in emerging scholarship,” said Dean Paul Winistorfer.

To help employers in agribusiness and in non-agricultural sectors who seek graduates with a deeper understanding of the complex economic challenges facing the industry, the board approved a resolution to allow the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to create a new Bachelor of Science degree program in Agribusiness, and for the name of the existing Bachelor of Science degree program in Agricultural and Applied Economics to be changed to Applied Economic Management in time for the fall 2010 semester.

The board also approved a resolution to create a new Master of Arts Degree program in Material Culture and Public Humanities. The 30-credit hour program, a joint venture of the Department of Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the art history program in the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies will prepare students for careers in community cultural organizations, museums, historical societies, humanities foundations, historic preservation, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The board also approved a resolution changing the university’s consulting policy which previously prohibited “regular outside employment.” The revision now allows outside employment with prior approval of the supervisor and relevant university officials. Approval is contingent on assurance that the primary commitment to Virginia Tech will be fulfilled and that the proposed employment does not constitute a conflict of interest.

To maintain and preserve the historic character of the Virginia Tech campus defined by is consistent architectural language, use of Hokie Stone, the scale and massing of buildings, and the beauty of its landscape, the board approved a resolution adopting campus design principles that will guide future campus construction and renovation.

The board also approved a resolution that would close Virginia Tech Dec. 25 to Jan. 1 each year beginning in 2011. An official university closing will create a consistent internal and external understanding that university offices will be closed and classes are not in session. In addition, the closing will allow facilities operations to optimize energy cost savings during periods of low employee and student activity. Department heads and senior managers may identify in advance the locations of critical operations to assure on-going services where needed, such as research projects that would be negatively impacted if efforts were curtailed during the holiday closing.

Salaried employees who do not work and have insufficient leave balances to cover the winter break will be placed in a leave-without-pay status in accordance with state and university leave policies. Newly hired university staff will receive four days of family personal leave, regardless of their date of hire to cover time off during winter break.

In addition, board members selected George Nolen, retired president and chief executive officer of Siemens Corporation, to serve as rector, and Shelley Duke, owner and manager of Rallywood Farm, located in Middleburg, Va., to serve as vice-rector. Kim O’Rourke, a member of the Office of the President, was reappointed as secretary to the board.

The board honored seven current faculty members through appointments to endowed professorships. Thirty-three individuals were honored with emeritus status.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Aug. 29-30 on the Blacksburg campus. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.