Factbook: Measures of Excellence
Last updated: Aug. 24, 2015
U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Colleges 2016” (fall 2015)
- Among national public universities: 26th
- Among all national universities: 70th
- College of Engineering: 8th among public institutions; 15th overall
- Pamplin College of Business: 27th among public institutions; 43rd overall
- Department of Biomedical Engineering Mechanics: 4th for engineering science
- Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering: 5th
Money placed Virginia Tech in the top 50 of all institutions and top 20 among the public institutions in its “Best Colleges” ranking of 736 schools.
Forbes ranked Tech 23rd among its best public colleges.
Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine again ranked Virginia Tech among the best values in public education.
USA Today College ranked Virginia Tech as the nation’s best for studying natural resources and conservation.
DesignIntelligence ranked the university’s undergraduate architecture program 4th in the nation. The program has been in the top five for seven of the past eight years.
U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Graduate Schools 2016” (spring 2015)
- The College of Engineering’s overall graduate program rose three places to rank 21st among all schools of engineering.
- Three departments within the College of Engineering finished in the top 10 of their respective category. The Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ranked 9th among civil engineering programs and 10th among environmental engineering programs, and the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering ranked seventh among industrial/manufacturing programs. The biological systems engineering department, also part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, ranked seventh in the nation among biological/agricultural programs.
- The Pamplin College of Business ranked 16th among the nation’s best part-time M.B.A. schools, a jump of 30 places from the previous year.
- The School of Education's career and technical education program ranked fourth among technical-vocational education programs.
- The public affairs program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ School of Public and International Affairs ranked 37th in the nation (2012 ranking).
DesignIntelligence ranked the graduate landscape architecture program second in the nation; the graduate architecture program was ranked 18th.
Times Higher Education World University: 79th of 147 U.S. universities in top 400
QS World University: Top 10 percent of 3,500 world universities
Center for World Universities: 256th worldwide; 98th among U.S. institutions
Princeton Best College List:
- #2 Happiest Students
- #3 Best Campus Food
- #4 Best Quality of Life
- #4 Their Students Love These Colleges
- #4 Town-Gown Relations Are Great
- #8 Lots of Race/Class Interaction
- #18 Best-Run Colleges
Princeton Review Colleges That Pay You Back list:
- #5 Best Alumni Network
- #13 Colleges that Pay You Back (Even if You're Not Eligible for Need-Based Financial Aid)
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Virginia Tech as one of its 361 community engagement institutions, which affirms that the university's problem-solving partnerships with businesses and communities contribute to the public good and also imbue students with a sense of civic responsibility.
Virginia Tech ranks first in the state for college license plate sales; in fact, the university ranks first, second, and third (three versions of the Tech plate are available). The Commonwealth of Virginia sells more Tech college plates than the other top 10 Virginia schools combined.
Princeton Review named Virginia Tech one of its top environmentally responsible colleges for the sixth year in a row.
The university received its sixth straight gold award from the Best Workplaces for Commuters Race for Excellence by increasing alternative transportation participation and improving commuter resources.
MSN/Active Times ranked Virginia Tech the fittest college in the nation based on the university’s food, recreational, and fitness offerings.
Forbes.com ranked Blacksburg among its top 25 places to retire.
See more rankings at www.vt.edu/about/rankings/.
65+ Faculty with National Science Foundation CAREER Awards
6 Presidential Early Career Awards
13 Virginia Outstanding Scientist Awards
3 Science Museum of Virginia Lifetime Achievement award winners
30 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Awards
13 National Academy of Engineering members
4 National Academy of Sciences members
5 Guggenheim Fellows
With a research portfolio of $513 million in fiscal year 2014, Virginia Tech marked its 15th consecutive year of research growth. At No.
38 nationally, Tech is the only Virginia institution in the top 50 of the National Science Foundation rankings for research expenditures. The university is ranked among the top 25 public institutions.
Virginia Tech continues to be one of the world’s leaders in research involving unmanned aerial vehicles and automated transportation technology, led by the Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace will pave the way for numerous benefits. In agriculture, the aircraft can help promote crop health and strengthen the food supply. Additionally, unmanned aircraft will be useful for search-and-rescue missions, disaster response, pipeline inspections, newsgathering, wildlife management, and more. The unmanned aircraft industry could add more than $13.6 billion to the nation’s economy by the end of the decade, reaching as high as $82.1 billion by 2025, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
Meanwhile, VTTI in October 2015 demonstrated a Level 3 automated vehicle, in which a driving system handles all the driving with a human driver ready to take control if needed. What made this demonstration especially spectacular is that it didn’t take place on some isolated test track, but on an 11-mile stretch of the Interstate 395 express lanes in Washington, D.C.
Areas of research achievement and investigation throughout the university include high-performance computing; advanced materials; wireless telecommunication; housing; human and animal health; cognition, development, and behavior; the environment; and energy, including power electronics, biofuels, fuel cells, and solar-powered building structures. In the social sciences, scholarship and creative work include cultural expression and literature; interactions between ideas, technology, and people; performing arts; and more.
The university is affiliated with two human medical schools, each with a significant research component:
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, which opened its doors in August 2010, graduated its second class in May 2015. Curriculum value domains are basic sciences, clinical sciences, research, and interprofessionalism. Students and clinicians will be partners in the research enterprise.
The Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences integrates the capabilities of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Wake Forest University School
of Medicine, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Virginia Tech’s research includes biomechanics, cellular transport, computational modeling, biomaterials, bioheat and mass transfer, biofluid mechanics, instrumentation, ergonomics, and tissue engineering.
Virginia Tech has about 700 faculty members devoted strictly to research — research scientists concentrating on creating new knowledge and solving problems. In addition, Virginia Tech has about 1,440 tenured and teaching faculty, many of who conduct research.
Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 to support the research mission of the university by protecting and licensing intellectual properties that result from research performed by Virginia Tech faculty and staff members and students. During fiscal year 2014, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties licensed six startup companies, received 163 invention disclosures, processed 163 patent applications, signed 25 license and option agreements, and received 19 U.S. and 15 foreign patents.
The Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), a private nonprofit corporation affiliated with Virginia Tech, was established in fall 2010. With offices in Northern Virginia and Blacksburg, VT- ARC fosters applied research and development, and management of large contract research projects. It will apply Virginia Tech's basic and scholarly research achievements, expertise, and collaborations across multiple disciplines to solve complex national challenges in intelligence, cyber and information technology, national security, energy, and health.
Virginia Tech also established the Global Change Center to tackle the new frontier of global environmental challenges, specifically those posed by the interaction of climate change, pollution, invasive species, disease, and habitat loss.
University-level Research Institutes
- Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
- Fralin Life Science Institute
- Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
- Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
- Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment
- Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), with more than 450 employees and more than $35 million in annual research expenditures, has a mission to save lives, time, and money, and to protect the environment. It is the second largest university-level transportation institute in the United States and the largest group of driving safety researchers in the world. Facilities include the 2.2-mile, two-lane, fully instrumented Virginia Smart Road; connected-vehicle test beds in Southwest and Northern Virginia; the VTTI/Center for Injury Biomechanics Crash Sled Lab; and the National Tire Research Center in Southern Virginia. Since 1996, VTTI has provided more than 1,400 student-years of funding, and more than 100 students annually gain hands-on experience at the institute to become the next generation of researchers. VTTI has pioneered groundbreaking naturalistic driving studies made possible by internally developed data acquisition systems that allow drivers to be observed in real-world conditions. To date, these systems have been installed in nearly 4,000 vehicles deployed nationally and internationally.
The Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, fomerly the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, with more than 200 employees and more than $109 million in active research awards, combines information technology, medicine, and biology to solve problems in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. Projects include a science portal that connects pathogen databases around the world for genetic and genomic research, mathematical modeling of living organisms through systems biology to unravel the genetic mechanisms of diseases, and personalizing medicine so medical treatments can be tailored to match the patient’s unique genetic makeup.
Fralin Life Science Institute researchers investigate vector-borne disease, infectious disease, obesity, molecular plant sciences, and cancer biology. The institute was formed in August 2008 and represents an administrative merger of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences.
The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is forging a pathway between transdisciplinary research and art, educational innovation, and scientific and commercial discovery. Partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, the institute fosters the creative process to uncover new possibilities for exploration and expression through learning, discovery, and engagement. This includes preparing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education environments to succeed in a world that demands teamwork and collaboration in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.
The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science is working at the intersection of engineering, science, biology, and the humanities. Thrust areas include nanoscale science and engineering, nano-bio interface, sustainable energy, safe and sustainable water, national security, cognition and communication systems, renewable materials, and emerging technologies. Researchers from across the university are taking advantage of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory and building partnerships as they leverage the institute’s resources.
The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment strengthens the university’s competitive position in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The institute provides organizational, technical, and financial support for targeted creative, interactive, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research endeavors that address issues of social and individual transformation. The Global Issues Initiative is researching trade policies and poverty in Pakistan and the Philippines, as well as the implications of agricultural subsidies in eight countries, among other issues. A Center for Public Health Practice and Research has been established to foster collaborative public health practice and research activities at Virginia Tech and among external public-health entities.
Since its creation in 2009, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute has made significant progress in efforts to understand and address the fundamental processes of human health and disease, and to develop new approaches to diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and cures. Research emphases include brain function of children and adults; molecular studies of cancer and heart development; infectious diseases in children; addiction and substance abuse; development of novel neuro-rehabilitation strategies for traumatic brain injury, PTSD, depression, and seizure disorders; and early life educational interventions for children at risk.
Virginia Tech ranked sixth in the nation in 2013 (the most recent ranking available) for agricultural sciences research and development expenditures, solidifying the place of scientists from several Tech colleges as international leaders in helping feed a quickly growing global population and sustainably managing the world’s forests. The $101 million in expenditures was up 14 percent from 2012.
The college celebrated the grand opening of its new Dairy Science Complex – Kentland Farm. The modern facility bolsters the long- term success of Virginia Tech’s award-winning dairy science program and contributes to the land-grant mission of the university. In the new complex, students are examining modern issues in dairy science alongside researchers who are working on solving challenges and then sharing the resulting work with Virginia Cooperative Extension.
A team of Virginia Tech researchers discovered a way to create hydrogen fuel using a biological method that greatly reduces the time and money it takes to produce the zero-emissions fuel. This method uses abundantly available corn stover — stalks, cobs, and husks — to produce the hydrogen. The findings by the team, led by Percival Zhang, professor of biological systems engineering, could help speed the widespread arrival of hydrogen-powered vehicles in a way that is inexpensive and results in extremely low carbon emissions.
Mary Leigh Wolfe, a professor and head of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, took office as the 2015-16 president of the American Society
of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Named an ASABE Fellow in 2006, Wolfe has previously served the society on a variety of education and technical committees, as well as the society and foundation boards of trustees. Wolfe’s academic department is in both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering.
Biological systems engineering Assistant Professor Warren Ruder used a mathematical model to demonstrate that bacteria can control the behavior of an inanimate device like a robot. Ruder’s approach revealed unique decision-making behavior by a bacteria-robot system by coupling and computationally simulating widely accepted equations that describe three distinct elements: engineered gene circuits in E. coli, microfluid bioreactors, and robot movement.
Researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute made significant inroads in combating vector-borne illnesses. Zhijian Jake Tu, a professor of biochemistry, identified a gene responsible for sex determination in mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya viruses. Only female mosquitoes bite because they need blood for developing eggs, and researchers believe that a higher ratio of males could reduce disease transmission. Additionally, certain species of mosquitoes are genetically better at transmitting malaria. The results, published in Science, will advance understanding about the biological differences between mosquitoes that transmit malaria, and ultimately, how species might be more precisely controlled to stop transmission.
A recent statewide study by Virginia Tech found that agritourism is a viable way for farmers to supplement their income. The commonwealth’s top two industries, agriculture and tourism, were evaluated using a survey-based study by a team from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension. In Virginia, both the number of mid-size farms and the revenue of those farms have been declining. The study found that agritourism could help farm managers diversify and augment income. Forty-two percent of operators surveyed stated that agritourism contributed between 76 and 100 percent of their farm income.
Paul Marek, assistant professor of entomology, discovered that bioluminescence — the ability of living things to glow — may not have originated as a means to ward off predators, but instead evolved as a way to survive in harsh climates. The finding, based on the discovery of a millipede that hadn’t been seen in 50 years, shows that even the seemingly most complex and intricate of traits can be traced in evolution as small steps leading to a complex feature we see today.
The New River Health District has partnered with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Family Nutrition Program to take its WIC Garden program to a new level. The Farmacy Garden is both literally and figuratively central to collaboration among various agencies in Montgomery County serving low-income families and individuals. Situated between the Health Department, Department of Social Services, and the Community Health Center of the New River Valley (formerly known as the New River Valley Free Clinic), the Farmacy garden serves as a hub of healthy programming for families.
Andrew Neilson, an assistant professor of food science and technology, discovered that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels, leading to the possibility that the antioxidant can dramatically increase the body’s ability to fight many modern-day ailments, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Matt Hulver, an associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise, and other Virginia Tech researchers found that the manner in which muscle metabolizes nutrients changes after just five days of eating a high-fat diet. This is the first study to prove that the change happens so quickly.
With a number of highly ranked programs, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies is one of the nation’s largest, best, and most interdisciplinary colleges of the built environment. According to the latest available 10-year ranking from DesignIntelligence, the college has the No. 1 overall architecture program in the country (tied with Harvard, Yale, and Columbia). According to annual DesignIntelligence rankings, Tech’s undergraduate architecture program is No. 4 in the country and the graduate program is No. 14. The undergraduate interior design program is ninth, the undergraduate landscape architecture is 10th, and the graduate landscape architecture program is 14th.
Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, appeared in the DesignIntelligence 2015 rankings as one of the 30 Most Admired Educators.
The visual communication design degree offered by the School of Visual Arts was ranked No. 18 by the Graphic Design Degree Hub, and the Animation Career Review ranked the School of Visual Arts 24th among the Top Public Animation Schools and Colleges 2015.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the School of Public and International Affairs’ public management administration program 17th in the nation and public affairs 37th. Planetizen ranks the urban affairs and planning programs 23rd.
In fall 2014, the college’s Institute for Policy and Governance received a Governor’s Technology Award for Innovative Use of Technology in Healthcare for a project titled Veteran’s Broadband Access for Improved Healthcare.
School of Architecture + Design graduate Nicholas Coates, of Gate City, Virginia, was the recipient of the prestigious 2015 SOM Prize, a $50,000 research and travel fellowship that enables one outstanding applicant the opportunity to travel in connection with carrying out in-depth research on a subject of their choosing, to meet with other professionals in the field, and to pursue study outside the realm of established patterns.
The college offers a strong international experience for students, who hail from more than 30 countries. Ten study-abroad trips to six continents are available to students, and 62 percent of them participate in study- abroad opportunities. The college has 11 active international exchange agreements. The School of Public Affairs has partnered with the University of Kent, Brussels, for a new cross-Atlantic graduate program in government and international affairs called Two Capitals, Two Masters. The college’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center has three international consortium universities participating in the architecture program there.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty members from the School of Architecture + Design, including Professor Paul Kelsch, Professor Susan Piedmont-Palladino, and Assistant Professor Nathan Heavers, in collaboration with several faculty members from the College of Natural Resources and Environment, won the Casey Trees Master Plan Design Competition. The jury in the competition unanimously selected Virginia Tech’s proposal from among 50 interdisciplinary university teams from across the country.
The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. The IAWA is a joint program with University Libraries that aims to document women's contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the records of women's architectural organizations and the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners. Currently, IAWA is led by Professor Donna Dunay from the School of Architecture + Design, who succeeds the late Milka Bliznakov, professor emeritus and founder of IAWA. The archive is largest of its kind in the world with more than 400 discrete collections.
The June 2015 survey by the American Society for Engineering Education contained the following rankings for the College of Engineering:
6th number of tenured/tenure track faculty members
5th number of Hispanic faculty 10th number of tenured/tenure track women faculty
11th number of Asian faculty
17th number of African-American faculty
5th bachelor’s degrees awarded annually
36th master’s degrees awarded annually
11th doctoral degrees awarded annually
10th number of undergraduates (7,410)
20th number of graduate students (2,045)
In the fall 2005 semester, 4,800 prospective students applied for admission to the college. By fall 2015, more than 9,000 applied, more than a 50 percent increase.
In 2005, the entering engineering freshman class was 15.6 percent female, 2.1 percent African-American, and 1.8 percent Hispanic. By comparison, in 2015 the entering engineering freshman class was 23.4 percent female. Members from underrepresented populations comprised 11.9 percent of the class (numbers no longer directly correlate because students now identify with more than one segment of the population.)
In U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2016 survey, released in September 2015, the college’s undergraduate program ranked 15th among all programs that also offer Ph.D.s, and eighth among public universities. The Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics ranked fourth and the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering ranked fifth in the survey. Several other departments ranked in the top 20 of their type.
The college’s graduate programs received high marks as well. U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2016 survey, released in March 2015, again ranked the college’s graduate program 21st among all of the nation’s engineering schools. Among public universities, it ranked 10th. Individual programs in the top 20 included the Charles E. Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ninth among civil engineering programs and 10th among environmental engineering programs; the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, seventh among industrial/manufacturing programs; and the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, seventh among biological/ agricultural programs.
The college climbed to its highest-ever ranking in the National Science Foundation’s report on engineering schools’ research expenditures. The 2015 survey, reporting on figures for fiscal year 2013, showed the college at ninth place nationally with $214.5 million in research expenditures. This number is more than double the typical spending levels before 2005, and represents 43 percent of the entire university’s total.
Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering students have a new, high-tech meeting space for collaboration and learning needs at Randolph Hall. The $750,000 AOE Studio for Design Innovation — ASDI@VT for short — features five meeting areas for design teams to gather and share information, with capabilities for six laptops to be connected to a single display for collaboration among team members.
By 2014-15, the retention rate for the students participating in the inVenTs Residential Community had reached almost 100 percent. inVenTs provides an interdisciplinary living-learning space for students from engineering, science, and other disciplines to interact and explore their ability to envision, create, and transform innovative ideas and — in the words of Virginia Tech’s tagline — invent the future.
Northrop Grumman Corp. and Virginia Tech partnered in a global externship program introducing international students to careers in cybersecurity, computer engineering, and program management. The Northrop Grumman/Virginia Tech Global Externship is an eight-week summer research program for international undergraduate and graduate students studying at an accredited university in the United States. Students work with research faculty at the Hume Center for National Security and Technology in the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington. They also learn about program management and leadership from Continuing and Professional Education and how to build their language skills from the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute.
The Advanced Propulsion and Power Lab at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is becoming internationally known for jet propulsion and gas turbine research. A Rolls-Royce AE-3007 engine arrived in the summer of 2015 for testing in a unique small jet engine test cell. Working relationships are also in place with Siemens Power Generation, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, GE Aircraft Engines, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Engines, Wyle, the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
U.S. News & World Report named Virginia Tech’s online master of information technology degree program as one of the nation’s best distance-learning courses in its fourth annual Top Online Education rankings. The program, offered by the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business, was ranked second in the United States. The college ranked 15th overall for Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.
Virginia Tech was handpicked in 2015 to participate in a $30 million national effort sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the U.S. Department of Defense to combat concussions among college athletes and active service military personnel. The initiative has been called the most comprehensive study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted, with 25,000 male and female NCAA student- athletes participating. Data collected from athletes will be used to help curb head injuries among U.S. armed forces personnel. Serving as principal investigator is Stefan Duma, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. Also during the past year, Duma and his research team released long- awaited ranking of hockey helmets.
Some of the country's biggest news organizations are banding together on a new test of newsgathering drones. ABC, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and Reuters are among the 15 outlets that are on board for the research effort. The tests will take place in Virginia through a partnership led by Virginia Tech.
Amy Pruden, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and a pioneer in examining environmental sources and pathways of antibiotic resistance genes as emerging contaminants, is using an interdisciplinary $2.25 million grant to lead a team of Virginia Tech engineers and scientists examining the food chain in light of growing evidence that widespread antibiotic use could be contributing to increasing antibiotic resistance among people.
In the mechanical engineering department, Pablo Tarazaga received a prestigious 2015 Air Force Young Investigator Award, valued at $449,600 over a three-year period. He was one of only 57 scientists and engineers in the United States to receive the honor in 2015. With the award, Tarazaga hopes to create a new approach in how researchers conceptualize traveling waves in solid materials.
As a recipient of a 2015 Young Investigator Program award with the Office of Naval Research, Walid Saad, an assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will be able to further his work in the optimization of wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and, in particular, for tactical wireless networks for the battlefield or other military missions. Saad's interdisciplinary research will weave together strands from wireless networks, game theory, and reinforcement learning to develop innovations that will help optimize M2M resource management, create self-organizing learning algorithms, and create realistic models for M2M traffic and network deployment tailored toward future wireless networks.
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
Danna Agmon, an assistant professor of history, won a Huntington Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. She will spend a year in residence at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, to continue her research on French colonialism in India.
Melanie Kiechle, assistant professor of history, was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to expand her doctoral dissertation into a book titled, “Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Urban America, 1840-1900.” Made through the American Antiquarian Society, Kiechle’s grant enabled her to spend the academic year in Worcester, Massachusetts, studying the Clara Barton Papers and other 19th-century records to compile “a cultural history of fresh air and foul odors in urban environments.”
Tim Luke, University Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, was honored by the American Political Science Association with its 2014 career achievement award for a long and successful career as a writer, teacher, and activist. A Virginia Tech faculty member since 1981, Luke was also instrumental in establishing a doctoral program, the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought. The interdisciplinary program encourages critical engagement among the social sciences, humanities, and arts.
Professor Joseph C. Pitt, interim head of the Department of Philosophy, was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest scientific society. Pitt was elected based on his contributions to the history and philosophy of science, particularly for his work on pragmatism, Galileo, and the impact of technology on scientific change.
Two Department of English faculty members were winners of the 2015 Pushcart Prize, which honors the “best of the small presses” by selecting stories, poems, and essays from literary magazines, journals, and independent publishers. Associate Professor Bob Hicok was honored for his poem “Why We Must Support PBS,” which first appeared in Field. Assistant Professor Matthew Vollmer was selected for his essay “For Beds,” originally published on the New Orleans Review website.
Karen Roberto, a family gerontologist and founding director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech, was named a University Distinguished Professor, a rank bestowed on no more than 1 percent of Virginia Tech faculty whose scholarship has attracted national and international recognition. Roberto joins Luke and Nikki Giovanni from the college who hold the rank.
Benjamin Jantzen, Sarah Ovink, and Sonja Schmid each won the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award during the 2014-15 academic year. One of the nation’s most prestigious for especially promising junior faculty members, the award provides multiyear support for outstanding and innovative research. Jantzen, an assistant professor of philosophy, is using his grant to develop a robot scientist.
Ovink, an assistant professor of sociology, is studying how to increase the numbers of women and minorities in science and technology careers. Schmid, an assistant professor in the Department of Sciences and Technology in Society, is designing an effective global response to nuclear accidents.
Amy Azano, in the School of Education, is partnering with a colleague at the University of Virginia on a five-year federal grant of nearly $2 million to help rural school districts in Virginia develop programs for gifted children.
College of Natural Resources and Environment
Virginia Tech was ranked by USA Today College edition as the top school in the nation for studying natural resources and conservation.
The university’s agricultural science and natural resources research expenditures are ranked sixth in the nation by the National Science Foundation. This ranking includes the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment, and Veterinary Medicine.
The college’s forestry, fisheries, and wildlife programs have consistently ranked among the top in the nation. In its most recent ranking of doctoral programs, the National Research Council rated Virginia Tech’s graduate program in forestry as one of the country’s best. The forestry program also placed in the top 100 of the World University rankings. The college’s program in sustainable biomaterials is the largest of its kind in North America.
The college initiated a new undergraduate degree called “water: resources, policy, and management,” one of the most interdisciplinary offerings in the country. The program, which draws its curriculum from existing classes in 13 departments across five colleges, lets students choose from one of four water science specializations and one of four water policy specializations.
The new undergraduate degree program in packaging systems and design blends engineering, design, marketing, warehousing, distribution, and an understanding of issues involved in the recycling and re-use of packaging materials, preparing students for high-tech careers in the nation’s third-largest industry.
The Weather Channel broadcasted live from the Moss Arts Center’s Cube facility as Department of Geography researchers re-created a tornado indoors. The team used NEXRAD (Next-Generation Radar) data from the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado in May 2013 to generate a real-time 3-D image of the storm. The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore and Greg Forbes “walked” through the storm wearing Oculus head-mounted displays.
Professor Bill Hopkins directs Virginia Tech’s new Global Change Center in the Fralin Life Science Institute. The center’s aim is to confront large-scale environmental problems, such as habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, disease, and climate change, with interdisciplinary, innovative team science, drawing on the diverse expertise of researchers across the university.
Professor Jeff Marion released a new book that outlines the principles and low-impact practices of Leave No Trace, a decades-old education program that guides outdoor recreation nationwide. Marion was a founding member of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and helped develop the Leave No Trace principles.
Associate Professor Susan Day initiated national discussions that culminated with the rollout of the new national Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) rating system, a comprehensive program and toolkit for developing sustainable landscapes. Day not only helped create the SITES rating system but also served on the Soils Technical Committee that provided the standards for urban soil management.
A forestry master’s degree student is leading the effort to develop a stewardship plan for Stadium Woods, an 11-acre site behind Lane Stadium that contains numerous trees more than 300 years old. Using best practices of forest management and incorporating public input, the plan will identify strategies for use and enjoyment of the woods while maintaining its health.
The Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, based in the National Capital Region, initiated a professional certificate program in international sustainability consulting. Targeted to working professionals who have a background in natural resources, environmental studies, or sustainability, the program includes four self-paced online course components and a 10-day international residency.
The Virginia Master Naturalist Program, a volunteer education and outreach program based in the college’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, celebrated its 10th year in 2015. Since its inception, the program has trained several thousand master naturalists who have contributed 526,583 hours of volunteer service — the equivalent of more than 250 years of full-time employment.
Several college faculty and students earned notable honors:
- University Distinguished Professor Harold E. Burkhart, the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forestry, received the 2014 World Congress Host Country Scientific Achievement Award from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.
- Associate Professor Emmanuel Frimpong was named a Carnegie Diaspora Fellow.
- Professor Tom Fox was named the Honorable Garland Gray Professor of Forestry.
- Professor John McGee shared the 2015 Distinguished Geospatial Education Partner Award from the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence.
- Wildlife doctoral students Lindsey Rich and Erin Poor were named Fulbright Scholars.
- Undergraduate program: No. 39 overall (U.S. News & World Report)
- Evening MBA program: No. 16 (U.S. News & World Report)
- Master of information technology: No. 2 (U.S. News & World Report)
Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast rang the opening bell at Nasdaq on April 30, 2015. Sands and Sumichrast were accompanied by Pamplin alumni, members of the Pamplin Advisory Council, students, and college representatives. The Nasdaq visit followed an evening of networking for Pamplin alumni and students at the “Hokies on Wall Street” reception.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, the college kicked off a yearlong series of events, augmented reality displays, and publications with a reception in the Pamplin atrium.
Six Pamplin majors are routinely in the top 12 majors most sought after by recruiters visiting campus. The college’s undergraduate career services office serves both students and employers. Recruiters from a range of business and government organizations attend the college’s Business Horizons career fairs, organized each fall and spring by Pamplin undergraduates.
Sattar Mansi, a professor of finance, received the 2015 Wharton-WRDS Outstanding Paper Award for a co-authored paper examining the effect of investors with long investment horizons on corporate decision-making. WRDS, or Wharton Research Data Services, is part of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Richard R. Perdue, a professor of hospitality and tourism management, received the Travel and Tourism Research Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Perdue is also an elected Fellow and former president of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism.
Zheng “Phil” Xiang, an assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management, was named an Emerging Scholar by the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. The honor is conferred on an individual who received his or her doctorate within the past 10 years and who has achieved high distinction in the quality and contribution of their research.
Christopher W. Zobel, a professor of business information technology, received a 2014 Fulbright Scholar Award to study disaster resilience. Zobel plans to use his award to develop new, more-effective approaches for measuring and monitoring the resilience and sustainability of critical infrastructure systems.
Greg Jenkins, a professor of accounting and information systems, received the 2014 AAA/ Deloitte Foundation Wildman Medal Award for a co-authored study on how brainstorming meetings can help auditors detect fraud.
Hospitality and tourism management Professor Muzaffer Uysal received the Founders Award at the 20th Annual Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism. The award is given each year to an individual who has done significant lifetime work for graduate education in hospitality and tourism. The award was established in honor of Pamplin alumnus Professor Kaye Chon, founder of the conference.
Nancy Gard McGehee, a professor and department head of hospitality and tourism management, received a Fulbright Specialist grant. She spent part of the summer of 2015 teaching at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, in the Department of Economics, Management, and Industrial Engineering.
A Pamplin student team won the Virginia state championship in the 2015 ACG Cup, an investment-banking case-study competition. The nationwide competition for MBA students is sponsored by the Association for Corporate Growth, an organization of professionals involved in mergers and acquisitions.
Through two student-run investing groups, Pamplin students manage about $10 million of Virginia Tech’s endowment. SEED (Student-managed Endowment for Educational Development) manages stock investments valued at about $5 million, believed to be the nation’s largest student- run portfolio managed as an extracurricular activity. BASIS (Bond And Securities Investing by Students) manages about $5 million in bonds and other fixed-income securities and is one of a handful of bond- only student-investor programs in the nation.
Founded in 2011, PRISM (Pamplin Re- inventing Social Media) seeks to equip students to lead the development, marketing, and measurement of the college’s social media presence. Working in different groups, including marketing, communication, graphic design, branding, and research and analytics, the student members run Pamplin’s social media channels to promote the college.
College of Science
During the past two years, the College of Science has launched several new cross- disciplinary programs and degrees under the Integrated Science Curriculum that are at the heart of the college’s mantra of learning, discovery, and engagement. Programs include nanoscience, neuroscience, computational modeling and data analytics, and systems biology. In the Division of Science, Technology, and Law, scientist students can learn about patenting the intellectual property rights of their work.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the college’s earth science graduate program 30th in the nation and its graduate clinical psychology program 47th.
Among recent faculty honors:
Esteban Gazel of the Department of Geosciences was recognized with the 40-under-40 accolade from El Financiero, the finance newspaper of Costa Rica and Central America. Also in geosciences, Mike Hochella was elected Fellow of the U.K. Royal Society of Chemistry; Bob Bodnar was named honorary Fellow of the Geological Society
of India; Bob Bodnar and Nancy Ross were named Fellows of the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology; and Brian Romans was awarded the James Lee Wilson Award for Excellence in Sedimentary Geology by an Early-Career Scientist from the Society for Sedimentary Geology.
Cayelan Carey of the Department of Biological Sciences received the Best Science Visualization of 2014 Award from Wired Magazine and an Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Journal of Plankton Research. Michael Fox, of biological sciences and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI), received the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Independent Investigator Award and the Young Scientist Lectureship Award from the International Society of Neurochemistry.
Deborah Kelly, of biological sciences and VTCRI, was a Beckman Young Investigator finalist, one of 12 junior faculty members in the United States selected to present at the National Academy of Sciences, and received a Concern Foundation Young Investigator Award.
Lee Cooper of the Department of Psychology received the Jean Spruill Achievement Award from the Association of Psychology Training Clinics. Warren Bickel, also in psychology, was elected Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kansas.
Tim Long of the Department of Chemistry was selected as one of three Virginia Outstanding Scientists for 2015. Also in chemistry, Edward Valeev received the 2015 Dirac Medal by the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists. John Matson received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award for studies of self-assembled hydrogen sulfide gels for promotion of angiogenesis. He also received a three-year renewable 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.
Chris Beattie of the mathematics department was named an Einstein Visiting Fellow (one of 11 current fellows) by the Einstein Foundation in Berlin. Also in mathematics, Megan Wawro received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award for interdisciplinary work on student understanding of linear algebra in physics.
J.P. Morgan of the Department of Statistics was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.
In student honors, Skylar Hopkins and Sally Zemmer, both of biological sciences, were awarded National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants.
Laura Schoenle, a member of the Moore Lab in biological sciences, was awarded a STAR Program Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Amanda Nelson, in chemistry, was selected to receive a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad. Tinghui Li, in chemistry, and Vanessa Brown, in psychology, received 2014-15 Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Medical Research Scholar Awards.
Also in psychology, Jonathan Waldron earned a 2015 Graduate Teaching Excellence – Instructor of Record Award and was named a Diversity Scholar, and Ruth-Anne Poli won a Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Innovative Student Research Grant.
Rui Serra Maia, of geosciences, was named the College of Science Dean’s Roundtable Make a Difference Scholar.
In 2015, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education reaccredited the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine for a period of up to seven years. The council is the official accrediting body responsible for assuring that veterinary education meets the high standards expected by students, parents, the public, and the profession.
The veterinary college received more than 1,200 applications for its 120 available positions for the doctor of veterinary medicine Class of 2019. This was the second largest applicant pool in North America, according to figures from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
According to the latest figures from the Veterinary Information Network, the college is a great value, with the most affordable in-state tuition and living expenses out of the 31 veterinary schools in the United States and the Caribbean.
The college is expanding enrollment in clinical trials involving client-owned companion animals through a newly established Veterinary Clinical Research Office. In 2014, the college also formed a Collaborative Research Network to enable specialty practices in Virginia and Maryland to participate in the college’s clinical research program.
The veterinary college and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received a $1.4 million gift from Smithfield Foods Inc. to investigate methods to enhance animal well-being and production efficiency in swine-rearing operations. William “Terry” Swecker in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Nammalwar “Nathan” Sriranganathan in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology are among the researchers funded through the donation.
After years of working together on public health initiatives, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District signed an agreement to formalize their partnership to enhance public health instruction, practice, and research, and to improve community health in the New River Valley. Housed in the college’s Department of Population Health Sciences, the public health program offers a two-year professional degree with concentrations in infectious disease and public health education.
The college’s exchange program with Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University sends eight students to Chennai, India, each year to gain clinical experience where they can diagnose and treat diseases not commonly encountered in the United States. Tamil Nadu students also visit Blacksburg. In 2015, the college established a partnership with the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, and the University Austral in Valdivia, Chile, on a new student exchange program. Two to four students from each university will rotate through each of the three participating institutions.
Clay Caswell, an assistant professor of bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, received a three-year, $458,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, titled “Characterization of a novel genetic pathway required for Brucella virulence.”
Terry Hrubec, a research assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and an associate professor of anatomy at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed a study that pinpointed common household chemicals as the cause of reproduction problems in mice.
Xin Luo, an assistant professor of immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and her colleagues discovered a potential early-detection biomarker for severe combined immunodeficiency, commonly known as the “bubble boy” disorder. The biomarker gives researchers a noninvasive way to screen for the disease.
Geraldine Magnin-Bissel, a research scientist and analytic chemist, and Tanya LeRoith, a clinical associate professor of anatomic pathology, received a five-year, $486,000 grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand the capabilities of the college’s toxicology laboratory. The laboratory analyzes biological samples for toxic compounds and is part of Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services, which coordinates government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the United States and Canada to respond to high-priority chemical and microbial feed/drug contamination incidents.
Sarah McDonald, an assistant professor at both the veterinary college and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, received the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence, a national honor. McDonald, a virologist in the college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, studies the evolutionary dynamics and pathogenesis of rotavirus.
X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology, was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Meng’s laboratory has made considerable advancements in the area of emerging and re-emerging viruses and is one of the leading international research centers on hepatitis E research, which causes an estimated 20 million liver infections each year.
Bess Pierce, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, earned the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2015 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, the highest veterinary honor in the nation for work on the human-animal bond.
Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, traveled to Armenia to meet with the Armenian minister of agriculture and other U.S. and Armenian officials to enhance the Armenian national animal health program.
Siba K. Samal, associate dean of the college’s Maryland campus, was named the 2014 Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.
Anne Zajac, a professor of parasitology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, published research revealing that one-third of deer ticks collected from sites in nearby Giles and Pulaski counties carry the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease.
Sarah Krones, a third-year dual-degree student in the doctor of veterinary medicine and master of public health programs, was elected to the board of the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) as chairperson of the Standing Committee on One Health. As the inaugural recipient of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association’s IVSA travel scholarship, Krones represented U.S. veterinary students in Turkey and Indonesia in 2014.
Jessica Walters, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary sciences, received the 2014 Young Scientist Award from the Indian Society of Veterinary Immunology and Biotechnology for her research.
Daniel Youngstrom, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary sciences, completed a Fulbright U.S. Student Program in Latvia, where he spent nine months in the capital city of Riga at the Cell Transplantation Center, a research laboratory affiliated with the University of Latvia and the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital. There, he characterized adult human stem cells and their potential uses to treat osteoarthritis.
National Capital Region
Sonja Schmid, an assistant professor in the Science and Technology Studies program, won a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award to study the prospects for and problems of creating a global nuclear emergency response plan. In conjunction with the award, Schmid organized a Seminar on Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Nuclear Emergency Response (SIREN) speaker series featuring leading international experts on nuclear emergency response. Lectures are held monthly at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.
Nuclear reactor expert Alireza Haghighat, a professor in the nuclear engineering program, was invited to discuss research related to the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex at an international meeting of physicists, engineers, and scientists in Kyoto, Japan.
The Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute was awarded nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue the research and development of open- source software for energy management in commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or less. These buildings fall outside the scope of most commercial building automation systems but account for more than 90 percent of commercial buildings in the United States and 50 percent of energy consumed each year.
Barbara Allen, a professor in science and technology studies, received a grant of approximately $267,000 from the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health and Safety to examine a holistic, community-centered perspective for understanding local environmental health issues. The goal is to educate citizens on the current state of resident health; to inform future environmental health research; and to guide governmental policies regarding health protection in industrial regions.
Chang-Tien Lu, an associate professor of computer science, has been awarded a $300,000 subcontract from the U.S. Army Research Office and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center to develop an automated tool to make sense of data captured in news articles, tweets, images, and audio and video streams. The research might one day help law enforcement agencies connect suspects and events.
Internationally acknowledged for his research in alternate energy and smart grid systems, Saifur Rahman, the Joseph R. Loring Professor of Engineering and director of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, is the only university representative appointed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to his 12-member Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency.
Keep America Beautiful issued a report, “Charting the Multiple Meanings of Blight: A National Literature Review on Addressing the Community Impacts of Blighted Properties,” prepared by the Vacant Properties Research Network, a project of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Econsult Solutions Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firm. The national report examines more than 300 academic articles as well as special policy and practitioner reports devoted to the concept of blight.
Wenjing Lou, a professor of computer science, is a newly elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) for her contributions to information and network security. As a co-director of the Complex Networks and Security Research Laboratory at Virginia Tech, Lou leads research on cybersecurity and wireless networks.
Parang Saraf, a Ph.D. student in computer science, accepted the VAST Challenge 2014 Grand Challenge Award for Effective Analysis and Presentation in Paris, France. The VAST Challenge provides an opportunity for visual analytics researchers to test their innovative thoughts on approaching problems in a wide range of subject domains against realistic datasets and problem scenarios.
Ing-Ray Chen, a professor and director of the computer science program, and a team of collaborators were recognized with the 2015 IEEE Communications Society William R. Bennett Prize in the Field of Communications Networking for their paper, titled “Hierarchical Trust Management for Wireless Sensor Networks and its Applications to Trust-Based Routing and Intrusion Detection.”
Sallie Keller, a professor of statistics and director of the Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory, part of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute’s efforts at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington, is spearheading a strategic innovation partnership with Proctor & Gamble that allows for more collaboration on a broad scale across all Virginia Tech colleges and research institutes.
Outreach and International Affairs
With a research grant portfolio of $134 million, the Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED) leads projects that raise the standard of living in developing countries. Projects involve such areas as natural resource management, integrated pest management, sustainable agriculture, watershed management, capacity-building in education, and micro- enterprise development.
The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program, received $50 million in funding to complete five more years of research.
Muni Muniappan, a world-renowned entomologist and director of the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, received the 2014 World Food Prize’s Award for Scientific Excellence.
Senegal passed a law that created the equivalent of an outreach mission for its universities. The country's officials credit Virginia Tech’s Education and Research in Agriculture project for inspiring this new orientation of universities toward the communities they serve.
Papaya mealybug control resulted in benefits valued at $500 million to $1.34 billion to India.
OIRED also oversees Women and Gender in International Development, which ensures that projects incorporate gender. Over the past year, the program collaborated with universities in six states, and the lecture series brought awareness of gender issues to faculty and students across the university.
In 2014-15, the Global Education Office assisted in sending 1,221 Virginia Tech students to 45 countries around the world, an increase of 15.1 percent over 2013-14. The office administers and supports the Fulbright program. Financial aid was coordinated for 170 students, and approximately $23,000 in
need-based scholarships was administered. Three students were awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The office launched Curriculum Globalization Grants for faculty to encourage the internationalization of courses taught in Blacksburg and the Washington, D.C., area; 10 grants totaling $42,500 were awarded.
Continuing and Professional Education delivered more than 300 programs that were attended by more than 27,000 participants; faculty and staff hosted 16,910 participants at the Executive Briefing Center at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.
In fiscal year 2015, The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center generated $4.5 million in revenues and received the Connie Award from the DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The award, named after founder Conrad Hilton, is given to the top-performing hotel based on measures of cleanliness, condition, and brand standards; customer satisfaction scores; and the quality of the hotel's accommodations.
The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center became Blacksburg’s highest-ranked hotel on TripAdvisor as well as earning honors from Virginia Living Magazine as a premier wedding venue. Preston’s Restaurant earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the fourth consecutive year, while Zachary Miller, junior sous-chef, won the IACC-Global Copper Skillet Competition Americas in the junior category.
The Language and Culture Institute, which annually serves more than 3,700 individuals, connects people across borders and disciplines through its Intensive English Program, leadership training, and capacity- building. It operates from three Virginia locations: ¬Blacksburg, Fairfax, and Radford, in partnership with Radford University. The institute also cultivates partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and universities in other countries.
The Office of Economic Development connected Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and some of the university's top researchers to industry and governmental partners at a research showcase in Hampton Roads. The office also led a university-wide team that secured Virginia Tech’s designation from the Association of Land Grant and Public Universities as an “Innovation and Economic Prosperity University.”
In the past year, the Virginia Tech commonwealth campus centers served more than 40,000 people through more than 270 programs. Situated in Abingdon, Critz, Newport News, Richmond, Roanoke, and Virginia Beach, the centers provide professional development, corporate training, and access to graduate programs.
The Virginia Tech Roanoke Center’s Lean Six Sigma training contributed to Roanoke’s recognition with the 2015 Harvard Ash Center-Bright Idea in Government Award.
TRiO programs at Virginia Tech (Upward Bound and Talent Search) provide services to more than 850 participants in Southwest and Central Virginia annually. Ninety-five percent of Upward Bound seniors and 92 percent of Talent Search seniors enrolled in college.
Ranking in Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food: No. 3
During the 2014 growing season, Dining Services’ farm at Kentland Farm and the newly added High Tunnel Hoop House produced 40,000 pounds of produce that was served in dining establishments.
During the 2014-15 year, Dining Services diverted 559 tons of compostable waste from the regional landfill by composting, recycling, and implementing food diversion and tray-less dining into all of the dining centers on campus.
More than 19,000 students have dining plans. Dining Services dishes out 7.11 million meals per year, generating $58.4 million in sales.
Fraternity and Sorority Life
The Fraternity and Sorority Life office advised Greeks Giving Back, a registered student organization of fraternity and sorority student leaders that completed its annual one-day service event for Blacksburg and Christiansburg residents. More than 800 fraternity and sorority members participated at 278 job sites.
Services for Students with Disabilities
Volunteer online note-takers recruited: 492 Service hours provided: 14,600,
a savings of $124,100
Number of students served through all programs: 1,701
Number of club sports: 31 teams, with 1,200 individuals participating
Number of intramural sports: 30 sports, with 8,600 individuals playing
Number of runners and walkers for the 2015 3.2 Run in Remembrance: 11,000
Corps of Cadets
The corps worked in conjunction with the Women’s Center to provide Mentors in Violence Prevention training for commanders and the cadre during New Cadet Week and for Echo Company to help them prepare for their service project leading the White Ribbon Campaign at Virginia Tech.
The Rice Center for Leader Development awarded the minor in leadership studies to 165 graduates, the largest number of cadets earning the minor in the past 10 years.
Cranwell International Center
Cranwell International Center programs serve students, scholars, faculty, spouses, and visitors from 113 countries. In fall 2015, there were 3,414 international students on campus, including 1,501 undergraduates and 1,913 graduate students. Top countries represented include China, India, Iran, South Korea, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. More than 350 community members, faculty, staff, and students volunteer at Cranwell.
Career Services developed the REACH program (Imagine your future. Ignite your passion. Astound yourself) to offer first-year and sophomore students encouragement and support from career advisors as the students learn more about who they are and how their unique strengths, talents, and attributes impact their choice of major and career options. Nearly 4,000 students, an increase of 102 percent from the 2013-14 year, completed one or more of the self- assessment tools and were encouraged to reflect on results with career advisors.
VT Engage launched Virginia Tech’s Campus Kitchen pilot initiative, a partnership with Dining Services funded by a $5,000 grant from Sodexo. In six weeks, 22 student volunteers diverted more than 2,000 pounds of food from a campus dining hall to two community partners that work to fight hunger in the region
Schiffert Health Center
Patient visits: 54,924, a 6 percent increase from 2013-14
The University Libraries at Virginia Tech provide access to millions of the world's information resources and are a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries, an honor shared by only one other library in Virginia.
Annually, Virginia Tech's libraries host:
1.2 million visitors
5.4 million online searches
2.5 million journal article downloads
5.8 million digital repository downloads of locally created scholarship
Other University Rankings
Virginia Tech is consistently recognized for its value and the quality of its programs. These rankings represent a few of the broader measures of excellence that the university garners.