Lance Collins highlights progress of Innovation Campus to Board of Visitors
November 23, 2020
Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia, outlined the project’s progress to the university’s Board of Visitors during the BOV’s Nov. 15 information session in Blacksburg.
Collins, who joined the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in August after 10 years of leading Cornell University’s College of Engineering, told the board he wants to build the most diverse graduate tech campus in the country – attracting world-class faculty and students with an experiential project-based curriculum as a central feature of all master’s degrees.
Bringing academia, industry, and government together will create impactful programs, tangible research, strong leaders, and the next generation of tech companies, Collins said.
His presentation to the board also included the following highlights:
- An advisory board of global business and industry leaders that includes executives from Qualcomm, Boeing, KPMG, Northrop Grumman, The Carlyle Group, and Hunch Analytics will provide strategic direction and counsel for the campus in Alexandria, which was announced as part of the state’s successful bid to attract Amazon’s HQ2 to the region.
- The first academic building planned for the campus earned unanimous approval on Oct. 17 from Alexandria City Council for its architectural design and environmental sustainability features. Construction is set to begin next year.
- Ken Smith, Virginia Tech’s vice provost for academic resource management, was selected last month to serve as the first chief operating officer.
- Virginia Tech is partnering with Alexandria City Public Schools to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math opportunities for students and create potential pathways to higher education.
- The Innovation Campus is implementing a number of enrollment strategies, including partnership agreements with other schools, to help fulfill the state’s Tech Talent Investment Program goal. Virginia Tech and other universities have committed to graduate about 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years to help fill a critical workforce need in Virginia.
Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus will anchor a 65-acre innovation district that JBG SMITH is developing in Potomac Yard, building a foundation for a stronger tech talent pipeline for the region and fostering Virginia Tech’s ability to collaborate with industry and surrounding federal agencies.
Construction of the first academic building is on track to start next year and open in August 2024. Within a decade, Virginia Tech expects to have up to 750 master’s degree students enrolled at the Innovation Campus, along with hundreds more doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.