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Provost's Update - July 2018

The intersection of disciplines across the arts, sciences, and humanities enriches and strengthens comprehensive research universities like Virginia Tech. Our commitment to providing students with a multidimensional education relies on this strong liberal arts foundation and is central to our land grant mission. It also undergirds our Beyond Boundaries approach to VT-shaped learning and preparing our students to “exhibit a lifelong commitment to understanding, empathizing with, and learning from diverse collaborators.”

Virginia Tech is rich in examples of how a foundation in liberal arts enables development of distinctive research programs and access to learning experiences that equip graduates with the ability to understand the human condition and solve global problems. The integration of arts and technology constitutes a particular strength for Virginia Tech, and can clearly be seen in institutes such as ICAT, centers such as the Moss Art Center, events like the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) Conference, and the holistic engagement of students across a wide variety of degree programs.

Similarly, the recently established Center for the Humanities brings together the arts, social sciences, and humanities fields to engage a variety of compelling interests ranging from public policy to the impact of technology on people. Yet another example is the Center for Communicating Science, which recognizes the power of the arts to connect people in ways that enhance attention to and expression of ideas. These centers, institutes, and experiences work in tandem with our entire academic enterprise to provide the campus community with opportunities to immerse itself in a variety of creative and human-centered collaborations.

As we move toward the start of the new academic year, Virginia Tech will continue to look for ways to create new transdisciplinary intersections arising from our commitment to the liberal arts. As stated in President Sands’ Beyond Boundaries update to the campus, many academic programs already incorporate these characteristics, and many of our students are creating this experience for themselves through individual initiative, with multiple majors and minors. Transdisciplinary discovery and education enabled by a strong liberal arts experience advances our ability to graduate leaders who can improve the world around us.