Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated December 9, 2020
Transportation and Parking
Updated October 23, 2020
Virginia Tech recognizes the unique transportation and parking needs of employees and students in the D.C. metro area and will strive to offer convenient and flexible transportation and parking options. We anticipate our transportation department will be responsible for campus shuttles, other transportation options, parking, and systems.
Given that the current parking experience is different for each of the university’s locations in the region, it’s possible that individual experiences may change but we are working to make the change as smooth as possible. We are looking to develop a parking and transportation system in the greater D.C. area that helps support the mission of the university.
We are currently reviewing several shuttle service options between at least three locations in the greater Washington, D.C., area—the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, and the Innovation Campus in Alexandria.
One of the options being explored is to have one shared and common parking experience across the region. The feasibility of such a system is currently being studied.
The parking experience is different for each location. Public parking in the area costs approximately $110-$130 per month. At this point, we would like to provide parking at a maximum of market price, but the costs are being studied and are not yet determined.
The Commonwealth Commuter Choice program is a state-offered program. Eligibility is determined by the state. At present, only full-time university employees who commute to certain Northern Virginia counties and cities are eligible for the program. View more information on the program via the Northern Virginia Center website.
We have conversations with WMATA about the U-Pass program. The cost is approximately $1 per day (around $125 per semester), which is a flat fee (regardless of times used) for every full-time student. This generally requires a student transportation fee. The Transportation Subcommittee is currently reviewing all of the facets of this program.
At this time, Virginia Tech does not subsidize Capital Bikeshare or Zipcar memberships. We are studying the various programs as part of this transportation subcommittee planning effort.
Both paid visitor and faculty/staff/student parking will be available at the Innovation Campus. The Innovation Campus is located in a pedestrian-friendly area, and we are working to ensure that there are many transportation options available. In addition to the Metrorail, other transportation options could include: bus service (Metrobus, Alexandria Transit Company – DASH, Arlington Transit – ART, etc.), Virginia Railway Express, ridesharing, ride-hailing, and Capital Bikeshare.
Academic Program Site Alignment
Updated September 18, 2020
Academic program site alignment is a process intended to create thematic coherence and distinctiveness at each of our primary sites (Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church) in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. When realized, it will enhance transdisciplinary connections and partnerships between our own programs and external entities in the region. It is expected that some programs will relocate as a result of this alignment. A process for making these determinations is underway.
The current thematic descriptions for each location included in the site alignment are described below.
Innovation Campus (Alexandria)
Digital technology increasingly influences and enables virtually every aspect of our lives—how we work, play, communicate, learn, relax, move, relate, protect, defend, explore, manage, and understand. These impacts are not only felt by individuals but also by groups small and large, as they flourish or struggle in communities, nations, and ecosystems. The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will deliver graduate programs, cutting-edge research, and undergraduate experiences to meet the significant and rapidly expanding need for digital tech talent, research, and innovation.
Driven by our heritage as a land-grant university and elevated by our location in the nation’s center of policy and governance, Virginia Tech experts and partners will assemble around big ideas and broad themes to explore the increasingly blurred boundaries between humans, computers, and systems. Technical domains will sit at the human-computing frontier and include artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, data science and analytics, internet of things, cyber-human systems, computing systems and networks at scale, distributed and cloud systems, high-performance computing, and human-computer interaction. Adjacent programs will include those at the intersection of technology and policy, regulation and ethics.
Authentically engaged with partners in local, national, and global communities, faculty and students will collaborate on diverse teams, focused on real problems and real solutions both inside and outside the classroom. It is these scholars, with intellects and practical skills honed in this living laboratory, who will propel society forward to create a lasting foundation for a new digital economy.
National Security (Arlington)
The digital technologies driving the fourth industrial revolution are impacting every corner of society for global good and, in some cases, for malice, compromising global and national security. From directed energy weapons to “smart” improvised explosive devices, from cyber threats to nanotech and microbotics, from bio-agents to genetic weaponry, the nation and world are under new and constant threats. In turn, private and public sector organizations are working to deliver a full spectra of technological advances to ensure safety and security of the nation.
In Arlington, strategically located proximal to key clients with global influence and in service of the private and public sectors, programs located here will deliver research, education, and outreach programs to address topics of national and homeland security and public policy, including cybersecurity, applied research, technical services, autonomy, and resilience. Education programs provide public policy training, mentorship, internships, and scholarships, address key policy challenges, and helping students enter public service and obtain federal security clearances. Current research initiatives include cyber-physical system security, orchestrated missions, the convergence of cyber warfare and electronic warfare and a range of global, national and regional public policy issues.
The university’s Arlington center houses the School of Public and International Affairs, secure research environments and accommodates next-generation internet, with direct fiber access to Internet 2 and multiple federal networks. High-performance connectivity links this research center to Virginia Tech’s main campus in Blacksburg, as well as to other major universities and cities. In an era of constant threats, Virginia Tech stands ready to expand its already significant presence in the region, bringing to bear the right collaborative mix of student, faculty, and industry talent to solve our most pressing national security challenges.
Smart Design & Construction (Falls Church)
In the digital age, the building and construction industry faces unparalleled opportunities and challenges to meet the global demand for sustainable, affordable, and high-tech infrastructure. Innovations will be needed at all levels, from advances in materials and design, to novel fabrication and construction methods, to systems-level approaches that integrate smart components to improve quality of life, support connections among people and places, and ensure sustainability.
From regional to city scale, to neighborhoods, to individual structures, Virginia Tech’s center of smart design and construction will deliver teaching, research, products, and partnerships for the 21st Century. Through technical domains such as robotics, materials, distributed and smart manufacturing, we will explore ways to improve architecture, design, and construction.
The transdisciplinary nature of the center’s research and development will improve safety and efficiencies within the industry and yield positive benefits for others. From novel processes, to consumer products, to manufacturing, to logistics and transportation, the center for smart design and construction will ensure discoveries made at Virginia Tech have broad economic and societal benefit. Leveraging its location in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, the center will be a catalyst for further partnerships with national and international organizations in the fields of engineering, construction, design, materials science, and more.
The site alignment process will be completed in four phases.
- Phase One: Solicit and evaluate location proposals to make a preliminary recommendation to the Provost.
- Phase Two: Collect data on the physical space needed to accommodate faculty, staff and students in new office, instructional, research, and other spaces in order to inform design of the new buildings in Alexandria and in Falls Church.
- Phase Three: Incorporate the data collected in Phase 2 into the facility planning process to ensure programmatic needs are met with the new facilities.
- Phase Four: Support faculty, staff and students in the relocation of their affected programs.
Phase One is nearing completion. Leaders of each of the existing academic programs in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church submitted proposals in Fall 2019. A site alignment review committee, led by Vice President and Dean Karen DePauw, and including representatives from colleges, faculty senate, local leadership and innovation campus planning, evaluated each proposal and provided recommendations to Provost Clarke. Provost Clarke is currently reviewing these recommendations and engaging senior leaders, deans, vice presidents, and others to make final determinations.
8/11/20 UPDATE on Phase One: The initial timeline for the site alignment process anticipated having a full-set of site alignment decisions by mid-summer; however, some decisions are not yet final. These decision points include the terms for redevelopment of the Falls Church campus which are still being negotiated and are subject to Board of Visitors approval. Detailed discussions continue among the deans, the Provost, and the Vice President for the Innovation Campus on the mix of programs to be located in Alexandria.
Phase Two is about to be underway. Vice Provost Ken Smith will lead the space data collection process, set to begin in February. Using existing space management formats and standards, each senior management area will submit information about their faculty, staff and students and the related office, instruction and research space needed for each program (or group of programs) their respective areas. We expect this part of the process to be complete by late March or early April.
3/31/20 UPDATE on Phase Two began mid-February. Vice Provost Ken Smith is leading the space data collection process. Using existing space management formats and standards, each senior management area has submitted information on the type and amount of workspace and conference rooms, research labs, instructional spaces, and other specialized space that each program (or group of programs) needs in Fall 2024. Submissions are currently under analysis. Campus planners will use the information to inform planning for new facilities that adequately support the needs of each program.
8/11/20 UPDATE on Phase Two: All data were received and analyzed by Ken Smith and his team, and information on programs requesting to be located in the Innovation Campus building has been provided to SmithGroup, the architects designing and programming the new building. Not surprisingly, space requests exceeded the expected capacity of the new building so decision making among the Provost, deans, and the Vice President and Executive Director of the Innovation Campus are ongoing. Similarly, programs aligned with the site theme for the redeveloped Falls Church site have been introduced into that planning process when design begins to move forward. (See related FAQ: What is the status of the redevelopment of Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church?)
Phase Three will take place over the next couple of years and will follow the regular timeline of planning and construction projects. During this phase, campus planners will continue to engage stakeholders so that the needs of affected stakeholders and their programs are incorporated as the new construction projects advance.
Phase Four will plan and execute the relocation of affected programs and their students, staff and faculty once the new facilities are open.
Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus will be a major component in the first phase of a new North Potomac Yard mixed-use development in Alexandria. The Innovation Campus will be located on about four acres at the northern end, near Alexandria’s border with Arlington County and may ultimately expand to three university buildings. The other seven buildings will house office, residential, and ground-level retail space. A new yellow/blue line Metro station is being constructed at the south end of the property.
Construction of the first academic building is scheduled for completion in 2024.
Yes. There are plans to have administrative space in the North Potomac Yard district in advance of opening the new campus. The university has secured a lease for office space just south of the planned development site. This space will house the office of the VP and Executive Director of the innovation campus.
In 2019, Virginia Tech received two unsolicited proposals under the Public-Private Education Infrastructure Act (PPEA) to redevelop the property in and around the Northern Virginia Center at Falls Church. The proposal from HITT Construction has passed through a preliminary analysis, a public comment period, and a university review. Efforts to come to a comprehensive agreement on the detailed PPEA are on-going and are subject to Board of Visitors and state approval. The proposal under review includes a new academic facility, a national center for smart design and construction, HITT Contracting corporate headquarters, and a commercial and residential complex.
Thematic alignment is not dependent upon a success outcome of the PPEA proposal. The theme of smart design and construction is supported by but transcends the PPEA proposal. This theme is a long-term strategic area of growth associated with the Intelligent Infrastructure and Human Centered Communities Destination Area.
The thematic alignment process applies to the major interdisciplinary sites in Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church. The university has no plans to change the mission or academic/research activity at any of these focused disciplinary sites.
Support Services Assessment
Updated April 3, 2020
Greater Washington, D.C., Metro Area Support Services Assessment (PDF) April 2020
As we continue to evolve, grow, and align our academic programs and activities across the greater Washington, D.C. area, it is important that we are organized and positioned to deliver the highest quality services possible in the most efficient, effective, and consistent manner. The support services assessment was focused on better understanding how administrative and student services are currently delivered in the region, and on collecting ideas and perspectives from existing programs on their anticipated future needs.
Sibson Consulting (now Segal Consulting) conducted the assessment through a series of interviews during December 2019 and January 2020.
It focused on service delivery across 13 functional areas:
- Business Services (Mail, Parking and Transportation)
- Employee Housing
- Enrollment Services (Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Bursar, Immigration, Veterans)
- Equity and Accessibility
- Facilities (Building Management)
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Research (Sponsored Program, Secure Research)
- Safety and Security
- Student Services (International, Physical and Mental Health, Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Conduct, Dean of Students, Recreation and Wellness, Housing, and Career)
It focused on service delivery at six existing Virginia Tech sites in the region:
- Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in Alexandria
- Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington
- DC Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C.
- Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church
- Marion Dupont Equine Medical Center in Leesburg
- Occoquan Water Monitoring Laboratory in Manassas
Sibson Consulting interviewed a total of 98 D.C. area faculty, staff, and students from across all existing sites in the D.C. area. They interviewed 36 Blacksburg-based academic and administrative leaders that are responsible for, or support programs in the D.C. area.
The information and perspectives gathered will inform the ways in which Virginia Tech adds new or enhances existing service delivery for faculty, staff, and students in the greater Washington, D.C. area, over the next few years.
The needs of new sites may be informed by the results of the assessment, but will be captured through separate processes.
Academic and Student Support Services
Updated December 9, 2020
The Support Services Assessment was critical in informing and enhancing planning efforts already underway relative to academic and student support services. Addressing these needs requires the engagement of a number of senior management areas across the institution. And future growth will mean that students will have opportunities to connect locally and more directly with specific departments. These services will be delivered locally but in close coordination with the primary Blacksburg unit in order to facilitate integration and maintain consistency.
Greater Washington D.C. Area Faculty Services December 2020
These efforts are being led by representatives from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, including senior leaders and team members from the Graduate School, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, University Registrar, Student Affairs, University Libraries, Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness, and Academic Resource Management as well as representatives from various colleges, who are all working together to develop a comprehensive suite of services for students and faculty in the region. This working group, known as the Academic and College Operations Delivery Team, was originally established to support the Innovation Campus efforts but has since evolved to focus on the region as a whole.
The Graduate School, through the Graduate Student Services Office (GSSO) located in the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, has focused student support around admissions, registration and student status, processing of graduate school forms, plan of study review, transcript request support, immigration and international student services, orientation, and student events. Although located in Falls Church, office hours are also held at VTRC-A and the WAAC in Alexandria. Staff in this office make referrals to academic departments and other Blacksburg based offices as needed.
Students also work within their academic departments for academic advising, program specific questions, instructional, research and career support, and GA/GTA/GRA opportunities.
Augmenting the services currently offered through the GSSO based at Falls Church, the University expects to add local services in enrollment management, financial aid, immigration services, veteran services, health and wellness, advocacy and community resource development, and professional development.
The ultimate goal is a team of dedicated professionals who will provide locally based services closely linked to the related main campus services. This team, working both on-site in the D.C. metro area and in Blacksburg, will provide a more unified approach to the provision of services in the region by leveraging and extending the strong systems of support services that already exist.
Students will continue to rely on their academic departments for academic advising and program-specific questions, instruction, research and career support, and GA/GTA/GRA opportunities.
Students should expect to see the first of these additional services as soon as Fall 2020, and to see ongoing expansion as the number of programs and students in the region increases.
This fall, Virginia Tech launched a new website for students in the northern Virginia and greater Washington, D.C. metro area called the Greater Washington, D.C. Area Hokie One Stop. The site is designed to enhance and market new and elevate existing services to students in one location.
The website is an online version of a future in-person location in Northern Virginia that will feature a comprehensive suite of services including, but not limited to: new student information, enrollment and financial services, Hokie Passport, academic support, health and wellness programs, advocacy and conflict resolution services, library services and research support, and professional development and career related resources.
And, as a result of the assessment and student feedback, the university prioritized mental health services with the addition of a local counselor to serve students in the region.
The DC Hokie One Stop three major goals are:
- Connect students with services directly related to becoming a student, to the business of being a student in this region, and for academic success in the classroom and laboratory,
- Create a vibrant student community by directly providing or facilitating access to quality informational and educational resources, individual personal support as well engaging student events and activities, and
- Catalyze and support individual learning and research efforts, as well as utilization of networking, professional development and job search opportunities.
Students can search the site by specific need to more easily contact or make an appointment with the correct office or staff to help. Students can also expect a whole host of online resources, workshops, programs, etc. which became more accessible as more remote and distance options became available due to the COVID 19 health crisis.
Though student facing, the website could also be helpful to regional faculty and program coordinators as a way to understand what support is available and how a student would access it.
Once more in person activities are permitted, the Hokie One Stop team will be co-located with Graduate School staff on the fourth floor of the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, which houses many of the university’s academic programs.
Plans call for the Hokie One Stop to eventually be based at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus after it opens in Alexandria in 2024. Though it is expected, as is current Graduate School protocol, staff would spend time at each academic site in the region to meet with students as appropriate. Students at other regional sites should contact the office for referrals or zoom appointments.
Administrative and Operational Support Services
Updated April 16, 2020
The Support Services Assessment provided an overview and critical insights on the current state of administrative and operational services in the region. Presently, the delivery of services varies significantly by site and/or by unit, and there are multiple service providers, technologies, practices, and standards in place. By addressing the disjointed nature of administrative and operational services in the D.C. area, the University can improve the quality, accessibility, consistency, and efficiency of services for faculty, staff, and students regardless of location or discipline.
In collaboration with the Chief Business Officer Team, Vice President for Business Affairs, Lisa Wilkes is facilitating the work of five subcommittees. The subcommittees are part of the Operations and Administrative Delivery Team which was originally established to support the Innovation Campus efforts and develop a regional approach to service delivery.
The subcommittees are focused on administrative services, facilities management, parking and transportation, safety and security, and IT services. Each is led by a central, functional leader, except for the cross-functional administrative services subcommittee which is led by a member of the Organizational Excellence team.
Range of services in the following functional areas: Equity and Accessibility, Finance (Controller, Procurement, Hokie Passport), Human Resources, Mail Services
Building maintenance and management
Broad range from help-desk to instructional & research support
Transportation & Parking
Intra- and Inter-regional transportation, parking, transit options, etc.
Safety and Security
Police, security, emergency management, threat assessment, environmental health and safety, etc.
The subcommittees expect to make recommendations on a rolling basis, however, it is anticipated the majority of this work phase will wrap up in Fall 2020.
Lance Collins was named the new Vice President and Executive Director of the Innovation Campus and he will begin his new role August 1, 2020. Prior to then, he will be periodically engaging with ongoing and continuing planning for the campus until he arrives. Collins will be focused on leading Virginia Tech’s efforts related to our role in supporting the vision of the Commonwealth’s Tech Talent Pipeline for producing additional degrees in computer science and related fields. Over time, the Vice President and Executive Director is expected to assume oversight over university operations in the greater, Washington, D.C., metro area.
As more is known about academic program site alignment and the needs that emerge from the services assessment, appropriate staffing and leadership structures will be developed and incorporated into existing regional structures to support its implementation. The Vice President and Executive Director will be a new organizational unit initially staffed and budgeted to oversee development and opening of the Innovation Campus.
The colleges already have a comprehensive funding model that supports their academic and administrative efforts, including those in northern Virginia. The goal is to track all university financial activity, both income and expense, in the region to demonstrate over the long-term the return on investments Virginia Tech has and will make in the region.
There is also a goal of making space occupancy across facilities in the region cost neutral to the component organizations so that university leadership can make strategic assignments of programs, aligned with the themes. Without regard to various rent/subsidy differences that currently exist.
Just as in Blacksburg, administrative vice presidents/provosts and their management staff are responsible for the efficient and effective delivery of the support services for their domain at all extended campus locations. The goal of the services assessment and envisioned shared services approach is to better support and coordinate the delivery of these functions/services in areas away from Blacksburg. It is also intended to build those services to meet the specific needs of other regions. To accomplish this second goal, locally based day to day oversight and regional advisory groups will be created to shape the services of each shared service unit in each region.
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