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Week of August 1-5


Notice: Virginia Tech to livestream Board of Visitors meetings beginning this fall

Beginning with the first full board meeting of the 2022-23 academic year – which will be held on Tuesday, August 23 in Newport News – Virginia Tech will livestream all full board sessions held in open session, including board information sessions.

Access to the livestream will be available on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors website. This service will provide greater accessibility to these meetings to all members of the university community located across the commonwealth as well as for the general public.

In full compliance of Virginia law, Virginia Tech will continue to provide public notice of all board meetings that involve three or more board members at least three days prior to the meeting. Meetings of the full board held in open session will be available for public viewing; board committee meetings and any other meetings held in closed session will not be livestreamed.

For further information, please read this VTx article or visit the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors website.

CETL: Proposals for Faculty Teaching Group Grant Program due September 1

The Faculty Teaching Group Grant Program, offered through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), is designed for faculty members who would like to explore a topic related to higher education teaching and learning in a small and interactive learning community.

The primary goals of this grant program are to encourage faculty members to form collaborative support networks within or outside of their home departments and colleges, and to encourage exploration and discovery related to teaching and learning in higher education.

Groups will receive a $2,000 grant toward their proposed goals. Approximately five grants will be funded each year.

The program supports the exploration of a range of topics related to teaching and learning. For example, recent Faculty Teaching Group topics have included

  • supporting/mentoring early career university teachers, 
  • creating cross-discipline experiences in study abroad, 
  • developing learning experiences that incorporate multiple disciplines, 
  • incorporating R programming and data analytics in the classroom, 
  • exploring teaching and learning practices using telemedicine in clinical veterinary and medical education programs, 
  • building an online community among students, and 
  • creating a discipline-specific and university teaching-focused learning community with an emphasis on peer observation and reflection.

Proposals for the grant program should be submitted electronically on or before September 1, 2022.

For more information on evaluation criteria and example proposals, please visit the Faculty Teaching Group Grant Program website or email CETL.

IT: New process to allow departments, units to directly purchase qualifying software

IT Procurement and Licensing Solutions (ITPALS) has launched a pilot program that allows departments to follow an expedited process for purchasing qualifying low-risk software, software subscriptions, and IT services. In response to employee concerns about delays in the legal, business, and security review process, and as part of the larger IT Transformation initiative, the program will allow departments greater flexibility in some purchases while still protecting university data and systems.

During the pilot period, department heads will have additional delegated signature authority to purchase IT services or software meeting the requirements listed below:

  • Software must only involve low-risk data 
  • Software must not be integrated with any enterprise-level application (e.g., Canvas, Banner, Microstrategy, Login) 
  • Total cost must not exceed $10,000 per year or for one-time purchase 
  • Software must be sourced from trusted vendors 
  • Software must be for use within one senior management area or research project

Departments whose desired software meets these requirements may request an expedited purchase approval under this new pilot program beginning August 1. The request form includes an acknowledgement that requirements have been met. The vendor check is completed for purchases later in the process, as they proceed through the HokieMart workflow.

Software purchases that fall outside of these requirements are still subject to the standard software license agreement review. Users and their departments should review Virginia Tech’s departmental software list and software license database and select pre-approved software options to meet their needs when possible.  

During the pilot period, Virginia Tech Procurement, ITPALS, and the IT Security Office will monitor the process and gather information that will be used to refine the draft Standard for Delegated Authority for Procurement of Low-Risk Software and IT Services and the supporting process, paying special attention to needed refinements and identification of gaps or particular risks related to this change.

The pilot will conclude at the end of December 2022.  

More information about the program can be found on the ITPALS website. If you have further feedback or questions, please email the pilot program administrators.

Reminder: Faculty hired within the past year invited to New Faculty Welcome

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost cordially invites all new Virginia Tech faculty to the New Faculty Welcome on Thursday, August 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

The annual event, hosted by Faculty Affairs and with contributions from units across the university, is designed to provide overview information about the university, perspectives from current faculty, and an opportunity to network with colleagues. Separate and different from orientation sessions provided by Human Resources, the program allows faculty who arrived between August 10, 2021, and August 10, 2022, to connect with faculty and academic leaders across the campus.

The event is free to attend, but registration is required.

The New Faculty Welcome program also provides breakout informational sessions for Administrative and Professional Faculty and Teaching and Research Faculty. This targeted program content is designed to address the specific needs and interests of the different faculty groups.

In addition to the August 18 general welcome session, special sessions for new teaching and research faculty will be held on August 19 at the following times:

  • Special Teaching Session for New Faculty, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 
  • Special Research Session for New Faculty, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Informational presentations from past years' events and other resources are available on the New Faculty Welcome website. Faculty are encouraged to continue to check this site before and after the August 18 event for updated resources.

For more information on the event or registration, please email Leslie Sullivan, faculty affairs coordinator for the Office of Faculty Affairs.

ICYMI: Faculty, instructors invited to register for Summer Virtual Writing Retreat

Faculty Affairs invites Virginia Tech instructional faculty (tenured or tenure-track, collegiate, continued appointment or continued appointment track, research, extension, clinical, instructors, adjuncts) to participate in the Summer 2022 Virtual Writing Retreat.

Join colleagues from across the campus via Zoom on August 12 for a morning session (9:00 – 11:15 a.m.) and/or afternoon session (2:00 – 4:15 p.m.) of dedicated time to work on scholarly writing projects, teaching materials, creative or personal works, or any other writing activity you choose. The group will also work together during timed writing sessions (Pomodoros) with regular goal setting, check-ins, and celebrations.

The Summer 2022 Virtual Writing Retreat is free to attend, but registration is required. Faculty may attend one or both retreat sessions. Once registered, attendees will receive a Zoom link, which will work for both the morning and afternoon sessions. We understand that schedules are in flux, so registration is an expression of interest in attending, but does not obligate the registrant to attend.

For more information, please visit the Faculty Writing Retreats website. If you are a retreat attendee with a disability and desire an accommodation, please email Catherine Piché at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Additional Resources and Updates

If you have comments or recommendations for how we can improve the Weekly Communications Update or suggestions for specific information and topics that should be shared with faculty, staff, and academic program personnel, please provide them through this Google form or email Provost Communications.

Please visit VT Ready and the Provost’s website frequently for new and updated university information. All members of the campus community should also read their VTx Daily email for further important updates, notices, and resources.