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Week of May 22-26


Provost’s Office: New inductees to academies of faculty leadership, faculty service

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is recognizing three outstanding Virginia Tech with induction into the Academy of Faculty Leadership and the Academy of Faculty Service. The new members are being honored for exceptional leadership and/or service to the university beyond their usual responsibilities. The new inductees are as follows:

  • Bill Knocke, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering (Academy of Faculty Service and the Academy of Faculty Leadership) 
  • Kevin Edgar, professor of sustainable biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources and Environment (Academy of Faculty Leadership) 
  • Donna Wertalik, director of undergraduate student engagement and marketing professor of practice in the Pamplin College of Business (Academy of Faculty Leadership)

“The members of the Academy of Faculty Leadership and Academy of Faculty Service have distinguished themselves and Virginia Tech through their commitment to and accomplishments in teaching, research, and student engagement. I want to congratulate the newest members of these academies and thank each of them for their outstanding contributions to our university and for serving as a model for faculty excellence in the spirit of Ut Prosim.”

-Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke

Please join us in congratulating these outstanding faculty and thanking them for their service and leadership. For more information on the academies and their new members, please read this VT News article.

HR: Leadership Excellence program currently accepting applications, deadline June 9

Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural cohort of Virginia Tech’s Leadership Excellence program. Developed by Human ResourcesTalent Development team, the Leadership Excellence program is open to all faculty and staff.

Applications for the inaugural cohort are due June 9.

Leadership Excellence is part of the university's efforts to foster the continuous growth and development of leaders at Virginia Tech. This program will enhance leadership competencies to improve ability to lead, serve, and advance the university’s vision, mission, and values.

The goals of the Leadership Excellence program include:

  • Create an active learning environment where leaders can interact and tackle real-world problems in a safe, fail-friendly environment. 
  • Create a professional network of leaders to support continued learning and development beyond the program. 
  • Develop culturally responsive leaders to lead current and future teams with excellence in core competencies. 
  • Provide knowledge and support for leaders to confidently advance the Virginia Tech difference beyond boundaries.

The cohort will meet monthly and complete work between meetings with a total anticipated time of commitment of 8-10 hours each month.

For more information about the program or to apply, please read this campus notice or visit Human Resources’ Leadership Excellence website.

Faculty Affairs: Call for applications for Virginia Tech’s Faculty Fellows Program

The Office of Faculty Affairs announces a call for applications for Virginia Tech’s Faculty Fellows Program. In this part-time role, Faculty Fellows will work directly with the Faculty Affairs team and other senior leaders in developing and implementing programs and developing resources and policies to support faculty success and excellence.

The Faculty Fellows Program will provide opportunities to:

  • Engage and work with colleagues in different departments and colleges across all Virginia Tech campuses. 
  • Gain valuable knowledge and experience in higher education administration. 
  • Expand administrative skills in developing and implementing programs and policies in a decentralized university environment.  
  • Develop expertise in a content area(s) of faculty affairs.  
  • Contribute to decision-making in support of faculty program offerings and initiatives.

Faculty Affairs has particular interest in advancing programs and policies related to:

  • Faculty evaluation 
  • Collegiate faculty support 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives 
  • Navigating the university (for new faculty members) 
  • Academic leadership development

Proposals for other areas of focus or programs and policies are also welcome. Selected faculty will be expected to serve for a one-year period, as applicable to the assignment(s), with the possibility of renewal. Though the expected time-period for the Fellowship is the academic year, the start date may be negotiated to accommodate the faculty member’s other responsibilities.

For more information on the program and the application process, please visit the Faculty Fellows Program website or email Rachel Gabriele, associate vice provost for Faculty Affairs.

TLOS: Reminders when considering ChatGPT, generative AI tools at Virginia Tech

Faculty and administrators at schools across the country are continuing to discuss and learn more about ChatGPT, a generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) chat bot that was released in late November 2022. During these discussions, faculty are also hearing an array of strong opinions about the implications ChatGPT and the impacts it and similar generative AI tools might have for the future of teaching and learning.

In the midst of these competing and conflicting perspectives, Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS) encourages a measured approach that doesn’t veer into either blind optimism or doom-and-gloom scenarios. Instead, TLOS asks faculty to consider the following suggestions when making decisions about the courses they teach.

  • Become familiar with these generative AI tools in order to have an informed perspective. 
  • Consider the Virginia Tech Honor Code and its applicability to generative AI tools. 
  • Avoid being drawn into a confrontational mindset regarding these generative AI tools. 
  • Set clear expectations for your students regarding the use of generative AI/ChatGPT. 
  • Explore potential changes to your individual course design and/or assessment strategies.

For further information on ChatGPT/generative AI and additional recommendations and resources including a potential starting point for developing syllabus statements, please visit the TLOS resources website.

ICYMI: Faculty, staff feedback needed on new Accessible Information Management database

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is seeking input from faculty and staff on the new Accessible Information Management (AIM) database. SSD is nearing the end of its phase one rollout of the AIM database which allows them to automate the emailing of a student's Course Accessibility Letter (formerly “accommodation letter”) directly to instructors. SSD will pilot test the system with students over the summer with the goal of sending all student letters through the new system beginning in fall 2023.

Through the new AIM system, instructors can log in to the faculty dashboard to view a current list of student accommodations approved in their course. As part of this transition, SSD extensively reviewed and updated language used to describe accommodations to provide greater clarity, students with better service to students, and answer FAQs from instructors.

To prepare for this change, faculty are encouraged to do the following:

For questions, more information on the new AIM system, or to schedule a demo presentation for your department/unit, please visit SSD’s AIM database webpage for instructors or email SSD.

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.