January 2004

The January 2004 Monthly Memo from the Graduate School continues my commitment to enhanced communications about graduate education at Virginia Tech. I hope that you find this process informative and helpful. The Monthly Memos also appear on the Graduate School’s website. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcomed.


  • "Transformative Graduate Education" presentation and discussion by K. P. DePauw on Friday, January 30th in McBryde 113 10:15-11:45. Please invite faculty and graduate students to attend.
  • Nominations for student awards are requested by January 30, 2004.

Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees
The ‘03′-04 Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees (IPGD) was distributed January 12th. We are issuing a call for proposals, via a memo to the deans, for inclusion on the Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees for ’04-’05. Please contact the college dean for more information about the call and details of the college review process. We anticipate finalizing the “04-’05 IPGD by the end of the semester.

Graduate Education Week March 22-26, 2004

The preliminary schedule is:

Monday afternoon Proclamation & State of the Graduate School address
Tuesday GSA Research Symposium and Exposition (all day)
Wednesday sessions on Preparing the Future Professoriate & Future Professional
5:30 Invited Lecture by B. Whelan, Secretary of Education
Thursday Awards Banquet (evening, by invitation only)
Friday Luncheon for Research Exposition winners
Graduate School Cookout

We are currently preparing the master calendar of all events to be held during the week and hope that you will sponsor events for graduate students within the department. Please send your events to Monika Gibson so that we can put them on the poster. More information will be forthcoming.
Policies & Procedure Changes 

  • Independent Study for graduate students is a shared responsibility for the faculty and the graduate student and therefore, the independent study courses are being set up at the department level and require no approval beyond the department. Departments are responsible for registering students for independent study (if you cannot register an independent study after the "add" deadline, contact the Graduate School, 1-8306). Independent Study courses will remain as a P/F graduate course and will carry the generic title of Independent Study. Independent study should be used as a supplement to the graded graduate courses required on a plan of study.
  • GRE scores will no longer be a requirement of the Graduate School. The decision to require GRE scores should reside with the faculty at the department or college level and the Graduate School will support your decision to use GREs (or GMATs, etc.). Until this recent action, GRE scores were still required of international students but not domestic students and thus, our change in policy.
  • The University Council approved a revision to the Annual Progress Review process (Presidential Policy #229). Please utilize this policy in developing and implementing departmental guidelines for conducting annual progress reviews for your graduate students. The Graduate School would like to have a copy of your guidelines – please send a copy to Roger Avery by July 1, 2004 (VT Graduate School, 100 Sandy Hall, Mail Code 0325, Blacksburg, VA 24061).
  • Graduate certificate guidelines have also been approved and are available for departments wishing to offer graduate certificates. [refer to “Resolutions”]

Graduate School Processing and Procedures Changes
We are continuing to review and revise Graduate School processes and procedures to increase efficiency and effectiveness. These include the following:

  • Departments can check the web for action regarding course approval requests. We plan to send regular reminders to department heads so that you will be informed of the status of your course approval requests.
  • AA forms – As a matter of routine, AA forms will be issued to the department after the file is considered complete by the Graduate School. The AA form includes the basic information about the applicant. Please note that a complete file for the Graduate School (application, fee, official transcript, TOEFL scores as appropriate, GRE scores if department requires) is different than a complete file for the Department (application, transcripts, TOEFL scores, other test scores [GREs], letters of recommendation, supplemental form, and more). To assist you, we will write the test scores (e.g., GREs, TOEFL) and indicate if the scores are official or self-reported by students directly on the AA form. There are times when you might wish to recommend action on an application prior to having the complete file and to facilitate this, we will issue the AA form upon your request.
  • Priority processing – in order to expedite admission decisions, we are implementing a system by which you can specify the timeframe within you wish to make recommendations. The system includes the following components:
    • 24 Hour Requests. If you have a need to receive the AA forms from the Graduate School, or should you need a priority decision to be placed on a student, please contact Angie Webb. Such requests will be processed within 24 hours. Examples are not limited to but would include the following: Student needs acceptance in order to register by deadline. Student needs acceptance in order to put assistantship into Banner by deadlines. Department is interviewing top applicant and needs information. Acceptance needed in order to process international paperwork in certain circumstances.
    • Rush Requests. If you need to have the AA forms within 5 days, please contact Angie Webb. We will process the files and prepare the AA forms within 5 days.
    • Specific deadline requests. Please continue to inform Angie Webb of the dates by which you intend to make decisions and we will work with you to get the files completed in a timely fashion for your review.

    PLEASE NOTE: It is important that you do preliminary screening for those priority applications. You should request priority processing for selected applicants (pre-screened by the department) and not all applications. You can screen for priority applicants by running a pending report for your department (SYRA951) and then sharing the names (ID#s) with us. This will assist us in responding to your requests in a timely fashion. Thanks.