November 2004

The Graduate School is currently seeking nominations for the graduate student awards that will be presented during Graduate Education Week for academic year 2004-2005. Forms and deadlines for Graduate Student Awards are now available.

December Commencement
December Commencement is scheduled for Friday, December 17, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum. Check-in for all candidates begins at 1:30 and ends at 2:30 p.m. Faculty who are processing and hooding professors should be lined up no later than 2:30 PM in the Practice Gyms at Cassell Coliseum. The procession will begin at 2:45 and ceremony begins promptly at 3:00.

Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees (IPGD)
The call for proposals for inclusion on the 05-06 Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees is attached along with the current IPGD. Please review these documents and submit your proposals by March 1, 2005 to the Graduate School.

Health Insurance premium for Fall ‘05
Effective Fall 2005, the university has decided to cover 70% of the insurance premium (at the single rate) for graduate students on assistantships (GA, GTA, GRA). Although the actual cost of the health insurance premium has not yet been finalized, this is a substantial increase over the subsidy for health insurance provided over the last few years. The percentage covered will increase to 90% in no more than 2 years. This program replaces the subsidy program in that graduate assistants (GTA, GRA, GA) will need to be enrolled in the university sponsored health insurance program in order to receive the financial benefit. In your assistantship offers, you can include a statement regarding health insurance coverage along with stipend amount and tuition remission.

Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
The Graduate School is strongly committed to building graduate community at Virginia Tech. A significant accomplishment is the decision to convert Donaldson-Brown into graduate housing and a graduate life center. In the Fall 2005, the first floor of Donaldson Brown will become a Graduate Life Center and the upper floors will be available for graduate students who wish to live on campus. The Graduate Life Center will include office space for GSA, other graduate student organizations, and the BOV graduate student representative. In addition, we are planning meeting spaces for graduate student organizations, library resource space, seminar rooms, technology area, a coffee shop, wellness space and a lounge. Wireless technology will be available throughout the building. Sometime during Fall 2005, the Graduate School will move its operations into the mezzanine and second floors of Alumni Hall. The plans will be finalized over the next few months.

Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies (CGS&P)
The commission has placed a limitation on the amount of time a student may spend in the “visiting graduate student status”. The requirement will now read:

Visiting Graduate Student
A graduate student in good standing at another university may be permitted to take graduate courses by submitting a Visiting Graduate Student Letter of Approval, available in the Graduate School office or at This status is normally limited to one calendar year or 18 credit hours.

The commission has changed the language that describes the membership of the master’s final examination committee.

Final Examination (Master’s)
An oral and/or written final examination is required of all master’s programs (see departmental policy for specific format). Please review the preceding sections on Registration, Scheduling of Examinations, and Completion of Examinations for appropriate information. Normally, the advisory committee will carry out the examination, and can be supplemented by additional members as appropriate. For some non-thesis master’s programs, final exams are not structured as above. For more information about such programs consult the departmental policies and procedures document.

Update on Imaging system
We are currently in the final stages of selecting the vendor for the new Imaging System for the Graduate School. The bid and review process has extended longer that expected but we hope to announce the vendor shortly. Implementation will begin late Fall/early Spring with the Graduate School and will be extended to departments soon thereafter. This is a positive step forward toward increased effectiveness and efficiency in processing applications.

The Graduate School is beginning the process of preparing the 2005-2006 Institutional Plan for Graduate Degrees. This will be comprised of a list of degree programs that are approved for development to begin during the 05/06 academic year. The intention is that these programs would be implemented no later than Fall 2008.

We anticipate that colleges will review and select from proposals generated by their academic units. We would like to receive the college-approved proposals by March 1st so that we can finalize the 05-06 IPGD by the end of the Spring 2004 semester.

Please provide the following information (in two pages or less) for degree programs you wish to have considered for inclusion on the plan:

  • Need and Demand for the degree
  • Target audience
  • Faculty resources to be utilized
  • Graduate courses (existing and proposed) underpinning the degree
  • Conformity with the VT Strategic Plan particularly with regard to research emphasis and interdisciplinary nature
  • Source of financial support
  • Anticipated implementation date
  • The proposed degrees currently listed on the wish list will be considered for pre-approval in this review cycle. Please review the current “wish list” and indicate those proposals that should be removed from consideration. The 04-05 IPGD is attached.

Please send proposals to Roger Avery in the Graduate School by March 1, 2005.