September 2005

Welcome to Fall 2005! This year will be another significant year for graduate education at Virginia Tech. 

Updates & Announcements

  • Open House for the Graduate Life Center: September 16, 11:00 am — 4:00 pm
  • Graduate Alumni Homecoming: September 17th
  • Dialogue with the Dean: September 20th  in  the Graduate Life Center, Room D, 5:00 pm — 7:00 pm
  • GSA Graduate and Professional School Day: September 30, Commonwealth Ballroom, Squires Student Center, 10:00 am — 2:00 pm
  • Distinguished Lecture: October 11, Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ethical Brain
  • Fall 2005 application for degree and application for certificate conferral due by October 1st, for students names to be listed in commencement bulletin. This process can be done by student through Hokie Spa.

Graduate School Website
The Graduate School has a new website. You will find the pages easier to navigate and information easier to find. Please check out featured graduate students section for interesting information about our outstanding graduate students. Please spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the new format and do let us know about additional information or links that would be useful to your graduate students and your program.

Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
The Graduate Life Center (GLC) at Donaldson Brown was opened officially in August 2005 with the GTA Workshop, the Graduate Orientation, and a number of other activities that introduced students to this new facility.  Graduate students moved into the upper floors of the complex and the first floor was transformed into an academic and social space for graduate students. The GLC includes meeting spaces, seminar rooms, a computer lab, videoconferencing room, graduate reading room, career/health/wellness services space, graduate student lounge, offices for graduate student organizations, and a coffee shop. The Graduate School offices will move into the former “Alumni Hall” part of the building in July 2006. For more information and listing of events, please visit the GLC website.   Please come by and visit the Graduate Life Center.

Assistantship Agreement Application
The online Assistantship Agreement application has now entered its first phase of usage.  This phase of functionality allows users to select the academic year of the appointment, hours (or percentage) of the appointment and what pay step will be offered. The montly rate will be calculated based the entered hours or percentage and step. The in-state tuition and academic fee information will be automatically populated.  Once all information is confirmed, the assistantship agreement contract will be generated in a pdf format, ready to print. The next phase will add functionality to save the entered data so that users can return and make edits.  Also, the ability to track agreements by term will be added, allowing users to see the list of assistantship agreements that have been issued. We request that you provide any and all feedback you may have by e-mail to

Policies & Procedures Update
Last year, the Graduate School in conjunction with the Commission on Graduate Studies and  Policies implemented a number of changes in policy and procedures. I anticipate that more changes will be forthcoming this year, and we will continue to inform you via the monthly memos and updates to the webpage.  For your convenience, these are listed below.

  • ETD Deadline
    The final version of the electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD) must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than two weeks after the successful completion of the final examination.  If this deadline cannot be met, the advisor must send a request for an extension (e-mail is preferred) to the dean of the Graduate School.  Late submission of an ETD (other than with an approved extension) will require the student to be enrolled.
  • Probation and Dismissal
    A student whose cumulative GPA falls below a "B" (3.00) average will be placed on probation by the Graduate School. Enrollment for one semester of probation is normally permitted to remedy an unsatisfactory GPA. If, in the judgment of the faculty and the dean of the Graduate School, the student does not make satisfactory progress, permission to continue in the graduate program will be denied, and the student will be dismissed from the university.
  • Eligibility of Faculty/Staff for Graduate Degrees
    Teaching and research faculty members of the rank of assistant professor or above shall not become candidates for degree or be awarded degrees at this university. The provost’s office may be requested to waive this policy for an individual following successful appeal to the Commission on Faculty Affairs. Staff and administrative/professional faculty may become candidates for degrees with approval from the academic program, the university employer, and the graduate school.  To receive approval, candidates should address conflicts of interest, time, and commitment. Supervisors of these candidates should abstain from chairing and/or serving on the candidates’ graduate committees to avoid potential conflicts of interest.  
  • Electronic Theses and Dissertation (ETD) Archiving Fees Assessed through Banner (Student Accounts)
    Effective this semester, the ETD archiving fee will be assessed through banner and posted to the student’s account.  Students will no longer be required to make separate payment for this fee. Please inform your graduate students of this change in procedure.
  • Time-to-degree
    The financial aid office agreed to evaluate graduate student eligibility based on actual time-to-degree, rather than credit hours. 

Imaging and Online Application
More information will be forthcoming about the roll-out of the imaging system and changes in the online application.

Filing Deadlines for Examinations
Please note that existing policy requires a two-week period for scheduling [preliminary, final] examinations.  All exceptions must have approval of the graduate dean prior to holding the examination.  Please share this reminder with faculty, staff, and graduate students.

New Faces at the Graduate School (and old faces that are gone)
E. Hope McClure has joined the dean’s staff.
Jane Rorrer has joined the recruiting staff.

Roger Avery is the new associate dean of research and graduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Please direct correspondence to Karen DePauw or Anne McNabb.