August 2006

Welcome to the new academic year! This year should prove to be another exciting one for graduate education at Virginia Tech starting with the re-opening of the Graduate Life Center (GLC) at Donaldson Brown and the move of the Graduate School to the GLC. On August 4th, we closed our offices in Sandy Hall and opened our doors to the newly renovated Graduate School offices in the part of the GLC once known as Alumni Hall. Graduate student residents of the GLC moved into the building on August 12th. Although minor renovations will continue for some weeks, the entire complex, with the exception of the auditorium, will be fully operational starting August 21st. We are planning a grand opening in October but please come by to visit when you get a chance.

New faces in the Graduate School
Please join us in welcoming new Graduate School staff:

Miya T. Simpson, Ph.D., Director of Development for the Graduate School
Jennifer Catalano (Jenny), Admissions & Academic Progress
Cheng Hu, Web Application Developer
James R. Turner, Ph.D., Interim Associate Provost for Diversity

Temporary Expedited Admissions Status
Occasionally, students learn about a course that they’d like to pursue at the last minute. In order to accommodate these students, we have developed the Application for Expedited Admissions and are implementing a pilot test for this fall. This paper application can only be used for students who wish to apply within one week before classes begin and up to the last day to add courses. For fall semester, 2006, those dates are Monday, August 14th thru Friday, August 25th. This is a one-time status and allows registration for no more than 6 credits in the semester when the student applies for this status. For more information, please review recent email from, or contact, Jacqueline Nottingham, phone: 231-3092, email:

Week of Welcome a success!
The Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) workshop was a success! Phase I of the GTA Workshop for 2006 was attended by about 570 new graduate students for three half days, August 14-16. Workshop attendees also will attend two sessions in Phase II of the workshop from August to October. There were excellent presentations and panels by faculty and continuing GTAs (approximately 50 contributors) that were very well received.

Policies & procedures updates
During the spring semester, we added a site to our webpage called Procedures and Guidelines in which you can find some helpful information about recent changes in policy or procedures. We will keep you updated as new policies and procedures are reviewed and revised.


  • September 1, 4:30 – 6:00 Graduate student welcome on Graduate School lawn
  • September 2, 10:30-12:30 3rd annual Graduate Alumni Homecoming
  • NCR Graduate Alumni Organization will hold its first event scheduled for September 19th, 2006 and will showcase Natural Resources
  • The Graduate School gets many requests for Late Course Drops and Withdrawals that result from inattention to registration problems. Most of these could be avoided, so please consider announcing the following at departmental graduate orientation meetings at the beginning of the semester: (1) graduate students should check Hokie Spa to make sure they are enrolled in the correct courses during the first week of classes so problems can be corrected early, (2) instructors should check that all students attending their classes are on the class list available through Faculty Access before the end of the first week of classes. Students who aren’t on the class list should not be allowed to participate in a class.
  • The new Graduate School brochure, Transforming Graduate Education, will be coming to your units within the next week. Please let Marilyn Kershaw (1-2494) know if you want additional copies.