August 2007

Welcome to the new academic year! Graduate School activities started with a Week of Welcome on August 13th with GTA Workshop, international student orientation, and graduate student orientations in Blacksburg and the National Capital Region. These events were well attended and the incoming graduate students are very enthusiastic and rapidly becoming a part of the graduate community. The Week of Welcome culminated with the Welcome Back Picnic on Friday, August 24th 4-6 pm on the GLC Lawn. Nearly 1000 students participated in the various events during the week.

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

  • Miya Simpson, Ph.D. has assumed a new position as Director of Academic Program Review
  • Holly Cromer, Janae King, and Elizabeth O’Connell are all new members of the Graduate Admissions & Academic Process unit

News from the National Capital Region
On August 9, 2007, at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region and the University of Virginia hosted the dedication of a Hokie Stone bench and a tree in remembrance of April 16th.

New Student Orientation and an English Placement test were scheduled on August 18, 2007.

The Graduate Student Assembly in the National Capital Region welcomed the students back with at a social on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at the Northern Virginia Center.

Hokie Passports will be available September 24-25 in the National Capital Region’s Library/Resource Center from 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Please contact the GSSO or the Library at if you have any questions.

The dissertation support group will begin the semester in September. The group meets every other week at the Northern Virginia Center, room 324 at 7:00. The schedule will be posted at Please contact the GSSO at if you have any questions.

A Graduate School Information Fair is scheduled for October 17, 2007. For more information please visit

This is a reminder that the NCR Methods Consortium is available to help with research and statistics problems. The webpage for the consortium is, The phone number is 703-538-8371 and the email is

Initial Announcement about Awards
The Graduate School is requesting nominations for the Preston Thesis Awards and for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) Master’s Thesis Awards. The Preston Thesis Award is given in two categories to graduate students whose master’s theses present the best original research with potential to benefit all people. For the 2007-08 academic year, the two categories are (1) Life Sciences and (2) Social Sciences, Business and Education. The Preston Thesis Award winners will be automatically nominated for the CSGS awards. In addition to those two winners, nominations are also sought for a CSGS thesis award for the Innovative Application of Technology to Scholarship in a Master’s Thesis. Nomination deadline is September 14 at 4pm. See attachments for more details.

Advance VT and the Graduate School will offer the Clare Boothe Luce Ph.D. Fellowship Program again this year. As you meet prospective women graduate students in the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering, please keep them in mind for a nomination. We had great candidates last year, but no one accepted our offer. We’d like to get together and strategize about how we can turn fellowship offers into acceptances. Please join us for Getting to Yes!: Turning Offers into Acceptances. The session will be on Tuesday, September 18th in room C in the Graduate Life Center.

Week of Welcome a success!
Phase I of the GTA workshop was attended by 670 new graduate students. The workshop consisted of three half days, Aug. 13-15, followed by the beginning of Phase II sessions on Blackboard training. There were some new offerings this time, namely a panel of outstanding instructors who conducted a collaborative discussion with small groups addressing teaching scenarios, with all 670 new grads in the GLC Auditorium. Some of the discussion groups reported back about their creative ideas at the end of the exercise and engaged the panel in continued discussion. Also new was an interactive presentation on creating community in the classroom. A wide variety of Phase II sessions start the first week of September and continue into early October.

Policies & procedures updates
In spring 2007, CGS&P modified two graduate policies:
(1) PhD Residency: "At least two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment must be completed at the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus to fulfill the Residency Requirement. Individual degree programs may request an alternative to the Blacksburg campus requirement by petitioning the Graduate School".
(2) Plan of Study Submission: "Plans of study are due by the end of the second academic semester for all Master’s students, and are due by the end of the third academic semester for doctoral students".

Policy Reminder
In 2004 GCS&P defined the Qualifications Required to be the Instructor of Record in a Graduate Course. "In order to be the instructor of record in a graduate course, one must: (1) hold a graduate degree (i.e., the terminal degree in the discipline) and (2) cannot be currently enrolled as a graduate student in the same department. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Graduate School".