March 2008

Welcome to the new Monthly Memo Format
The monthly memo is now coming to you in the format of a "corporate weblog".  Publication of this memo will now be exclusively online.  We will continue to distribute notification of publications via email as we have in the past.  You will also be able to subscribe, via RSS, to the monthly memo to allow your preferred RSS tool to notify you of the latest posting.  This will allow you to keep up-to-date without receiving email from the Graduate School, or your department.  Additionally, for those who use my.VT, you may add "Graduate School Monthly Memo" from the News heading as portal channel in my.VT.  To open an additional line of communication you are welcome to post comments to specific memos, and we will utilize the comment feature to solicit feedback in future memos.  You may review previous memos by looking at the "Archive" section on the right side of the page.

Graduate Education Week

Please check out the website for the GEW events.  Please consider sending some of your graduate students to the appreciation luncheon on Monday, March 24.  We hope to see you at many of the events next week. For events in the National Capital Region, please visit
Access to
The Graduate School is providing access to services free to our graduate students and faculty through May 2008.  Our intent is to allow graduate students to be proactive and to check their theses/dissertations (or papers) through access to the plagiarism prevention software.  We also invite faculty and GTAs to utilize the software for use in their classes.  More >>

Graduate Student learning outcomes for SACS

The July deadline for entering information about our graduate programs for SACS reaffirmation process is rapidly approaching.  Last December the CSG&P developed some foundational learning outcomes for graduate programs at VT.  I recommend that you review these as you prepare the information over the coming months.  The graduate student learning outcomes are attached.

Graduate Catalog update
We will be working through College contacts to begin the process of entering degree program information.  Our goal is to have a third done by May 15, two thirds by June 15, and all program information published by July 1, 2008.   These dates are set to coincide with internal SACS documentation timelines.

Mentoring of graduate students
As you know, quality mentoring for graduate students is an important aspect of their graduate degree.  The June 14, 2007, issue of Nature (volume 447) contains an excellent article.  I encourage you to read and share with your colleagues and graduate students.  Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Meeting about Yearly Graduate Reviews
On Thursday April 3, 1:00-2:30 pm, Rm F GLC, there will be a meeting for Graduate Program Directors to discuss the yearly reviews of individual graduate students. This is the third year that we have asked departments to share those reviews with the Graduate School so we have examples of a variety of review procedures. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the benefits to graduate students and departments of having an effective review system, to share examples of  successful review procedures and to help those who are setting up new review practices.  Contact Anne McNabb about discussion topics that are of special concern for your department.

The Big Event
On Saturday April 5th, 2008 George Mason University and Virginia Tech will come together for "The Big Event" to serve the Northern Virginia community. This first-ever collaborative effort between George Mason’s Arlington campus and Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region (NCR) campus will involve a clean-up project at the start of Four Mile Run in Falls Church.  Both campuses are excited to give back to the community and hope that you will join in the action!  The project will begin at 8:30AM at the Isaac Crossman Park entrance  (501 Van Buren, Falls Church) and will conclude at 11:00AM.  Water and snacks will be provided.  In addition, all volunteers who RSVP in advance will receive a FREE T-shirt!  Volunteers may get dirty cleaning the banks of a local stream so be  sure to dress accordingly.  Space is limited so please RSVP at by Friday March 28th. If you have any questions about "The Big Event" please contact Vasanth at

Online Admissions Application Review
The annual review of our online application and supplemental forms will begin next week.  This review is important to help ensure that individual department’s program information is being accurately reflected in the online version of the application.  All departments will be asked to participate and confirm the status quo or provide updates by April 15, 2008.  For questions about the review, please contact Jacqueline L. Nottingham, Director of Admissions & Academic Progress at 540/231-3092.

Preliminary/Final Examinations
Recently, we have learned that unscheduled preliminary examinations and final defenses have been held.  Formal scheduling of these examinations by the Graduate School is required before an examination should be held. Thus, the Advisor should have the examination card in hand before the exam.  Examinations held without prior scheduling will need to be rescheduled and conducted a second time.

Copyright Information and ETDs
ETDs are reviewed for format and checked for compliance with applicable university, state and federal guidelines, including the Federal Copyright Law (Title 17 in the U.S. Code). Figures, tables, images and other items reproduced or adapted from third party sources must meet the criteria established by the Copyright Law to be included in the published ETD. Items must be clearly cited and documented as specified by the Copyright Owner. It is the responsibility of the author to obtain the permissions from the Copyright Owner and to seek these permissions prior to the submission of the ETD. The Graduate School requires the written documentation of the permission before the formal ETD approval and the completion of one’s graduate degree.

Degree Completion
Students wishing to complete their degrees in Spring 2008, must defend by April 30th and complete all requirements by June 6, 2008.  For specific details related to commencement participation, where earlier deadlines may apply, see