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Department Heads Council

In fall semester 2006, a group of department heads met to discuss their desires and goals for a better collective future at Virginia Tech. As a result of their discussions—and with the enthusiastic support of the provost—the Department Heads Council and its Executive Committee were formed.


  • To focus on developing a better collective future for Virginia Tech's academic departments and their leaders,
  • To operate as an advisory and support group to enhance existing administrative and faculty governance structures, and
  • To participate in the design and delivery of training programs that would support the development of existing and future department heads/chairs at Virginia Tech.

Department Heads Council Information

  • 2019-2020 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Steve Holbrook, Department Head, Geosciences, and Dr. Matt Holt, Department Head, Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • 2018-2019 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Glenda Gillaspy, Department Head, Biochemistry, and Dr. Laura Hungerford, Department Head, Population Health Sciences
  • 2017-2018 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Luke Lester, Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Mark Pitt, Department Head, Physics
  • 2016-2017 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Jackie Bixler, Department Head, Foreign Language and Literatures, and Dr. Joel Snodgrass, Department Head, Fish and Wildlife Conservation
  • 2015-2016 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Stephanie Adams, Department Head, Engineering Education, and Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic, Department Head, Human Development
  • 2014-2015 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council:  Dr. Janaki Alavalapati, Department Head, Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, and Dr. Eric Paterson, Department Head, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • 2013-2014 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Joe Eska, Department Chair, English, and Dr. Mary Leigh Wolfe, Department Head, Biological Systems Engineering
  • 2012-2013 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Reza Barkhi, Department Head, Accounting and Information Systems, and Dr. François Elvinger, Department Head, Population Health Sciences
  • 2011-2012 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Sam Easterling, Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Ken Eriksson, Department Head, Geosciences.
  • 2010-2011 co-chairs of the Department Heads Council: Dr. Sue Magliaro, Director, School of Education, and Prof. Scott Poole, Director, School of Architecture + Design.
  • The Department Heads Council membership includes the heads and chairs of all academic units (e.g., departments and schools).
  • The Department Heads Council meets collectively at least once each semester with the provost and president (and other senior admistrators as appropriate).
  • The Council hosts monthly forums on topics of interest to their members.
  • The Department Heads Council's Executive Committee includes two elected heads or chairs from each college, each serving two-year terms.
  • Terms are staggered to provide continuity in college representation within the Executive Committee.
  • The Executive Committee has a chair and vice-chair.
  • The Executive Committee meets with the provost (and other senior administrators as appropriate) on a monthly basis to maintain a two-way dialogue on key issues as they arise and provide a timely means of advisory input.
  • The Department Heads Council and its Executive Committee have the authority to establish standing committees and task-oriented study groups that focus on specific issues of importance to department heads/chairs and school directors.
  • The outcomes of these subcommittees and study groups are advisory to the collective group and to the members of the senior administration.  They do not consititute any formal aspect of the university governance system.
  • The provost's office coordinates leadership development programming for newer academic leaders.
  • Mentoring activities are also available to faculty who wish to develop their administrative and leadership skills in preparation for future service in a leadership role.
  • For more information on academic leadership development, email Assistant Provost Amy Hogan.
  • A Department Heads Council listserv exists for the use of Virginia Tech department heads/chairs and school directors. Listserv membership is limited to that group.
  • Any member of the Department Heads Council listserv may post a message to the group at Posts from any non-member will be rejected.
  • The listserv provides an opportunity for dialogue among the heads/chairs on emerging issues of interest to the collective group.

Department Heads Council Resources

Department Heads Council Executive Committee.pdf Department Heads Council Executive Committee Members
Department Heads Council Membership List.pdf Department Heads Council Membership List

Upcoming Events

2019-2020 Department Heads Council calendar.pdf


For more information regarding the Department Heads Council, its Executive Committee, forums, meetings, or the council listserv, please email Cyndi Hutchison, Provost's Office.