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Chapter 1: Mission and Governance of the University

1.0 Mission and Governance of the University

Inspired by our land-grant identity and guided by our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is an inclusive community of knowledge, discovery, and creativity dedicated to improving the quality of life and the human condition within the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world.

1.1 Governance of the University

The Board of Visitors is the governing body of the university. The board appoints the president of the university who serves as the chief executive. The president may delegate authority to the executive vice president and provost (also referred to as the “provost”) and vice presidents.

1.1.1 Governance

Governance organizational chart, Faculty Handbook

Governance organizational chart, Faculty Handbook
Governance organizational chart.

1.1.2 Board of Visitors

By statute of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the governing body of the university is the Board of Visitors, which exists as a corporation under the control of the Virginia General Assembly. The board is comprised of 14 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the governor subject to confirmation by the Senate of Virginia, with a four-year term that is eligible for reappointment of a successive four years. The president of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services serves as the fourteenth member, by virtue of position, with the term running concurrently from July 1 through June 30. A rector and a vice-rector are elected annually among the members of the board, and, by state statute, either the rector or vice-rector must be a resident of Virginia.  The vice president for policy and governance serves as secretary to the board.  The board appoints two non-voting student representatives (one undergraduate, one graduate/professional) who serve a one-year term and attend open sessions of board meetings. The presidents of the faculty and staff senates sit with the board at all meetings, except those held in closed session, and participate in discussion without authority to vote or to make or second motions. By law, the board meets at least once a year, but typically meets quarterly to consider policy matters and to review the progress of the university.

The Board of Visitors is responsible for institutional policies except those under the direct jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Virginia. By statute, the board is charged with the care, preservation, and improvement of university property and with the protection of the safety of students and other persons residing on such property. The board regulates the government and discipline of students. The board has authority over the roads and highways within the university campus and may prohibit entrance to the property of undesirable and disorderly persons or eject such persons from the property. The board is also responsible for ensuring that the university does not incur an unauthorized deficit or members shall be held personally liable.

Some examples of the board’s responsibilities as specified by state statute or developed through tradition and practice include:

  • appointing the president
  • approving appointments and setting salaries of faculty, university staff, and other personnel
  • establishing fees, tuition, and other charges imposed by the university on students
  • reviewing and approving university budgets and overseeing the university’s financial management
  • reviewing and approving the establishment and discontinuance of new colleges, departments, and degrees
  • ratifying appointments by the president or vice presidents
  • representing the university to citizens and officers of the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially in clarifying the purpose and mission of the university
  • approving promotions, grants of tenure, and employment of selected individuals
  • reviewing and approving physical plant development of the campuses
  • the commemorative naming of buildings and other major facilities on campus reviewing and approving real property transactions
  • exercising the power of eminent domain
  • reviewing and approving personnel policies for the faculty and university staff
  • subject to the management agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Tech, the board has full responsibility for the management of Virginia Tech.

1.1.3 Governance by Shared Responsibility

There is a wide recognition of the complexity of university governance and general acknowledgment of the need for faculty, staff, and student participation in the conduct of university affairs. The University Council, university commissions, university advisory council, and university standing committees provide an organizational structure through which faculty, staff, student, and administrative priorities and concerns are shared and fulfilled.

The University Council and university commissions constitute the main resident bodies for policy formulation. Their memberships include representatives from administration, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, college faculty associations, administrative and professional faculty, Graduate Student Assembly, Student Government Association, and representatives from other groups where appropriate. The university commissions formulate and recommend policies to the University Council, which in turn makes recommendations to the president. Final authority rests with the president and the Board of Visitors.

The constitutions and bylaws of the University Council, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and Graduate Student Assembly are published on their respective Virginia Tech websites:

Persons concerned with the governance of the university are encouraged to consult the constitutions and bylaws of these organizations. The constitution and bylaws of the University Council contain the membership lists for the council, commissions, and committees. Also available are lists of the specific persons who hold membership on the various bodies. The Office of the Vice President for Policy and Governance maintains membership lists available on the governance website.

1.1.4 University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning

The university Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning serves a primary advisory role for the university budgeting and planning processes. It reports jointly to the president and the University Council. Areas for consideration include: monitoring the university’s planning and budgeting processes; participating in and advising on the development of biennial budgets, formulation of the university plan, development of university capital and facilities plans, and available resources; consulting on other budget and planning matters; addressing matters of policy relative to budget and planning appropriate for governance consideration and, in such instances, making recommendations to the University Council.

1.1.5 University Council

The function of the University Council is to advise the president on matters of university governance; to accept functions and authority delegated to it by the president; and to review and make recommendations on matters of concern to university faculty, staff, students, and administration. Any council member, in accordance with its constitution and bylaws, may place such matters on the University Council agenda. The University Council refers appropriate matters to the commissions, advisory councils, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, groups, or individuals for consideration and recommendation.

1.1.6 University Commissions

University commissions are responsible for fulfilling their charge as outlined in the University Council constitution and bylaws. The University Council secretary maintains an accessible record of university operational committee chairs, members, and approved minutes of meetings. Each university operational committee maintains approved meeting minutes for publishing by the University Council secretary. The commissions are:

1.1.7 University Committees

On recommendation of the University Council, the president constitutes on a continuing basis the university standing committees to address matters of a university-wide interest. Each standing committee reports directly to at least one commission. The university standing committees are:

  • Academic Support Committee
  • Athletics Committee
  • Campus Development Committee
  • Commencement Committee
  • Employee Benefits Committee
  • Energy and Sustainability Committee
  • Faculty Honorifics Committee
  • Graduate and Professional Curriculum Committee
  • Honor Council
  • Information Technology Services and Systems Committee
  • Intellectual Property Committee
  • Library Committee
  • Pathways General Education Curriculum Review Committee
  • Transportation and Parking Committee
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
  • University Curriculum Committee for General Education

The president constitutes ad hoc and special committees as needed. In addition, university operational committees are constituted on a continuing basis and appointed by the president, provost, or vice president. These committees deal with matters of university-wide interest that fall primarily within the responsibilities of the appointing officer. Unless made the subject of specific legislation to the contrary, each university operational committee is constituted, charged, and staffed as the appointing administrative officer deems appropriate. The secretary of the University Council maintains a record of university operational committee chairs, members, and approved minutes of meetings so that the information is accessible. Each university operational committee maintains approved minutes of its meetings and provides a copy to the secretary of the University Council.

1.1.8 University Policies, Administrative Policies, and Presidential Policy Memoranda

University Policies

In addition to policies outlined in the Faculty Handbook, university policies are generally applicable to more than one office or department of the university. University Council and the university commissions constitute the main resident bodies for university policy formation. The university commissions formulate and recommend policies to the University Council, which in turn, makes recommendations to the university president. Final authority rests with the university president and the Board of Visitors.

Administrative Policies

Administrative policies are issued by the vice presidents who are responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of policies and procedures relating to their areas. This responsibility includes conducting a review of policies at least every four years and issuing proper notification of changes and updates to policies and procedures.

Presidential Policy Memoranda

Presidential policy memoranda provide information regarding policies and procedures that apply to specific situations, groups or individuals. Presidential policy memoranda are issued by the university president and are available on the university’s policy website.

The president may approve exceptions to any policy excluding matters prescribed by state or federal law or those policies that require approval by the Board of Visitors.

The Office of the Vice President for Policy and Governance (OVPPG) serves as the policy manager for the university and administers the policy review process, coordinates communication of new and revised policies to the university community, and maintains the official university policy archive including the university’s official list of policies and policy numbers. The OVPPG maintains the university policies website, which is the official repository of record for university policies.

1.2 Additional Governance Organizations

1.2.1 College Faculty Associations

The general faculty is formally organized by faculty associations in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture and Urban Studies, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment, Science, and Veterinary Medicine, as well as in the University Libraries and Virginia Cooperative Extension (“Extension”). These associations have constitutions that designate the purposes of the association, membership, officers, election procedures, standing committees and their duties, and other organizational and procedural matters. The Pamplin College of Business vests similar rights and responsibilities on its faculty members through a less formal structure.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) faculty are formally organized in a faculty assembly composed of faculty with a primary appointment to the VTCSOM of any rank on the tenure-to-title track and non-tenure-to-title track and faculty with a secondary appointment to VTCSOM of any rank. Further information regarding the VTCSOM faculty assembly is available in the VTCSOM Faculty Guidelines.

1.2.2 Staff Senate

The purpose of the Staff Senate is to create an effective staff organization that fosters collaborative and cooperative shared responsibility among staff, faculty, administration, and students to promote the general welfare of the university.

The functions of the Staff Senate are to serve as the representative body for staff employees of Virginia Tech; to act in an advisory capacity to the university administration and governance system; to appoint or recommend staff representatives to University Council, commissions, advisory councils, and committees; to facilitate the exchange of information between staff and the administration; to foster a spirit of unity and cooperation; to provide referral for individual concerns and problems to appropriate organizations or personnel, and to accept and share responsibility with the administration, faculty, and students in all efforts to attain the stated goals of the university.

1.2.3 Student Government Association

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the official representative body for undergraduate students. Popular elections for officers and senators of SGA are held annually each spring. Senators are elected within academic colleges to represent proportionate enrollment in each respective college. The student senate and house make up the legislative branch of the SGA. The representatives to the house are elected or appointed by student organizations across the university.

The functions of the Student Government Association are to express opinion on university affairs as the legislative branch of the SGA deems appropriate and necessary; to establish an effective means for advising and responding to the University Council, university commissions, the university administration, the Faculty Senate, the Board of Visitors, and the public on university affairs; to participate in the formulation of academic and educational policies that concern more than one college, division, or center at the university; to consider policies, programs, and other matters as the administration, college faculties, student organizations, and individuals of the university may propose; to afford avenues and procedures whereby communications within the university may flow freely, fully, and systematically; to help create, maintain, and protect a university environment conducive to the richest growth of scholarship, learning, teaching, research, and respect or dignity and rights, and to accept and share responsibility with the administration and faculty in all efforts to improve the stature and value of the university.

1.2.4 Graduate Student Assembly

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is the governing and representative body of on-and off-campus graduate (and professional) students. The graduate students in each degree-granting department elect two members to the assembly. Every year the GSA governing board and delegates work to improve campus life, scholarly development, and the graduate community by creating and implementing goals based on the issues and concerns of graduate and professional students at Virginia Tech.

The functions of the Graduate Student Assembly are to represent the interests of graduate and professional students in all university activities and to facilitate the exchange of information between the university and graduate and professional students; to solicit, compile, and promote graduate and professional student opinions and concerns and to develop and recommend policies concerning graduate and professional students to the university; to cooperate and communicate with the graduate school and other university administrative bodies to improve the quality of graduate and professional educational programs, graduate and professional academic activities including research and graduate teaching programs, and to provide and develop relevant programs for the augmentation of graduate and professional student life and welfare.

1.2.5 Faculty Senate

The purpose of the Faculty Senate is to create an effective faculty organization that can enter into partnership for shared responsibility and cooperative action between the faculty, staff, administration, and students to promote the general welfare of the university.

The membership of the Faculty Senate consists of elected faculty members. A faculty member is eligible to be elected to the Faculty Senate and to vote in the election of faculty senators if the faculty member holds: (1) the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor [this includes faculty in the clinical professor series, professor of practice series, collegiate professor series, and all ranks of instructor]; (2) a full-time and continuing appointment to the university; (3) an appointment or tenure in an academic department, University Libraries, or Extension.

Although otherwise qualified, those faculty members in administrative positions at the college level, the university level, or University Libraries, and those faculty members studying for a degree at the university are ineligible.

Faculty Senate members, though uninstructed representatives of their constituents, have the responsibility to seek the opinions of their electorate. Having done so, they make decisions and vote on matters brought before the Faculty Senate according to their own reasoned judgment.

The functions of the Faculty Senate are to establish within the laws applicable to the university an effective means for advising and responding to the university commissions, the University Council, the administration, and the Board of Visitors on university affairs; to express opinion on university affairs as the Faculty Senate deems appropriate and necessary; to participate in the formulation of academic and educational policies that concern more than one college, division, or center; to consider policies, programs, and other matters that the administration, college faculties, student organizations, and individuals of the faculty may propose; to afford avenues and procedures whereby communications within the university may flow freely, fully, and systematically; to help create, maintain, and protect a university environment conducive to the richest growth of scholarship, learning, teaching, research, service, and respect for human dignity and rights; to accept and share responsibility with the administration, staff, and students in all efforts to improve the stature and usefulness of the university, and to provide university faculty with a voice in matters of broader concern.

The standing committees of the Faculty Senate are the Committee on Reconciliation, the Faculty Review Committee, and the Committee on Faculty Ethics. The Faculty Senate cabinet is comprised of the officers and representatives of each of the colleges and the University Libraries. It is concerned primarily with the general business of the Faculty Senate. The president of the Faculty Senate may create additional work groups and ad hoc committees as necessary to address specific issues or concerns of the faculty.

1.2.5.1 Committee on Reconciliation

The Committee on Reconciliation is composed of eight tenured faculty members eligible for membership in the Faculty Senate. Faculty appointed to administrative positions with responsibility for recommending promotions, salary adjustments, and distribution of teaching, research, and Extension assignments are ineligible for membership. The function of this committee is to offer advice and counsel to faculty members who seek it, particularly in relation to disputes with immediate supervisors or university administrators.

The committee has a designated role within the grievance process to assist in resolving disputes that are eligible for consideration as a grievance if so requested by the faculty member. The Committee on Reconciliation can help facilitate conversations between faculty members and their supervisors with the goal of reaching mutually agreeable solutions. See the relevant grievance procedure for guidance on valid and ineligible issues for grievance that define the committee’s purview in relation to the grievance process. Faculty members who wish to engage the assistance of the committee in the context of a potential grievance submit their request concurrently to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the chair of the Committee on Reconciliation within 30 calendar days of the time when the faculty member knew, or should have known, of the event or action that is the basis for the potential grievance. The Executive Vice President and Provost automatically grants a 60-day postponement of grievance timelines for the Committee on Reconciliation to attempt to resolve the complaint between the parties.

In addition, faculty members may consult the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation concerning serious disagreements with immediate supervisors or other university administrators regarding issues that are not eligible for consideration within the grievance process. In such instances, the committee contacts the relevant administrator to determine if there is an interest and willingness to explore informal resolution of the dispute. The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost need not be notified to initiate discussions with the committee in such instances.

Cooperation and candor from all members of the university community are prerequisite to the successful functioning of the Committee on Reconciliation in investigating serious and delicate circumstances. Confidential information concerning personnel and academic issues may be shared with the committee. The committee keeps no written records and treats all matters with utmost sensitivity.

In conducting its work, the Committee on Reconciliation takes special measures to assure that participating members have no conflict of interest in the matter. In contrast to the Faculty Review Committee, which has responsibility for formally investigating a grievance through hearings, calling witnesses, and collecting and assessing evidence prior to rendering its judgment, the Committee on Reconciliation operates informally as a facilitator. It meets with the respective parties to determine if there is common ground for resolution of the matter, facilitating a solution that is agreeable to the principal parties and consistent with university policy and practice.

Generally, the faculty member initiates the request for assistance of the committee; however, an administrator may seek the committee’s involvement in resolving a dispute with a faculty member. Both parties to the dispute must agree to be participants in the reconciliation process. If no resolution is reached, the matter reverts to formal review as part of the grievance process if the matter is eligible for such consideration.

1.2.5.2 Faculty Review Committee

The Faculty Review Committee (FRC) includes a minimum of two faculty members from each college and two each from the University Libraries and Extension faculty. Additional members from colleges are appointed in direct proportion to a college’s representation in the Faculty Senate. The president of the Faculty Senate, in consultation with the cabinet, appoints the chair. The chair is either a member of the senate or a member of the FRC. FRC members appointed by the Faculty Senate president in consultation with the senate cabinet, must, at the time of their initial appointment, have served on their college or equivalent promotion and tenure committee or in the Faculty Senate. Members cannot serve on a university or college promotion and tenure committee and serve simultaneously on the Faculty Review Committee. In the event that no eligible faculty members from a particular college or the University Libraries or Extension are identified as willing and able to fill a vacant position on the FRC, the Faculty Senate president, in consultation with the senate cabinet, appoints the appropriate number of tenured faculty members to complete the membership of the FRC.

The functions of the Faculty Review Committee are: to provide faculty review of faculty grievances and to consider appeals in the promotion and tenure or continued appointment process when the provost does not concur with a positive recommendation from the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure (see chapter three, “Appeals of Decisions on Reappointment, Tenure, or Promotion”) or the University Committee on Promotion and Continued Appointment (see chapter four, “Appeals of Decisions on Reappointment, Continued Appointment, or Promotion”).

The Faculty Review Committee does not normally consider the subject of a grievance while it is simultaneously under review by another committee or panel of the university.

The Faculty Review Committee reports annually to the Faculty Senate cabinet on the number of cases handled, the disposition of the case, and on the effectiveness of the review process.

Separate grievance procedures exist for administrative and professional faculty and for research faculty. See the relevant sections of this handbook for a description of those appeal processes.

1.2.5.3 Committee on Faculty Ethics

The Committee on Faculty Ethics (CFE) receives and considers charges of violations of faculty ethics that abrogate the principles of ethical behavior set forward in chapter two of the Faculty Handbook, “Professional Responsibilities and Conduct.” The CFE also acts to promote knowledge of and adherence to the principles of ethical behavior.

The Committee on Faculty Ethics is not used to seek remedies such as monetary damages. The CFE does not act when legal, mediation, or other proceedings are initiated or are ongoing by complainants that render the CFE's pursuit of an investigation redundant or disruptive. The CFE does not act on matters that are referred or should be referred for investigation and action to an administrative officer, supervisor, or another appropriately charged committee in accordance with university policies and procedures. Complaints concerning personnel actions taken by a supervisor are handled by the applicable grievance procedure. If ethical issues arise from, or remain unresolved following such proceedings, the CFE is available to receive or consider charges of violations of the principles in chapter two of the Faculty Handbook, “Professional Responsibilities and Conduct.”

The Committee on Faculty Ethics is composed of one faculty member from each college, one from the University Libraries faculty and one from the Extension faculty with continued appointment. The president of the Faculty Senate, with the advice of the senate cabinet, appoints committee members. All CFE members hold tenure or continued appointment. The senate president designates one committee member to serve as chair. Voting members of the CFE serve a two-year appointment and are limited to serving two consecutive terms. A quorum of the CFE consists of two-thirds of the appointed members.

While the Committee on Faculty Ethics is not a legal body, conflicts of interest may affect members’ judgment on a given case. All members of the CFE are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest with regard to cases that come before the CFE. Decisions concerning recusal are made by the individual member in consultation with the committee as a whole. In the event of a conflict of interest concerning the chair of the CFE, the chair steps down from that position during the course of any discussion or investigation of that case. In such a situation, the president of the Faculty Senate appoints an interim chair from within the current CFE membership. Decisions with regard to the chair’s recusal from the committee itself are made in consultation with the committee and the Faculty Senate president.

Anyone may bring incidents to the Committee on Faculty Ethics by writing to the chair of the CFE. The CFE decides if a violation may have occurred and may conduct investigations, as it deems appropriate. The CFE informs those involved of its findings and the processes and rationale by which the findings were formulated as described in the CFE operating procedures. When it is determined that a breach of faculty ethics has occurred, the CFE's findings along with its recommendations are reported to appropriate administrative personnel including, when appropriate, the Faculty Senate president. Strict confidentiality is maintained. The CFE operating procedures are available on the Faculty Senate website.

The Committee on Faculty Ethics chair annually provides a summary of the committee’s activities to the Faculty Senate.

1.3 Central Administration

The university’s central administration includes the president, executive vice president and provost, senior vice president and chief business officer, vice presidents, and deans.

1.3.1 President

Virginia Tech’s president is appointed by the Board of Visitors to initiate proposed policies, to execute approved policies, and to administer the university. The president serves as the authorized officer through whom communication takes place between the board and the other officers of administration or instruction employed by the university. The board, as the governing authority of the university, delegates authority to the president to oversee and to administer the policies of the board and manage the administrative, instructional, research, and public service programs of the university.

The president’s executive staff reports directly to the president and includes the following: the executive vice president and provost, senior vice president and chief business officer, vice president for advancement, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity. Other direct reports to the president include the director of athletics; the executive director of audit, risk, and compliance; the executive director of governmental relations; university legal counsel; the vice president for information technology and chief information officer, and the university ombuds. The director of audit, risk, and compliance has a dual reporting line to the president and Board of Visitors. The vice president for strategic affairs and diversity has a dual reporting line to the president and executive vice president and provost.

The directors and executive officers of individual agencies, services, and regulatory activities report directly to the vice president under whom the president has placed each organization.

The President’s Cabinet includes senior university leaders and serves in an advisory capacity to the president. Periodic evaluations of their effectiveness in this capacity occur every five years. Members of the cabinet also serve on the President’s Council, which is focused on continuous strategic planning and priorities that support the university’s strategic plan.

President’s Cabinet:

  • executive vice president and provost
  • senior vice president and chief business officer
  • vice president for advancement
  • vice president for strategic affairs and diversity, inclusion

President’s Council:

  • President’s Cabinet members
  • vice president for business affairs, special assistant to the president
  • chief executive officer, Virginia Tech foundation
  • executive director of audit, risk, and compliance
  • vice president for finance
  • executive director of government relations
  • vice president for health sciences and technology
  • senior associate vice president for university relations
  • university legal counsel
  • vice president for human resources
  • vice president for information technology
  • vice president for outreach and international affairs
  • vice president for policy and governance
  • vice president for research and innovation
  • vice president and executive director of the Innovation Campus
  • vice president for student affairs
  • vice president and dean for graduate education
  • council of college deans representative
  • athletics director
  • director, university ombuds office

1.3.2 Executive Vice President and Provost

The executive vice president and provost (provost) serves as the university's chief executive officer in the president's absence, and assists the president in the administration, coordination, and development of the university’s learning, discovery, and engagement programs. The provost or designee is responsible for maintaining the university's relations with the academic program function of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Reporting to this officer are:

  • college deans (nine)
  • dean of University Libraries
  • dean of the Honors College
  • executive vice provost
    • vice provost for academic resource management
    • vice provost for enrollment management
    • vice provost for faculty affairs
    • vice provost for learning systems innovation and effectiveness
    • vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs
  • associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Moss Arts Center
  • director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
  • academic vice presidents
    • vice president and dean for graduate education
    • vice president of health sciences and technology
    • vice president for strategic alliances
    • vice president for outreach and international affairs
    • vice president for research and innovation
    • ovice president for student affairs
    • vice president for strategic affairs and diversity (dual reporting to president and provost)

1.3.3 Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer

The senior vice president and chief business officer (SVP&CBO) is the university’s chief financial, administrative, and operations officer. The SVP&CBO is responsible for the financial, administrative, physical, technological, and operational infrastructure of the university and leads these areas in support of its teaching, research, and outreach missions. The SVP&CBO partners with the president, executive vice president and provost, the president’s Executive Team, and other university leaders to advance the university’s priorities. Reporting to the senior vice president and chief business officer are:

  • vice president for business affairs
  • vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities
  • vice president for finance
  • vice president for human resources
  • vice president for information technology and chief information officer
  • vice president for policy and governance
  • associate vice president for safety and security
  • associate vice president of the Office for Equity and Accessibility

1.4 University Academic Administration

1.4.1 College Deans

The deans are responsible for the academic activities of their respective college. These responsibilities include the allocation and administration of resources, appointment and evaluation of faculty and support staff, and curriculum development. The department heads or chairs report directly to their respective dean for all matters related to the programs of the college.

For purposes of accreditation, the academic deans, or their designees, are responsible for ensuring compliance with college-level “substantive change” as defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The deans are responsible and accountable for monitoring and timely reporting of all actions that may require a substantive change notification and/or approval. Examples of substantive changes are outlined in Policy 6500, “Academic Programs: Creation, Discontinuance and Delivery Site”.

The deans of the colleges are appointed by the provost and may be reappointed indefinitely. Periodic evaluations of their effectiveness in this capacity occur every five years.

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Pamplin College of Business
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • College of Science
  • Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

1.4.2 Academic Department Administration

The colleges are comprised of academic departments and/or schools. Departments are under the supervision of department heads, chairs, or school directors, who report to the dean of the college.

Department heads or chairs are responsible for the growth and vigor of academic programs, recruitment and retention of faculty, administration of the curriculum, and the budget of their department. In certain cases, some of these responsibilities may be delegated.

Department heads or chairs serve for fixed-length terms, specified by the dean. The dean, in consultation with department faculty, analyzes the results of reviews conducted prior to reappointment and decides the length of term and procedures for renewal. The president or the provost authorizes the appointment.

Faculty committees are integral to departmental and college governance and are formed in departments to make recommendations and otherwise assist the head or chair in curricular modification, in the selection of new faculty, and in the determination and application of policies.

1.4.3 Dean of University Libraries

The dean of University Libraries directs the University Libraries in providing the university with information collections and services necessary to support the learning, discovery, and engagement programs of the university. The dean allocates and administers resources, and appoints and evaluates faculty and staff in support of University Libraries goals. The dean reports to the provost.

The provost appoints the dean of University Libraries who may be reappointed indefinitely. An evaluation of the dean’s effectiveness in this capacity occurs every five years.

1.4.4 Dean of Honors College

The dean of the Honors College directs the college in its mission to provide extraordinary educational opportunities for students of exceptional motivation and ability. The dean allocates and administers resources in support of the goals of the Honors College. The provost appoints the dean of the Honors College, who may be reappointed indefinitely. A periodic evaluation of the dean’s effectiveness in this capacity occurs every five years.

1.4.5 Director of Virginia Cooperative Extension

The director of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) reports to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is responsible for the administration of VCE programs in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and local governments, as well as the Cooperative Extension Service Program at Virginia State University. The director is responsible for VCE programs in agriculture, community and leadership, family, food and health, lawn and garden, natural resources, and 4-H/youth. VCE programs are offered in three of the university colleges and the director administers these programs under the guidance of a committee chaired by the provost. The committee includes the vice president for finance and chief financial officer, vice president for outreach and international affairs, vice president for research and innovation, director of VCE, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, and deans of the colleges of agriculture and life sciences, natural resources and environment, and veterinary medicine.