Virginia Tech Year in Review

Teaching / Learning

A new way to live and learn

New residential learning communities and residential colleges are giving undergraduate students different options for their on-campus living arrangements. These opportunities help students discover their niche, find friends, and integrate their academic and social lives. Communities are created around academic majors, enhanced-learning, the residential college concept, and themed housing.

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Creative writing program earns top rankings

As an author, Virginia Tech English Professor Ed Falco carves fiction with precision, fleshing out evocative details. As director of the university's creative writing program, his recruitment and selection of candidates has launched the Master of Fine Arts offering into the nation's elite ranks.

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Online degree program among nation's best

U.S. News & World Report honored Virginia Tech's online Masters of Information Technology program as among the nation's best in its debut 2012 Top Online Education rankings. The master's program -- run jointly by the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business -- ranked high for Teaching Practices and Student Engagement, Faculty Credentials and Training, and Student Services and Technology.

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Read Montague gives a talk at TEDGlobal 2012

Read Montague, director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, gave a presentation on the brain's microprocessing systems at TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the summer.

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Solving America's retirement problems

In recognition of their innovative ideas in solving America's retirement program, four students won the grand prize in the 2011 iOME Challenge competition. They received a $10,000 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in late April to present their ideas to members of Congress and policymakers.

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Research / Discovery

Football helmet safety

In early May, Virginia Tech released the results of its 2012 rating for adult football helmets. The rating system is designed to assess a helmet's ability to reduce the risk of concussion. A total of three helmets achieved a "5 star" mark, which is the highest rating awarded by the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratingsā„¢.

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Patricia Dove elected to National Academy of Sciences

Geosciences professor Patricia Dove has built a stellar reputation during her career. In April 2013, her accomplishments will be highlighted further when she will be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prominent honors possible for any U.S. scientist.

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Research looks at human-wildlife conflict in Botswana

Wildlife professor Kathleen Alexander spent more than 15 years researching human-wildlife conflict in Botswana and was instrumental in paving the way for a $2.6 million grant to help rural residents develop strategies to coexist with wild animals. Her work attracted the attention of U.S. Ambassador to Botswana Michelle Gavin.

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Lack of sleep can lead to unethical behavior

Management professor Chris Barnes and three other scholars conducted four studies to examine the influence of low levels of sleep on decision-making situations involving ethical considerations. "We consistently found that people were more likely to behave unethically when they were short on sleep," he said.

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Helping horses, children breathe easier

Veterinary professor Virginia Buechner-Maxwell is conducting a career-long investigation of human asthma and related equine disorders. This type of research is called translational medicine because it compares human diseases with the same diseases in animals. Both horses and humans may benefit from Buechner-Maxwell's work as a large animal veterinarian and former post-doctoral fellow in pulmonary medicine.

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Outreach / Engagement

National service honor roll

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Virginia Tech in the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll as one of the nation's leading colleges in service. The honor roll is the highest federal honor a university or college can receive for dedication to service-learning and civic engagement.

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Agricultural training in developing world

Virginia Tech received $6.2 million in federal funding to address issues in agricultural training and education around the world. The program will train the next generation of agricultural professionals, helping people in developing countries feed themselves.

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Building an amphitheater for a local town

Sixteen students from a class taught by award-winning designers Keith and Marie Zawistowski, faculty members in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, had the chance to design and build an amphitheater for the town of Clifton Forge, Va. The project was picked because it would provide the community with something that will aid its residents.

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Extension releases e-books

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently released multiple e-books as an easy, convenient, and environmentally friendly way to disseminate valuable and practical information. Virginia Cooperative Extension's free publications are available for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches.

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Center for the Arts presents Toni Morrison tribute

"Sheer Good Fortune: Celebrating Toni Morrison" took place in the fall. The event, hosted by Maya Angelou, Joanne Gabbin, and Nikki Giovanni, and featuring such artists as Angela Davis, Rita Dove, and India.Arie, honored Morrison, winner of the Noble Prize in literature.

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Campus Update

Corps of Cadets enrollment more than 1,000

The Class of 2016, at 423 strong, pushed the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets to an overall size of 1,077 cadets, the largest corps since 1968. Sixty percent of the new class is from Virginia, with over 20 cadets coming from each of the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland. Numerous siblings of current and former cadets are also in this class, as well as children of corps alumni.

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Snapshot of the Class of 2016

Approximately 5,400 first-year undergraduate students began their collegiate journey at Virginia Tech in August. The average SAT Reasoning Test score is 1250 and grade point average is 3.98 (on a 4.0 scale). The Class of 2016 has 124 high school valedictorians or salutatorians.

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Tree campus USA

For the fourth consecutive year, Virginia Tech has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the university's commitment to effective community forestry management. Virginia Tech achieved the designation by meeting five core standards for sustainable campus forestry.

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First Hokie Stone laid on new building

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Alan Grant recently laid the first Hokie Stone on the new Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building 1, marking the beginning of the next phase of construction for the research facility.

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Lavery Hall officially dedicated

Virginia Tech held a formal dedication for Lavery Hall, a classroom and dining facility that opened in the fall. The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors voted to rename the recently completed structure in honor of former Virginia Tech President William E. Lavery, who passed away in 2009.

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Measures of Excellence

Measures of Excellence factbook

Virginia Tech continued its tradition of receiving high rankings in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2013." The university also is ranked 41st in the country with total research and development expenditures of $450,058,000, according to the National Science Foundation. Individual colleges also received many accolades throughout the year.

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A top school in alumni loyalty, enthusiasm

In a new college ranking system by Alumni Factor, Virginia Tech ranked eighth among national universities and 24th among all colleges in alumni loyalty, financial success, and various satisfaction measures. Virginia Tech ranked fourth in overall assessment among national universities in a survey of alumni from the nation's top schools in higher education, and it was ranked first in the number of alumni who said they would choose the school again.

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A military-friendly school

Virginia Tech has been named to the 2013 Military Friendly Schools list, compiled by Victory Media, a media group that focuses on transitioning military personnel into civilian life. The list recognizes the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools that actively support the academic and personal pursuits of current military service members, veterans, and their family members on campus.

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'Best value' public university

Virginia Tech is again included among the "best value" public universities, according to The Princeton Review Best Value Colleges for 2012. The list, which features 150 schools in all, includes 75 public and 75 private colleges and universities.

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Web abuzz with Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech recently ranked 19th among all American universities based on how much people mentioned it on the Web, according to TrendTopper MediaBuzz. The annual survey measures the Internet popularity of more than 400 universities and is compiled by Global Language Monitor, a research firm which rates brand equity.

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Video Highlights

Hands-on, Minds-on

The 2012 university television spot was based on the statement: Energize your mind and reimagine the future through the spirit of discovery and the power of innovation. Hands-on, Minds-on.

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Students embody Ut Prosim

In the spirit of Virginia Tech's motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), more than a dozen Hokies carried fellow student and paraplegic Justin Graves to the top of a two-mile hike (one way). The hike to the Cascades, in nearby Giles County, is a Hokie tradition completed by thousands of students.

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An electric motorcycle

Virginia Tech College of Engineering undergraduate students took the electric-powered motorcycle they built to the third-round race of the North American TTXGP eGrandPrIx competition in late July. The team won the TTX75 class of the TTXGP NA Series in Salinas, Calif.

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Michelle Obama at commencement

First lady Michelle Obama addressed the Virginia Tech Class of 2012 in May during the spring commencement ceremony on Worsham Field in Lane Stadium. The first lady spoke about the power of community and service.

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Virginia Tech videos

Visit the video homepage to see short stories about topics such as robots, arts, students, professors, research, and campus life.

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