Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. Building on its motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve), Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT—serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. We seek candidates who adopt and practice the Principles of Community, which are fundamental to our ongoing efforts to increase access and inclusion, and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of candidates to join our community in preparing leaders for the world.


The Position

Responsiblities of the Postion

Reporting directly to the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, the Director for Housing & Residence Life is responsible for managing all aspects of a residence hall system comprised of 47 residence halls housing over 9,000 students, with anticipated occupancy growing close to 11,000 students within the next five years. The Director provides direct oversight for occupancy management, conference services, residence life, and living-learning programs, as well as collaborative oversight of facilities with the Senior Associate Vice President’s office to oversee facilities management, housekeeping, renovations, and construction projects. The position oversees approximately 25 full-time professional staff and over 200 undergraduate and graduate student staff, and an operating budget of approximately $56 million. The Director is responsible for establishing and implementing short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures; monitoring and evaluating programmatic and operational effectiveness; and enacting changes required for continuous improvement. The Director is also responsible for the coordination and implementation of crisis management and emergency response protocols, including oversight for response to bias-related incidents. The Director participates in the Student Affairs leadership group and must be a visionary and highly collaborative leader with the ability to facilitate organizational change to adapt to the changing needs of students. The Director will also be innovative, possess a passion for the student experience at Virginia Tech, and incorporate best practices into the organizational culture.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

Applicants should care deeply about the residential experience for students. Successful candidates will have significant and progressive professional experience in housing and residence life; possess exceptional supervisory and interpersonal skills; demonstrate an ability to strengthen residential colleges and living-learning programs and engage faculty in the residential experience; understand facilities master planning and renovation/construction projects; demonstrate excellent fiscal planning and budget management skills; and exhibit an ability to recruit, train, motivate, and support a large and diverse staff. Excellent communication skills; an active commitment to diversity and inclusion; an understanding of legal issues and risk management; and the ability to work collaboratively and build relationships with students, parents, faculty, alumni, community members, and other stakeholders will also determine success. Applicants should be forward thinkers who demonstrate enthusiasm and are known for their listening, writing, and presenting skills. A master’s degree in higher education, student affairs, counseling, or a related field is required (PhD or other terminal degree is preferred).

History of the Position

In the spring of 2017, Eleanor Finger, former Director of Housing & Resident Life, accepted the position of assistant vice president at Elon University. Since her departure, Frances Keene has been serving in the role on an interim basis. Keene will not be applying for this position.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

In transitioning to Virginia Tech, the Director of Housing & Residence Life will encounter the opportunities, priorities, and challenges listed below.

  • It will be important to focus on organizational development in a manner that gives shape to departmental goals, retools processes, and aligns staff with departmental and institutional mission and goals.
  • It will be necessary to conduct a review of organizational, administrative, staffing, and service models in support of the long-term institutional changes occurring at Virginia Tech. The new director will need to be progressive in his/her thinking. The director will need to think creatively and critically, and blend classic forms of leadership with matrix management. There will be institutional tolerance for taking risks as long as it is focused on strengthening the organization, improving employee morale and staff skills, and infusing best practices into the organization, thus increasing the probability of student and organizational success.
  • The new leadership should possess a leadership style that is progressive and innovative. It is expected that the new director will develop strategic, outcome-oriented plans and will continue to shape the organization into a high-functioning business, while focusing on the academic and personal development of residential students.
  • A review of all aspects of the organization is a high expectation. Leadership expects a high amount of collaboration with the entire Virginia Tech community. The new director must be able to work with all levels of the institutional stakeholders and be able to communicate with students in an effective manner.
  • The new director will need to think in terms of succession planning and will need to make good hires and build a team that advances organizational changes already underway. Virginia Tech is also open to re-shaping staffing structures with a goal of “getting the right people into the right positions.”
  • To ensure success, it will be important for the new director to quickly make connections with key stakeholder groups on campus and solidify those initial connections into solid, long-term relationships. A deliberative and level-headed leadership approach is very important, coupled with a strong ability to challenge and support.
  • There is a tremendous amount of excitement at Virginia Tech for new leadership, hence the new director will need to have a very open and supportive leadership style.

Measures of Success for the Position

At an appropriate interval after joining Virginia Tech, the items listed below will define success for the new director.

  • A strong, collaborative, and trusting relationship is built with all staff members.
  • A long-term plan for building strong collegial relationships is established.
  • Targeted goals are met and staff members have clear expectations on their role in meeting those targeted goals.
  • Housing’s budgetary operation is strengthened, with enhanced leadership and planning that is responsive to changing needs.
  • An effective model for assessment is in place and data is used to help make decisions.
  • Students are receiving clear, easy-to-understand information regarding policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Staff members will experience a strong sense of stability and ethical leadership, with open and honest communication.
  • An appreciation of and commitment to diversity is shown through policies and procedures.

An understanding and strong working knowledge of all aspects of operations within the department has been established, along with an ability to communicate this, as appropriate, campus-wide.

An Overview of the Division or Department


Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing students to be leaders and problem-solvers. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers about 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 34,000 students and manages a research portfolio of more than $521 million. The university fulfills its role as a land-grant institution by fostering a collaborative environment that integrates technology into all disciplines so that the Virginia Tech community can serve as a force for positive change around the commonwealth, the country, and the world. Through experiential learning, future-focused research, and an inclusive, spirited culture, Virginia Tech strives to accomplish the charge of its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech has a 2,600-acre main campus, educational and research facilities across the state, a study-abroad site in Switzerland, and a 1,800-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus. The campus proper is located in the town of Blacksburg, 38 miles southwest of Roanoke in Montgomery County and the New River Valley.

Blacksburg, VA

Established in 1798, Blacksburg is situated on a plateau between the scenic Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains and is home to about 43,000 permanent residents, while Montgomery County has a population of 95,000. Because of its award-winning services, reasonable cost of living, low crime rate, moderate climate, and abundant leisure activities, Blacksburg is consistently ranked among the country’s best places to live and has earned a reputation nationwide as a well-managed, stable, and forward-looking community. Vibrant and engaging, Blacksburg’s downtown offers unique stores, art galleries, and eclectic restaurants. The wide, red-brick sidewalks, Victorian street lamps, and park benches encourage foot traffic and meeting friends with equal ease.

Quick Facts

  • In 2012,, a real estate site, ranked Blacksburg first on its “Top 10 Cities to Raise a Family” listing, citing the presence of Virginia Tech and numerous economic opportunities.
  • In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek named Blacksburg the best place in the United States to raise children.
  • A high-tech, professional environment, Blacksburg is one of the most “wired” communities on the planet.
  • In the National Citizens Survey, Blacksburg residents gave the highest ratings to their town’s appearance, openness, and acceptance, as well as its many cultural opportunities and low crime rate.
  • Blacksburg has been ranked among the nation’s best places to live by Blue Ridge Country magazine, Men’s Journal, The 50 Best Small Southern Towns, The Sporting News, and Retirement Places Rated.
  • Outside magazine ranked Blacksburg a top-ten “dream town” for outdoor enthusiasts because of its proximity to the Appalachian Trail and the Washington-Jefferson National Forest. The area’s natural resources for hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, and climbing are phenomenal.
  • The nationally-accredited Virginia Tech Police Department operates 24 hours a day and provides full police service to the university community.
  • Blacksburg, along with the towns of Christiansburg and Radford, and including Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties, is considered a Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center hosts more than 100 technology-based companies, as well as the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, contributing to Blacksburg’s high-tech, professional environment.
  • The award-winning Blacksburg Transit provides town-wide public transportation at a reasonable cost and a game-day shuttle for football and basketball games.

Mission Statement

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

Strategic Plan

2012-2018 Strategic Plan



Timothy D. Sands, President

Timothy D. Sands became the 16th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in June of 2014. A scientist, educator, and inventor, he has dedicated much of his career to advancing the impact of research and innovation in public education. As president, he has engaged the university community in a visionary plan to advance Virginia Tech’s role as a global land-grant institution, confronting the commonwealth’s, the country’s, and the world’s most challenging problems.
The initiative, called “Beyond Boundaries,” seeks to define Virginia Tech’s role a generation into the future and align the educational experience with the needs and opportunities that will be created by changing world economies and the evolving landscape of higher education.

In collaboration with the provost and academic leadership, he has championed the development of Destination Areas, thematic focus areas that leverage the university’s signature strengths to attract talent and generate creative energy that extends across the disciplines. The development of these areas involves reimagining Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg residential campus, catalyzing the economic development of the Blacksburg-Roanoke region with a growing health science and technology center of excellence, and developing the experiential learning and research potential in the National Capital Region. He has prioritized building new and enhancing existing partnerships and collaborations to use resources and expertise in a focused and efficient way across the country and the globe.

He also launched and led InclusiveVT, an initiative to provide leadership, collaboration, guidance, and resources to support and accelerate the implementation of inclusion and diversity goals throughout the university community.

InclusiveVT supports the imperative of inclusion and diversity as key components of a university ecosystem rich in opportunities for experiential learning, cross-disciplinary engagement, and the development of cultural awareness and empathy.

President Sands’ vision for Virginia Tech embraces the university’s heritage of service and community and its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Virginia Tech students will graduate with disciplinary mastery, technology literacy, cultural competency, resilience, empathy for others, and the passions and strengths needed for a life and career of impactful service to humanity.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, President Sands served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was acting president during the summer and fall of 2012, before Mitchell E. Daniels became the 12th president of Purdue.

President Sands earned a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in engineering physics and a master’s degree and doctorate in materials science from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Purdue faculty in 2002 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in the schools of Materials Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to becoming provost, he served as the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park.

From 1993 to 2002, President Sands was a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and before that, he performed research and directed research groups at Bell Communications Research (Bellcore) in Red Bank, New Jersey. Throughout his career, he has participated in and led research teams and academic programs that have been characterized by open collaboration across a wide array of disciplines.

He has published more than 250 refereed papers and conference proceedings and has been granted 20 patents in electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices. He holds faculty appointments in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering, with research interests in microelectronics, optoelectronics, and nanotechnology. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Materials Research Society, and the National Academy of Inventors.

President Sands is joined at Virginia Tech by his wife, Dr. Laura Sands, a professor of gerontology in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

All four of their children graduated from Purdue and are proud members of the Virginia Tech community.

The Academic Program

With more than 150 majors and options to choose from, students can be a part of academic programs that harmonize for an experience unlike any other. Not sure what you want to pursue? No problem. There are “undecided” designations in many areas, allowing students to explore the possibilities before naming a major.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s offered majors by visiting

Enrollment (Fall 2017)

32,304 on-campus; 84 percent undergraduate; 16 percent graduate; 56.6 percent male; 43.4 percent female. Total enrollment on and off campus is 34,440 (78.9 undergraduate, 21.1 graduate).


Virginia Tech received a record 32,000 applications for the fall 2018 first-year class. Cumulative SAT reasoning test scores had a middle range of 1,160 to 1,340.

Full-Time Instructional Faculty

1,520; 57 percent are tenured.

Special Academic Programs

In the university’s Cooperative Education Program, sophomores and juniors can alternate semesters of study with semesters of professional work. The Honors College inspires and facilitates an extraordinary education for students of exceptional motivation and ability who seek to be active learners and who will apply their knowledge and skills to critical real-world problems. The Study Abroad Program consists of academic programs, tours, and independent travel, often conducted in conjunction with overseas universities and institutions. Students enrolled in the Corps of Cadets are eligible for the Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC programs. Virginia Tech established its first residential college in fall 2011 and added a

The Student Body

Enrollment by Race

  Undergraduate Graduate Professional Total
American Indian or Alaska Native 39 8 1 48
Asian 2,666 161 27 2,854
Black or African American 1,079 174 17 1,270
Hispanics of any race 1,634 158 27 1,819
Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander 32 2 0 34
White 17,892 2,139 380 20,411
Two or more races 1,206 97 19 1,322
Not reported 795 47 21 863
Nonresident alien 1,797 1,877 9 3,683
Total 27,140 4,663 501 32,304


Enrollment by Gender

  Undergraduate Graduate Professional Total
Men 15,403 2,753 140 18,296
Women 11,682 1,907 354 13,943
Not reported 55 3 7 65

Benefits Overview

From comprehensive insurance plans to tuition assistance, Virginia Tech offers employees a robust benefits program.

This full range of benefits, services, and perks is an integral part of the university’s total compensation package and just one of the many things that make Virginia Tech a great place to live, learn, and work.


Virginia Tech employees have the opportunity to take advantage of a variety of health benefits to help meet their specific needs, as well as the needs of their family. This comprehensive coverage includes flexible spending accounts, medical and life insurance, and workers compensation.


To help promote work-life balance, Virginia Tech provides a generous leave program, which includes paid time off, holidays, and sick leave.

Retirement & Financial

It’s never too early or too late to invest in your future and the Department of Human Resources is here to help. The university’s retirement plans provide ample opportunities for employees to save for the future.

Hokie Perks

Working at Virginia Tech comes with many benefits, including a multitude of perks. Some of the many Hokie Perks employees enjoy include:

  • Discounts
  • Legal resources
  • Continuing education
  • Health and wellness programs

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Jennifer N. Hiatt at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Virginia Tech website at

Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of qualified candidates to join its community in preparing leaders for the world and encourages women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.