Virginia Tech, a public land-grant university, pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing students to be leaders and problem-solvers. 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). As the Commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers more than 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 34,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $521 million. The University fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Building on its motto, Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT—serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. They seek candidates who adopt and practice the Principles of Community, which are fundamental to the institution’s on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion, and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of qualified candidates to join their community in preparing leaders for the world and encourages individuals across racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other identities to apply.

The Position

Responsibilities of the Position

Student Affairs at Virginia Tech enhances the student experience by fostering an inclusive, innovative, caring, and learning-centered environment. Staff are actively engaged in the lives of students, and are committed to providing outstanding programs and services that enhance student development and enrich the quality of campus life. As such, staff strive to engage every student in the Division’s five Aspirations for Student Learning, which include: creating a community that commits to unwavering curiosity, pursues self-understanding and integrity, practices civility, prepares others for a life of courageous leadership, and embraces the University’s motto Ut Prosim as a way of life. The Director of VT Engage is fundamental in aligning staff, services, learning methodologies, and departmental initiatives toward these aspirations. They must thrive in a dynamic, student-centered, engaging team atmosphere and must be committed to leading and challenging staff and students to engage fully in vital and vibrant learning environments that support holistic development.

VT Engage seeks to equip students to serve as change agents who make the world more equitable and just through their commitment to community and civic engagement. The Director of VT Engage leads a team of dedicated individuals who work in collaboration with student affairs colleagues, academic experts, and community partners to design and implement mutually beneficial initiatives that prioritize community need and partnership development while helping students think more critically about themselves, the communities they work with, and the social issues they encounter. This office embodies innovation, creating exciting new and impactful programs and services to enhance the institution’s mission. The director is integral to the university’s efforts to prepare students to be active, informed, and civic minded global leaders with a passion for addressing complex social problems. Reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, the director is a collaborative and highly visible leader who serves on the student affairs leadership team and participates as a member on various student affairs and university committees.

  • Leading the institutional effort to advance student leadership and civic engagement that serves to support students in their development as global leaders and strengthen the public good.
  • Providing direct supervision, guidance, and mentoring to a full-time staff, and indirect supervision to student employees.
  • Working to create long-term reciprocal partnerships that involve community partners in the design, facilitation, and evaluation of service learning and community engagement initiatives to ensure the value and relevance of the work to the community.
  • Designing and implementing meaningful co-curricular and curricular leadership education opportunities that develop students’ ability to understand self and others, think and reason effectively, understand and engage with groups and organizations, and make meaning of their identity and purpose.
  • Providing overall administration, leadership, and supervision for VT Engage including strategic planning, budget development and management, assessment and evaluation of programming, services and staff, implementation of programs, development of new programs, and hiring and training of new staff.
  • Working with faculty partners to advance strategies for integrating leadership theories and community-based learning and research into the undergraduate and graduate experiences of students.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

The successful candidate must possess a master’s degree from an accredited institution in a related field, a minimum of five years of related experience including demonstrated progressive growth in leadership and supervision of professional staff in a higher education setting, and expertise in the areas of leadership education, community, and civic engagement. In addition, the director must have a proven commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a demonstrated capacity to connect with individuals across racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other identities. A doctorate in a related field and solid grant writing and/or previous experience with advancement work and fundraising are preferred.

In addition to the above-stated qualifications and characteristics, Virginia Tech stakeholders identified the following characteristics as important to the director (in no particular order):

  • Energetic, collaborative, learning centered professional who enjoys working in partnership with students, faculty, staff, and community members to support student leadership for the public good.
  • Demonstrate a strong foundation in the theories, models, principles and practices of leadership and community engagement, including critical perspectives, and be a part of establishing Virginia Tech as a national leader in college student leadership education for the public good.
  • Possess proven critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • Demonstrated organization acumen and the ability to initiate, advance, and sustain organizational growth and change in a complex organization while fostering a collaborative work environment.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, clarity of thought, and the ability to make difficult decisions.
  • Extensive experience in team building, innovation, budget management, employee development, and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated commitment to developing strong working relationships with student affairs colleagues, university faculty and staff, and other community stakeholders and a willingness to engage across the division and university.
  • Support an office environment that enhances the ability to understand, communicate, and interact across difference. Integrate principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity into programs and services.
  • Model ethical decision making and support others in their efforts to do so.
  • High emotional intelligence, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to build strong and authentic relationships.
  • Capacity to genuinely care for others, listen to their concerns/needs, and make changes to increase staff morale and effectiveness.
  • Credible, engaging, supportive, and approachable supervisor with knowledge of the responsibilities of each staff member’s position, respect for their work and contributions, and adept at advocating for staff and students, their programs, and needs.
  • Commitment to using best practices, technology, and innovation to continually provide students with cutting-edge programs and services.
  • A proven record of implementing change, establishing a vision and direction for an office/department, motivating staff and students to embrace change, and successfully creating new programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of campus life for all students.
  • Compassionate, accessible, transparent, ethical leader with excellent communication skills to clearly articulate vision, direction, and purpose and earn the respect and confidence of the faculty, staff, and students.
  • An understanding and deep commitment to social justice, demonstrated cultural competence with strong belief in the value of diversity in enriching the learning experience and the quality of life on campus.
  • Highly energetic individual with a strong sense of self and ability to appropriately infuse humor and enthusiasm into the workplace and campus community.

History of the Position

The director has the exciting opportunity of seamlessly melding these two offices responsible for service learning and leadership education into one cohesive center using social issues and community and civic engagement to broaden students’ leadership views and experiences through innovative partnerships throughout the campus and the community.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

The new director will encounter the opportunities, priorities, and challenges listed below.

  • Great opportunities exist at Virginia Tech and VT Engage. The new director can help VT Engage realize its full potential and achieve amazing results.
  • The new director has a wonderful opportunity to lead change that will have a lasting impact on students and campus culture for years.
  • Continue to evaluate VT Engage, ensuring that both offices feel valued and visible in this configuration and the office is operating as one with new, innovative programs and services.
  • Work to educate the Virginia Tech community about VT Engage and encourage authentic engagement with faculty, staff, students, and the community.
  • The new director must establish a vision and direction for the department with goals, expectations, and priorities that the entire office embraces.
  • Participate in a campus-wide conversation about how to define and bring clarity to the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
  • The current staff is open to change and looking for this new director to make appropriate changes to all aspects of the department within a clearly articulated and well-thought-out plan.
  • Take the time to truly get to know the entire staff, their roles, talents, and contributions to the organization and student success.
  • Earn the respect of the campus community through accessibility, visibility, and transparency.
  • Build an exemplary team through the thorough evaluation of the current staff structure, enhance current staff’s morale, and create a culture of honest information sharing and solicitation of others’ input.
  • Work to ensure programs are intentional and purposeful with direct learning outcomes from which to evaluate success.
  • Continue to develop the civic and community engagement database.
  • Enhance engagement with faculty interested in providing service learning opportunities through courses.

Measures of Success for the Position

At an appropriate interval after joining Virginia Tech, the following items will initially define success for the new director. The new director will have:

  • continued to work through VT Engage’s restructuring, making sure the staff feel supported and valued;
  • developed new programs and initiatives to enhance the office’s reach and services to the campus community and beyond;
  • acclimated and embraced the culture of Virginia Tech and is enthusiastically involved, visible, and engaged in all aspects of campus life;
  • clearly defined the role of the director and communicated this throughout the Division of Student Affairs and the campus;
  • established positive working relationship with other members of the Division of Student Affairs, key campus stakeholders and community partners—and the director is viewed as a valued colleague;
  • developed a strategic plan for VT Engage that has been articulated and the campus community has demonstrated an enhanced understanding of the mission, resources, and support services available through the office;
  • defined goals, activities, and outcomes of VT Engage that are communicated broadly to institutional leadership and members of the campus community;
  • worked to ensure Virginia Tech students are growing in their preparation to assume the challenges of leadership and civic engagement in a complex, global society.

An Overview of the Division of Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs is committed to the growth, development, and achievement of students at Virginia Tech. This organization works closely with academic colleagues to support students as they learn to be successful and effective leaders in the emerging global community.

Mission Statement

The mission of student affairs is to promote student learning, life skills, and personal growth through a strong focus on holistic student development and collaborative partnerships that deliver superior service to, and care for, students in the spirit of Ut Prosim.

Aspirations for Student Learning

  • Commit to unwavering CURIOSITY — Virginia Tech students will be inspired to lead lives of curiosity, embracing a life-long commitment to intellectual development.
  • Pursue SELF-UNDERSTANDING and INTEGRITY — Virginia Tech students will form a set of affirmative values and develop the self-understanding to integrate these values into their decision-making.
  • Practice CIVILITY — Virginia Tech students will understand and commit to civility as a way of life in their interactions with others.
  • Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP — Virginia Tech students will be courageous leaders who serve as change agents and make the world more humane and just.
  • Embrace UT PROSIM (That I May Serve) as a way of life — Virginia Tech students will enrich their lives through service to others.

Virginia Tech Principles of Community

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Learning from the experiences that shape Virginia Tech as an institution, we acknowledge those aspects of our legacy that reflected bias and exclusion. Therefore, we adopt and practice the following principles as fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members:

  • We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.
  • We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.
  • We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the university. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.
  • We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.
  • We pledge our collective commitment to these principles in the spirit of the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Dr. Patty A. Perillo

Dr. Patricia A. Perillo serves as vice president for student affairs and assistant professor of higher education at Virginia Tech. She provides leadership and oversight for the 22 departments and 3 administrative units in the Division of Student Affairs. She oversees a budget of nearly $150 million, a staff of approximately 3,400 employees, and has responsibility for more than 30 percent of the physical capital on campus.

Prior to her work at Virginia Tech, Patty served as associate dean of students at Davidson College and assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Additional professional experience includes work at the University of Maryland, College Park; State University of New York at both the Plattsburgh and Albany campuses; and the University of Delaware.

As a transformative leader in higher education for the past 25 years, Dr. Perillo has been actively engaged in all aspects of college life and has had the privileged opportunity to lead and serve in every functional area within a division of student affairs. She has also worked in academic affairs and is a champion of innovative collaborations between academic and student affairs. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Delaware.

Overview of VT Engage

VT Engage is a university center in Student Affairs that seeks to equip students to serve as change agents who make the world more equitable and just through their commitment to community and civic engagement. We partner with community organizations and Virginia Tech units to create community service experiences that prioritize community-identified needs and student learning, as well as preparing students to develop their leadership capacities.

Their vision is a just world. In pursuit of social justice, their mission is to strengthen communities while advancing community-engaged leadership. Students will experience and develop their understanding of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in thoughtful collaboration with stakeholders.


  • Alternative Breaks & Weekends – Weekend trips and alternative spring break trips are immersive experiences that explore community issues in the region and throughout the United States.
  • ACC Student Leadership Symposium – This annual event is a three-day leadership conference that hosts delegations from each of the Atlantic Coast Conference colleges and universities, and focuses on a different theme each year.
  • Clinton Global Initiative – CGI U engages the next generation of leaders to develop novel solutions to pressing global challenges, then present their ideas at the CGI U annual meeting.
  • International Trips – A combination of service, learning, and cultural immersion for three weeks in Peru (summer) and one week in the Dominican Republic (winter break.)
  • Campus Kitchen – Combat hunger and food waste by distributing quality, surplus food from Dining Services to New River Valley hunger-relief agencies.
  • Get on the Bus – Half-day or day-long projects that introduce students to community service, local nonprofits, and the social issues affecting our region.
  • Grants – The John E. Dooley Student Engagement Grant is awarded to students engaged in innovative work in a community.
  • Student Leaders – This team leads all of our service trips, builds trip management & reflection skills, and learns about issues impacting our world.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is a public land-grant university with a 2,600-acre main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as educational facilities in six regions and a study-abroad site in Switzerland. The commonwealth’s third-largest university and a leading research institution, Virginia Tech is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers more than

31,000 students some 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and manages a research portfolio of more than $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

In 1872, with federal funds provided by the Morrill Act of 1862, the Virginia General Assembly purchased the facilities of Preston and Olin Institute, a small Methodist school in southwest Virginia’s rural Montgomery County. That same year, 40 acres of the Solitude Farm were acquired for $21,250. The commonwealth incorporated a new institution on the site, a state-supported land-grant military institute named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Under the 1891–1907 presidency of John M. McBryde, the school organized its academic programs into a traditional four-year college. The evolution of the school’s programs led to a name change in 1896 to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute. The “Agricultural and Mechanical College” portion of the name was popularly omitted almost immediately; in 1944, the name was officially changed to Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI).

In 1923, VPI changed a policy of compulsory participation in the Corps of Cadets from four years to two years. In 1931, VPI began offering classes at the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary (now Old Dominion University). This program eventually developed into a two-year engineering program that allowed students to transfer to VPI for their final two years of degree work.

In 1943, VPI merged with Radford State Teachers College, which became VPI’s women’s division; the merger was dissolved in 1964. Today, Radford University enrolls nearly 9,800 students and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate programs.

VPI President T. Marshall Hahn, whose tenure ran from 1962 to 1974, was responsible for many of the programs and policies that transitioned the school into a major research university. The student body was increased by roughly 1,000 students each year, new dormitories and academic buildings were constructed, faculty members were added—in 1966, for instance, more than 100 new professors joined the faculty ranks—and research budgets were increased. During Hahn’s tenure, not only did the university graduate its first Rhodes Scholar, W.W. Lewis, class of 1963, but the requirement for male students to participate in the Corps of Cadets for two years was dropped and membership in the corps was opened to women in fall 1973, making Virginia Tech among the nation’s first schools to do so.

In 1970, the state legislature sanctioned university status for VPI and bestowed upon it the current legal name, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In the early 1990s, the university’s administration authorized the official use of “Virginia Tech” as equivalent to the full legal name; it has been used as the first-reference name for the school’s athletic teams since the 1970s. However, diplomas and transcripts still spell out the formal name. Similarly, the abbreviation “VT” is far more common today than either VPI or VPI&SU.

Blacksburg, Virginia

Blacksburg is an incorporated town located in Montgomery County, Virginia, with a population of 42,620 at the 2010 census.

Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford are the three principal jurisdictions of the Blacksburg- Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which encompasses those jurisdictions and all of Montgomery, Pulaski, and Giles counties for statistical purposes. The MSA has an estimated population of 159,587 and is currently one of the faster-growing MSAs in Virginia. Blacksburg is dominated economically and demographically by the presence of Virginia Tech. Blacksburg is the largest town in Virginia by population, and the 15th-largest municipality overall. It is larger than several of the commonwealth’s independent cities.

Because of its award-winning services, reasonable cost of living, safety, 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. In 2011, Businessweek named Blacksburg the “Best Place in the U.S. to Raise Kids.” Also in 2011, readers of Southern Living named Blacksburg the “Best College Town in the South.” Its public transportation system, Blacksburg Transit, which also connects to the neighboring town of Christiansburg, has repeatedly received recognition for the quality of its service. Blacksburg High School, which in 2013 unveiled its new state-of-the-art building, is often ranked among the top schools in the nation for its academics, and its soccer, track, and cross country teams are also among the top in the state.

Blacksburg is the site of the Blacksburg Electronic Village or BEV, conceived as a computer networking project of Virginia Tech in 1991 and officially born in 1993 as a way to link the town together using the internet. This project quickly ushered the town into what has been called the Information Age.

On July 8, 1997, ground was broken for the experimental “Smart Road” project. The second phase of construction was completed in 2002. The road is currently closed to the public and used as a research test bed for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. A National Weather Service office is located in Blacksburg and serves most of southwestern Virginia, southeast West Virginia, and northwest North Carolina.

Mission Statement

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) 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

Virginia Tech faces a new horizon defined by a future characterized by geopolitical and geoeconomic transition, an accelerated pace of globalization, and structural shifts caused by technological innovation. Its graduates will face uncertainties that range from security issues and resource scarcities to political instability and social turmoil—challenges that will be embedded in and defined by complex and interdependent systems. Simultaneously, we have entered an era of data-driven, networked societies. As technology changes the landscape of the global economy and the practices of businesses and governments, there will be great demand for graduates who possess superior analytical, critical-thinking, management, and communication skills, and who excel at abstract and computational thinking. Preparing students for this new horizon requires pedagogical models that spark curiosity, facilitate creative thinking, and develop the tools for effective communication.

These models must be rigorous but not constraining, involving “hands-on” as well as “minds-on” approaches to problem solving. To address these issues successfully, Virginia Tech will build on its strengths to meet state and federal commitments for research and higher education while providing a superior environment for nurturing the life of the mind.

The new horizon for research and scholarship will challenge Virginia Tech to build on its strengths as a comprehensive public research university and land-grant institution. It also values its long tradition as one of the nation’s senior military colleges. The new horizon will require Virginia Tech to develop team-driven initiatives within and beyond the university. Such initiatives will enhance the opportunities for its colleges and research institutes to pursue innovative research agendas that address complex problems and allow them to be responsive to new discoveries and technologies. New forms of digital, networked scholarly communication will require intensive faculty development and new modes of reward and recognition within the academy.

Fulfilling Virginia Tech’s mission in an increasingly complex and interdependent world will also require initiatives that create networks spanning geographic scales. The university will not only contribute to agricultural, business, and community development but also promote local, regional, and national security, resilience, health, and sustainability while continuing to support core academic disciplines.

With this plan, Virginia Tech is positioning itself to further develop a distinctive profile as a progressive and internationally recognized research university. It is poised to grow its undergraduate enrollment when appropriate and will pursue significant and strategic growth in graduate enrollment.

Focusing on growth in graduate enrollment in science, technology, engineering, computational sciences, health sciences, and business- and policy-oriented subjects will provide additional teaching resources, sustain and expand its research portfolio, and provide a broad range of student research experiences. This growth will also facilitate the pursuit of its mission to address significant science, technology, economic, and social issues.

Virginia Tech will continue to invest in a comprehensive educational portfolio in which the arts, humanities, business, and social sciences have an essential role in kindling curiosity and creativity; growing intellectual, entrepreneurial, innovative, and managerial capacities; expanding civic and intercultural understanding; and encouraging a commitment to personal, professional, and social responsibility. Virginia Tech aims to become the national model for the merger and application of the arts and technology as a catalyst for educational excellence. The integration of business with programs in science, engineering, and medicine creates the opportunity for radical innovation. The emergence of Virginia Tech’s architecture and design programs as among the best in the world provides a model for the power of transdisciplinary synergy.

Achieving these goals will require the sustained fulfillment of the commonwealth’s base budget adequacy funding model, the continued growth of externally funded research and private support, and the implementation of innovative financial and business practices. Reaching the goals will also require a significant degree of flexibility, collaboration, and innovation on the part of the university in terms of existing resources and infrastructure. The plan for 2012–2018 is guided by four structuring challenges that impact the entire university:

  • the implications of global interdependence
  • the challenges of a data-driven society
  • the need to meet its research expectations
  • the continuing need to focus on organizational efficiency and flexibility

The plan outlines strategies to address these challenges by enhancing research and innovation; fostering the life of the mind of students, faculty, and staff; and positioning Virginia Tech as a dynamic and distinctive community.


Timothy D. Sands, President

Timothy D. Sands is the 16th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, joining the university in June of 2014. He is also 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.

He 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 is member of the faculty in Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer 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 at Virginia Tech. All four of their children graduated from Purdue and are proud members of the Virginia Tech community. Follow President Sands on Twitter at @VTSandsman.

The Academic Program

  • 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
  • Graduate School
  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

The Student Body

Enrollment—Fall 2018

32,304 on-campus

  • 84 percent undergraduate
  • 16percent graduate
  • 6 percent male
  • 2 percent female
  • .2 percent not reported

Total enrollment on and off campus is 34,440

Benefits Overview

  • Health Care
  • Flexible Reimbursement
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Short-Term Disability
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Employee Wellness
  • Long-Term Care
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Retirement/Finance
  • Investment Options
  • Life Insurance

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 Heather J. Larabee 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 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.

For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Access at 540-231-8771 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.