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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Graduate student provides new perspective for BOV

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 04 - September 14, 1995

Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors has an opportunity to see a different perspective of the university as a result of graduate student representation on the board, Danny Waddill told the Graduate Student Assembly at its August 31 meeting.

Waddill, graduate-student representative to the BOV, reporting on his first meeting with the board, explained that the BOV "runs the school...they hire and fire the president, so they are in charge. They are appointed by the governor, so they are part of the political process of the state. Yet they only meet four times a year, so they are not involved with the day-to-day operation."

He said recent discussion was mostly about undergraduate issues such as the alcohol policy, express check-in, and athletics. The GSA is also a priority. "Now that graduate students have a voice, the perspective could change," he suggested. For example, in addition to being concerned about what kind of jobs undergraduates get, board members could also learn what kind of jobs graduate students get.

"This is also an opportunity to promote the graduate program, what we do for the state, and our stake in two budget initiatives being discussed by the board-classroom technology and enhancement of private-public partnerships."

The classroom-technology initiative includes using computers to teach, electronic access to journals through the library, distance learning, and high-performance computing, Waddill explained.

Answering questions, he said that most of the board members have attended graduate school or professional school and several are Tech alumni. "(Henry) Dekker was a member of the Corps and is active as an alum," Waddill said. "(Sue Ellen) Rocovich has her graduate degree from Tech and chairs the Academic Affairs Committee."

What kind of input can graduate students have if Waddill can't vote?

"The informal contact and talking about issues is very important," he explained. "The votes at the full board meeting are usually unanimous because problems have already been worked out. So the real value is talking. The board members are receptive and we can certainly raise their awareness of what the graduate program is and how issues affect us."

He invited students to share issues and concerns with him. His e-mail is GSHon@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu. "Anything is fair game. If it is not something I can bring to the board, I may be able to bring it up with the university administration."

Waddill has been assigned to the Building and Grounds Committee, which he said was not his first choice. "The undergraduate student sits on the Student Affairs Committee, which I think is appropriate."

"I heard a comment regarding the $12-million shortfall that `there are things they are not telling us.' I don't think that's true," Waddill said. "The discussion was very detailed." He said that committee meetings and the board meeting are open, so graduate students could attend to learn what issues the board discusses.

He will announce the dates, times, and places of the board of visitors next meeting and committee meetings via the GSA listserve.