On-campus graduate housing returns
By Susan Trulove
Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 27 - April 11, 1996
Main Campbell Hall and Hillcrest will return to the status of graduate-student dorms next year, Laura Worley and Karsten Davis of Residential and Dining Programs told the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) at the March 28 meeting.
Main Campbell is being refurbished, with new carpets in the lounges and rooms. Davis said he doesn't know if there will be a computer lab as there was when the building was previously a grad dorm.
There will be single and double-occupancy rooms and the dorms will remain open through all university closings. Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to full-time students.
Worley also explained the flex meal plan available to resident students.
In other business, Danny Waddill, representative to the Board of Visitors, reported on the draft of the 1996-2001 update to the university plan "in which the university defines its goals for the next five years."
He said, "The university recognizes that it needs to be responsive to student needs." He pointed out that the enrollment strategy will take into account demands for advanced education, which may result in increased responsiveness to the job market.
Waddill also pointed to the promise that more classes will be taught by full-time faculty members. "That's good, but graduate students don't get the credit they deserve. The 10 percent of the classes taught by TA's are taught well."
He said the plan recognizes the need for financial aid for graduate students, "but it's an uphill battle. If people knew more about the contributions of graduate students, we would be in a better position to get more support."
He reported that the university's request for an additional $750,000 for fellowships failed to make the state budget.
Asked if there are any studies on how graduate students benefit the commonwealth, Waddill said, "I'm not sure the word gets out as well as it should. It's something we could work on."
Asked about the plans to tax tuition scholarships as income, Mike Schroder said that is a national initiative that will begin this spring. "The taxes will be deducted from stipends so you're not hit with a big bill at the end of the year."
Graduate students were urged to contact their congressional representative.
Another student said she was intrigued that the 1996-2001 plan calls for Virginia Tech to remain a major research university "after everything that was said last semester about how we need to be less comprehensive and need to find our niche."
Waddill responded that "the plan is not to even out but to strengthen the top programs--as we are in education."
He asked the delegates their position on the plans for a bridge to link the new technology building to the library. The response from a few students was negative, with comments that it will obstruct the view, is unattractive, and unnecessary. Waddill pointed out that it will have rooms and offices. One student suggested it be put underground.
The evening host was the College of Business. Ron Johnson gave an overview of the colleges' offerings. He reported that numbers of Ph.D. students have dropped from about 100 to 65. He also said the MBA program offers a new global emphasis with six study-abroad programs this summer, including programs to Japan and China, and anticipation of an exchange agreement with Singapore.
Asked how financial aid for graduate students compares to that of undergraduates, Johnson said the college offers 25 percent of first-year students merit scholarships, but graduate-student support has suffered. MBA students in GA positions have gone from 90 to 40 as Ph.D. students are placed in GA positions as a result of a drawing back of faculty position funds previously used to support Ph.D. students, Johnson said. "It's easier to raise money from alumni for undergraduates than graduate students. It's much the same as trying to get Richmond to see the value of graduate students."
Schroder said the Student Budget Board will provide the GSA with $31,500 next year. "Everything we proposed was approved," except summer officer salaries, which he anticipates will be reinstated.
There were 53 applications for travel funds but the $6,250 budget could only support 29. John Eaton reported that an additional $5,000 has been requested from the foundation for travel funds.
Officer elections had been planned but there was not a quorum. Elections will be held as the second item of business at the April meeting. Additional nominations may also be made at that time.