Home-News-Newsletter-CAUS+effect February 2021-Dean’s Message – February 2021

Dean's Message

Photo by Cat Piper.

Welcome, VT CAUS family,


To the February 2021 edition of CAUS+effect. This online alumni newsletter for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies will give you an insider’s look into the strategic efforts and strengths of our college and our optimism for the year ahead. As we navigate the turmoil of a global pandemic, racial tensions and political shifts, our college strategic planning efforts continue to coalesce around the core themes of Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries vision.

As we worked through our strategic planning process over the past year, faculty and staff have identified diversity, equity and inclusion as our highest priority. This current year has seen the most diverse freshman year in the history of our institution. In CAUS, we also saw significant development in our student cohort with a steep climb in credit hours delivered to underserved and underrepresented minority students. Those gains were led by significant increases in the School of Architecture + Design and the School of Visual Arts. As we assess applications for next year, we can see this trend continuing with significant gains across the university and a 45% increase in diversity applications for CAUS. These gains are the result of coordinated efforts and a commitment across the university and the college. I thank all of our faculty, staff, students and partners who have been so actively engaged in these initiatives. We are collectively working to create a wonderfully diverse university and college.

Globally, universities have been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries have experienced 20% job losses in the sector. In the US, the last two issues of the Chronicle of Higher Education carry the headlines ‘How to survive the Enrollment Bust’ and ‘The Unbearable Cost of the Empty Campus’. Virginia Tech has come through this challenging period, and we are optimistic for the year ahead. This year’s applications have reached record heights, and our enrollment future is looking very strong with our largest program, architecture, attracting more applications than in the history of the college.

This newsletter is a testament to our collective strategic efforts and strengths during this difficult period. You’ll learn more about the advantages of the interdisciplinary education that we value and the resiliency of our passionate students who offer us hope for our future. We will also continue to celebrate our alumnae trailblazers in our pursuit for a more inclusive and diverse world, and our efforts to remain responsive to the programs we offer so we prepare students to solve the most pressing problems of tomorrow.

In the week ahead, Virginia Tech will launch Giving Day on February 24. This 24-hour day of giving allows us to come together as Hokies and directly support the Virginia Tech initiatives that are meaningful to each of us. We thank those of you who have connected with our college, and we hope that through the difficulties of COVID-19 you will continue to have conversations and support CAUS for sustained success.
As always, thank you for your support and partnership in the service of our students. I invite you to reach out to me directly at any time at vtcausdean@vt.edu, and I look forward to seeing you soon.