Home-News-Newsletter-CAUS+effect November 2020-Dean’s Message November 2020

Dean's Message

Welcome, VT CAUS family,

To the November 2020 edition of CAUS+effect. This online alumni newsletter for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies will give you an insider’s look into one of the most memorable semesters in Virginia Tech’s long history. Despite a global pandemic, our students and faculty are forging ahead with hands-on learning, in-depth instruction, and impactful research.

In this issue, you’ll see how the college and broader university community have focused their collective efforts on preparing and delivering a robust educational experience for students in the midst of COVID-19.

Those efforts include prioritizing the in-person interactions deemed most important by students and faculty – and finding the appropriate space to do so. CAUS has been a leader in the safe and creative use of space around campus and beyond, from installing a 60-foot geodesic dome that can host instruction and student pin-ups to taking advantage of the great outdoors. This fall semester may indeed look different than those in years past, but one thing remains constant: CAUS culture revolves around rich experiential learning opportunities for our students. Those opportunities stem from and connect to pioneering faculty research and carry over to our alumni’s careers.

These facts are evident in the people, programs, and projects we’ve highlighted through this issue’s stories. You’ll learn about an award-winning tear gas safety mask designed by our students and inspired by last summer’s pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, as well as a long-standing yet innovative program in the Washington, D.C., area that introduces students to policy at the highest levels. You’ll also hear about our faculty’s quest to tackle affordable housing with a grant to produce Virginia’s first 3D-printed concrete home, and take a tour through CAUS alumna Jackie Sanders’ budding artistic accomplishments.

Such developments are a testament to the incredible opportunity we have to help redefine the future of our disciplines in ways that leave lasting impacts on our local and global communities. As CAUS continues to pursue changes that more closely align the college with Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries vision, your voice – the voice of our alumni – will become all the more important. We’re also actively pursuing new efforts to engage faculty across the college in ways that build broad and lasting support for the path forward we’re creating together.

We hope you’ll connect with the college more frequently, through the difficulties of COVID-19 and as part of the ongoing conversation to position CAUS for sustained success. To that end, CAUS+effect is shifting to a shorter quarterly format starting with this issue, and we’ll also pursue more virtual engagement opportunities in the coming months.

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.