I am very proud of how our college has adapted to continuing our work during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may never realize the strength or quality of your organization until it has been tested. I am surrounded by committed, skilled, quality people who are actively fulfilling our responsibility to deliver the best educational experience, the best science and research discoveries, and a phenomenal outreach program — and are doing it with grace and kindness. Thank you colleagues, and thank you to the many friends, stakeholders, alumni, and others who continue to support us and stay engaged with us.

One group that has been critical in support of our students and faculty during the pandemic is the Advising Center. I want to acknowledge the work of Stephanie Hart, director of academic programs, and the entire team. They have really stepped up in support of our students.

In recent years, Virginia Tech embarked on an important project to update and replace the core curriculum — those courses or categories of courses that are required of all students across the curricula. As part of this process, Pathways minors were developed so that students could fulfill general education requirements while examining an important topic from a variety of perspectives. We now have five of these minors in the college, which are open to enrollment from students across campus.

Each Pathways minor presents a wonderful opportunity for students from within the college as well as other disciplines to add to their knowledge by exploring a theme, such as learning more about water resources through the Blue Planet minor. Experiencing a discipline in depth is critical for success in today’s complex world, but so is gaining exposure to current themes that cut across disciplines. The work we do in the college is important to everyone on this planet, and the Pathways initiative represents yet another way that we are relevant to the mission and success of Virginia Tech and our students.

Also in relation to serving our students, please connect with John Freeborn, director of employer relations, if you have or know of employment opportunities for our students: volunteer work, internships, summer jobs, permanent positions, or access to your network where you can help make a connection. Thank you for your help.

We just crossed the fall 2021 admission application deadline, and the college has a record high number of applications. Our degree programs and career opportunities remain in strong demand. I have great confidence in the future knowing there are so many students who want to make a difference.

I hope you, your families, organizations, and businesses are holding up during the many challenges of COVID-19. Please contact me if we can help you in any way. Brighter days are ahead.

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul M. Winistorfer