Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall. Courtesy of Ben Schumin.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. We’d like to change that. You can help fund us.

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Virginia Tech now has a School of Animal Sciences

As of July 1, the Virginia Tech departments of Dairy Science and Animal and Poultry Sciences – which include the former departments of Poultry Science and Animal Science – are being combined into a new School of Animal Sciences.

The school will be one of the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi and ranks fourth nationally in the number of research grants, according to a release from Virginia Tech.

The new school, with nearly 700 students and over 40 faculty members, also ranksd sixth nationally in total grant dollars.

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Emory & Henry officially joins South Atlantic Conference

Emory & Henry College is now officially a member of the South Atlantic Conference. E&H is the 13th school in the SAC, which was founded in 1975 as an eight-member, football-only conference, and has since grown to sponsor 24 sports for the upcoming 2022-23 academic year.

After spending the 2021-22 academic year as a NCAA Division II Independent, Emory & Henry will play a full SAC regular-season schedule this year. Additionally, E&H student-athletes will be eligible for weekly and all-conference awards. However, the Wasps will not be eligible for league championships until the 2023-24 seasons.

The SAC is composed of four schools in North Carolina: Catawba College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Mars Hill University and Wingate University; four schools in South Carolina: Anderson University, Coker University, Limestone University and Newberry College; three schools in Tennessee: Carson-Newman University, Lincoln Memorial University and Tusculum University; and two schools from Virginia: E&H and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Barton College and Erskine College also come into the conference as associate members in football only as of July 1, 2022.

The new affiliation has created drastically shorter travel distances for road competitions which translates into less time that student-athletes will miss in the classroom and fewer late nights on the road, according to a release from the school. E&H now has five league opponents within 2.5 hours of campus and the average trip for conference games has been shortened by nearly 90 minutes.

( Background story: For more on changes at Emory & Henry, see “Emory & Henry College going through a creative re-invention.“)

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Pictured are J.T. Minnie Maude Charitable Trust staff: Charly Harris, CFO, and Fred Webb, executive director; College administration: Dr. Muriel Mickles, interim president, and Shannon Hair, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the DCC Educational Foundation; DCC HVAC faculty: Elliot Baynes; and DCC HVAC students in the newly refurnished HVAC workshop. Courtesy of DCC.

Danville Community College completes building renovation

The L.A. Hill Building interior renovation has been completed for the Danville Community College HVAC Program. This interior renovation was made possible by a partnership between the DCC Educational Foundation and the J.T. Minnie Maude Charitable Trust staff and its Board of Trustees and the community members and businesses who represent DCC’s HVAC Curriculum Committee. Over $300,000 was raised collectively to enhance the HVAC classrooms, HVAC labs, building hallways, and entryways. New HVAC program equipment and HVAC classroom furniture were purchased with this funding, in addition to new hall artwork, COVID-friendly painting and hands-free water fountains provided a much needed facelift.

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Tedesco named director of Tech’s School of Communication

John Tedesco. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

 John Tedesco has been appointed director of the School of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, effective July 1.

He’s been a faculty member in the School of Communication since 1999, where he’s held the position of professor in the public relations division since 2013. He was previously the director of graduate studies and director of research and outreach in the Department of Communication from 2004-09 and 2009-13, respectively.

Tedesco will succeed Robert E. Denton Jr., who has led the School of Communication to new heights for 21 years. Denton retired at the end of this academic year after 34 years at Virginia Tech. Douglas Cannon had served as interim director until Tedesco assumed the position.

The School of Communication is home to five majors: advertising, communication, multimedia journalism, public relations, and sports media and analytics. During his time as a professor, Tedesco has taught undergraduate classes in media and politics, public relations campaigns, and communication research, among others.

The School of Communication features two graduate programs with master’s degrees in communication and reputation management.

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Vet school is re-accredited

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine has been accredited for up to seven years by the  by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. The accredition means that the college meets all requirements of the 11 accreditation standards, according to a release from Virginia Tech.

In its review, the council acknowledged that certain facilities require improvement, according to the release.

Going forward, the college must provide specific reporting on:

  • Progress of the design, funding, and construction of the proposed expansion of the Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
  • Progress of construction of the indoor arena at the Equine Medical Center.
  • Progress of the laboratory renovation and casework replacement in the isolation facility at the Equine Medical Center.