While some race to Mars, scholars in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences push full throttle in pursuit of knowledge in the social sciences and humanities.

Dean Laura Belmonte delivered this message to faculty and staff during her State of the College address on Sept. 29.

Held on the fourth floor of Lane Stadium, the event celebrated the latest research and accomplishments of faculty and staff throughout the college. In addition to Belmonte, faculty from across the college highlighted their work and efforts to achieve college goals. Students also reflected on their experiences in the college as part of the program.

Recent research accomplishments include:

  • 350 journal articles and essays published by faculty since 2021
  • 150 research grants and fellowships awarded to faculty last academic year, including highly coveted awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies
  • 80 faculty members serving as editors of journals and other scholarly publications in 2021-2022

Belmonte also congratulated the work of college staff and faculty to attract and retain students from across the globe.

Since 2012, undergraduate enrollment in the college has increased by 26 percent. The college’s retention rate stood at 92 percent last academic year.

Generosity from alumni and supporters of the college has helped fuel the college’s success. Belmonte said the college eclipsed the university fundraising goal with 22.4 percent of alumni supporting students and research last year.

Since 2019, the college has received $12.2 million in new gifts and commitments.

“All of this is possible because of the hard work of our academic faculty and staff, and our college Advancement team,” said Belmonte.

Faculty speakers for the State of the College included:

  • Ralph Hall, an associate professor and associate director in the School of Public and International Affairs
  • Sylvester Johnson, director of the Center for Humanities and Tech4Humanity intiative, and a professor in the Department of Religion and Culture
  • Emily Satterwhite, director of Appalachian Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture
  • Carlos Evia, director of the Academy for Transdisciplinary Studies; professor in the School of Communication; chief technology officer
  • Shaila Mehra, assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion; associate professor of practice in the Department of Sociology
  • Clara Suong, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science; deputy director of the Tech4Humanity Lab; and a 2021-2022 Juneteenth Scholar
  • Amy Azano, an associate professor in the School of Education and director of the Virginia Tech Center for Rural Education
  • John Tedesco, director of the School of Communication
  • Bill Roth, professor of practice in the School of Communication
  • Monica Kimbrell, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs
  • Hannah Shore, senior public relations major
  • Jamal Ross, senior double major in political science and philosophy, politics, and economics

“In our college we create works of lasting intellectual, cultural, and aesthetic value,” said Belmonte. “We strive to deliver immediate and enduring contributions to society and ensure that policies and technologies are in service to humanity.”

Story by Andrew Adkins

Photos by Mary Crawford and Andrew Adkins

Pre-recorded videos in program by Andrew Adkins, Mary Crawford, and Mark Blane