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Virginia Tech

The Bauhaus heritage of Tech
Virginia Tech's Center for the Arts, opening in fall 2013
I read with some dismay the letter entitled "The Center for the Arts" (fall 2010 Virginia Tech Magazine). Certainly all individuals are entitled to express opinions about the design of this important university building. However, the brief history and characterization of the Bauhaus is historically incorrect and misleading. The phrase "form follows function" is a paraphrase from the American architect Louis Sullivan's famous essay, "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered," first published in 1896. The phrase is actually "form ever follows function" and is part of a more-nuanced thought about architecture. The assertion that the Bauhaus led to "plain, box-like structures" is a gross oversimplification of the complex educational program and influence of the Bauhaus upon later generations of architects. It should not come as a surprise that the highly ranked programs in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech are in fact influenced by many educational tenets of the Bauhaus still valid today. In fact, the founding dean of what was then called the College of Architecture at Virginia Tech, Charles Burchard, was Walter Gropius' student at Harvard University. The early founding documents and manifestos of the Bauhaus state that its purpose was to "... unite and productively stimulate the arts." The intellectual basis of the school, according to Gropius, was to acquaint students with the foundations of creativity rather than perpetuate any dogmas or "isms." Finally, it is sadly unfortunate that the writer makes an association between the Nazis' closing of the Bauhaus due to its decadence with the design of Virginia Tech's Center for the Arts. Employing the tragically flawed blood-and-soil aesthetic policies of the Nazis to critique the design is unproductive. Surely we can hope for an open dialogue (about the design of a university building) that is more historically informed and patently less offensive.

There is one point in the letter that I certainly can agree with—the worth of a building for the arts at Virginia Tech.

Frank Weiner
Professor, School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Magazine, Fall 2010
FALL 2010
MMI interviews for veterinary students

It is noteworthy that the Class of 2014, now in its first year of study at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, was also chosen utilizing the multiple-mini interview (MMI) methodology.  [Editor's note: See "Diagnosing the doctors of tomorrow," fall 2010 Virginia Tech Magazine.]

The process differed very little from that used by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTC). In fact, Jacque Pelzer, VMRCVM director of admissions and student services, and Jennifer Hodgson, VMRCVM associate dean for professional programs, met with VTC in early 2009 to consider using MMI and were included in VTC's training session. VTC had rolling admissions, so the interviews took place at different times.

VMRCVM prescreened a total of 875 applicants, and the 275 applicants selected were interviewed on campus in two-and-a-half days in January 2010. I believe this process helped ensure security, confidentiality, and consistency and thus fairness for all. The interviews did necessitate a huge one-time effort of planning and execution and a larger number of interviewers. Half of the interviewers were comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators. The other half of the interviewers were veterinarians in private practice from Virginia and Maryland. I felt this distribution was a real plus, for it allowed us practitioners an opportunity to evaluate qualities we value and desire in future colleagues in our profession.

Jack Rosenfeld, a co-creator of the MMI at McMaster University, was on site and assisted throughout the process, including training interviewers.  I would hope that this VMRCVM accomplishment deserves an equal amount of pride and recognition as VTC has received. We are the first and only veterinary school with this distinction.

David E. Moreman, D.V.M., M.S.
Front Royal, Va.
Recognizing osteopathic medicine

This letter is in response to an article entitled "Diagnosing the doctors of tomorrow," published in the fall 2010 edition of Virginia Tech Magazine.

I am currently a third-year internal medicine resident finishing up my training in an American Osteopathic Association-approved residency program with Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg, Va., and the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Va., I have had the privilege of rotating and working with residents from the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital on numerous occasions over the past three years and have very much enjoyed the ability to learn from and with my allopathic counterparts (M.D.s).

With this said, I am a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) by education and training and am wondering why the medical school that I attended was overlooked in the research process that took place prior to making the following statement in the article: "On the heels of a 20-year span during which no new medical schools were established in the United States, Tech has exercised its innovative awareness to craft a school that utilizes radically different but proven methods of selecting and teaching students."

Considering the fact that I completed my medical school education at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in the Corporate Research Center (CRC) on the campus of Virginia Tech and my post-graduate training in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I definitely have many blessings to be thankful for when considering the private educational system in this lovely state. I think that it is important to point out the error of the above-mentioned quotation.

VCOM was established in 2001 and accepted its first class of approximately 150 students for the 2003-04 matriculation year. VCOM is one of four osteopathic medical schools (D.O.s and M.D.s are considered equivalent in the eyes of the American Medical Association as well as the U.S. government), in addition to at least one allopathic medical school (Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine), to be established in the last nine years, a far cry from the nearly two decades quoted.

Since its inception, VCOM has grown by leaps and bounds, extending its physical presence into South Carolina with an additional campus (currently accepting applications); graduating three (almost four) classes of fully accredited physicians in that time period; placing the vast majority of its graduates into primary care fields of medicine (family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, OB/GYN, and pediatrics); and serving the residents of the Appalachian region.

Why would such an organization be overlooked? Why would a medical school located 35 minutes from Roanoke, situated in the CRC, and established in 2001 not be considered prior to noting the "20-year span during which no new medical schools were established in the United States"?

Jarod Bailey, D.O.
Christiansburg, Va.
CLARIFICATION: The story cited the Association of American Medical Colleges, which tracks the accreditation of allopathic medical schools and recorded no new allopathic schools from 1982 to 2002. The association does not monitor the accreditation of osteopathic schools; thus, the story's statement should have been qualified with the word "allopathic."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is an independent, private college residing in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Virginia Tech is a public entity of which VCOM is not a part. Tech and VCOM do maintain an affiliation agreement that offers VCOM students access to many Tech facilities and student services although VCOM graduates are not considered Tech alumni.

Use of Hokie Stone formalized by board of visitors

At its Nov. 8, 2010, meeting, the board of visitors passed a resolution to make Hokie Stone the official building material and the collegiate gothic style official for all academic core and life sciences precincts on the Blacksburg campus. The board's resolution noted, "This attractive and distinctive stone more recently assumed the moniker 'Hokie Stone,' reflecting its status as a Virginia Tech architectural tradition," adding that the "physical campus is one of the most tangible features that everyone who is touched by Virginia Tech remembers."


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Winter 2010-11
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