A selection of junior faculty were asked questions about coming to Virginia Tech and getting settled in the area. We hope this helps you get a head start on getting to know the area and your department.

  • Remember to look outside your department for research buddies – Virginia Tech is big on collaboration inside the college and out in the university. It'll help you learn about other research happening on campus. 
  • If you enjoy the outdoors, go camping to one of the regional state parks — there are many choices. Fishing is easy here as compared with chasing trout in the west. 
  • For regional travel rent a car from Virginia Tech fleet — they are affordable, easy, and right on campus.
  • Try to understand the culture here at Virginia Tech but don't be afraid to push for small changes.
  • Long-time staff members are great resources for both campus and community advice. They know everything about campus and the area!
  • Be patient.

Junior faculty members' experiences varied, but they all benefited from departmental support.

  • My first semester was "super busy. I had two new preps, advising grads, etc., as was expected. There are lots of 'faculty development' workshops (help with grants, computing, teaching, etc.) and several new faculty orientations. Eating on campus was great, though; I loved the D2 buffet-style cafeteria!"
  • My first semester "was fairly smooth. Everyone was very helpful. The toughest things were getting used to the annoying and bureaucratic little quirks that every institution has."
  • In my first semester, I "got lots of support from other faculty in the department, so the adjustment went smoothly."
  • My first semester was "very typical. The hard part was coping with the slow lab renovations, as I was anxious to get the lab running."

A few of our junior faculty polled had experience with the Dual Career program.

  • I was hired through the Dual Career program and it was a positive experience.
  • I dealt directly with my home department chair, not Human Resources.

Depending on their previous locations, the junior faculty faced different challenges.

  • This was not our first move so we knew what to expect. I don’t think there were any challenges that prevented my successful transition to Virginia Tech.
  • There is no Costco or WinCo (moved here from Reno, NV)! We experienced big storms during our first spring. And where are the ski slopes? (Editor's note: Most people in this region go to West Virginia for skiing in the winter.)
  • We looked online. We rented for the first two years.
  • We contacted several local realtors and rental agencies and they searched for apartments for us.
  • We used a realtor recommended by the department — it was nice to not have to search for one.
  • We worked through a realtor, which turned up nothing to fill our needs. Then we turned to Craigslist for rental properties.
  • We have only one car and my wife needs it. So I wanted to be close enough to walk or bike to campus.  If you’re looking for solitude, you can still find something within three to five miles of campus.
  • Price and proximity to campus — we ended up living in Christiansburg.
  • We decided to live in Blacksburg because wanted to be close to campus and be part of the community. We liked the house and neighborhood best. We did a house-hunting trip before moving.
  • We chose to live in Blacksburg because of the school system. The education of our child is a priority.
  • Bull & Bones — the brewmaster is a friend.
  • Sal's (Blacksburg), Due South (Christiansburg), Old Virginia Smokehouse (Pearisburg), Macados, Sake House, Palisades (Eggleston), Mekong Cafe, The Bank (Perisburg), Backstreets (Blacksburg), Cabo Fish Taco (Blacksburg), Metro (Roanoke), Blue Five (Roanoke), Annie Moore's (Roanoke). We asked around for what the best places to eat were.
  • Palisades and Gillie’s. People in the department took us there during visits for interview and house hunting trip.
  • Zeppoli's, Boudreaux, Poor Billie's, and Sharkeys. We enjoy supporting local business and shy away from chain restaurants. As a family, we like to try as many different restaurants as possible independent of recommendations.
  • Panera Bread
  • Bolo's
  • Our Daily Bread
  • Mill Mountain Coffee
  • Next Door Bakery
  • Bull 'n' Bones
  • McDonalds
  • Famous Anthony's
  • Flynn's
  • UndergroundPub

There are many different ways to keep up with what's happening in the area.

  • Colleagues, soccer team, students, kids' school, etc. Information travels fast in Blacksburg.
  • Speaking with others at Virginia Tech, church, etc.
  • Virginia Tech daily news, emails, Blacksburg website
  • Websites, friends, church

Follow CALS

Contact

Susan Duncan
Associate Director, VAES
104-C Hutcheson Hall (0402)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-3766
duncans@vt.edu

Robin Williams
104 Hutcheson Hall (0402)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-6336
calsresearch@vt.edu

New Faculty Advice

New to Virginia Tech? Not sure how to find things in the community? Junior faculty members share their advice and ideas to help you get settled quickly. New Faculty Q&A