In addition to teaching and learning (see Instruction, Degrees, and Commencements), Virginia Tech’s mission focuses on outreach and engagement and on research and discovery.
The university’s initial outreach efforts came through its Extension program, established in the early 1900s, which focused, in its earlier years, on services to Virginia’s agricultural community. Outreach targets were broadened in the early 1990s with the creation of a separate outreach division known as Outreach and International Programs, which has evolved into today’s Outreach and International Affairs.
Research was part of the Extension program and was conducted at Virginia Agricultural Experiment Stations. Later, an Engineering Experiment Station was added to the research mix. The functions of these stations were connected by the General Assembly in 1966 with the creation of the Research Division. While research engages faculty members throughout the university, particular focus areas have become the targets of centers and institutes as well as interdisciplinary studies.