BLACKSBURG – Sarah Armstrong has been named director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services (SAASS) at Virginia Tech. Armstrong, a 16-year veteran on the SAASS staff, will lead the office, which enhances the educational experience of student-athletes at Virginia Tech.
Armstrong’s team coordinates day-to-day academic support, including tutorial services, student advising, NCAA continuing eligibility, and collaboration with campus on successful degree planning. Her office works closely with Undergraduate Academic Affairs Vice Provost Dr. Rachel Holloway and campus advisors in assisting student-athletes in reaching their academic goals.
“Sarah brings a depth of knowledge and experience to the leadership of SAASS. She knows the importance of all roles within the unit, having served in increasingly responsible positions over her career at Virginia Tech,” said Holloway. “Sarah served as a SAASS tutor as an undergraduate, then as an intern, a SAASS counselor and assistant director, and most recently provided strong leadership for our SAASS football counselors as Senior Associate Director. She has a deep understanding of university policies and procedures as well as NCAA academic rules and regulations. I’m confident Sarah will continue to advance the excellent work of SAASS and serve as a dedicated advocate for our student-athletes.”
Each year, SAASS serves more than 500 student-athletes in 22 athletic programs at Virginia Tech. In addition to students on athletics teams, the office also supports student athletic trainers and spirit squad members. The SAASS team also works in conjunction with Tech Athletics administrators and campus colleagues to track GSR and APR rates and other NCAA academic benchmarks and requirements for Virginia Tech’s intercollegiate athletic programs.
“Sarah has been invaluable in helping our student-athletes achieve academic success during her career at Virginia Tech,” said Whit Babcock, director of Virginia Tech Athletics. “We’re excited to see her move into this well-deserved leadership position in Student-Athlete Academic Support Services. We thank her for her years of exemplary service and wish her the best in this new role.”
A member of the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A), Armstrong received Virginia Tech’s 2018 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising. She oversees a staff of 13 including academic counselors, learning specialists and tutor coordinators.
SAASS is located in Lane Stadium, a convenient location for student-athletes as most of the other athletic services such as training facilities, locker rooms, and coaches’ offices are nearby in the Jamerson Athletic Center, Cassell Coliseum, or the Merryman Center. SAASS is a unit reporting within Undergraduate Academic Affairs, benefitting from support of the Provost’s Office and the Athletics Department.
Armstrong joined the SAASS office in 2005 and currently supervises all aspects of academic support services provided for the sports of football and women’s golf. Additionally, she serves as the SAASS liaison to the Office of the University Registrar for purposes of certification of all student-athletes. Before moving into her current role within SAASS in 2010, Armstrong served in a variety of roles, including, assistant director, tutorial coordinator, and intern.
“I am very excited for this new opportunity to lead the SAASS office,” Armstrong said. “I am grateful for those who have provided leadership opportunities to me throughout my career, and for the continuing support from Dr. Rachel Holloway and the full Virginia Tech Athletics staff. I intend to keep our office focused on our mission of providing full academic support to our student-athletes.”
Armstrong received a bachelor’s degree in human development with communication and psychology minors in 2003 and a master’s degree in health and physical education in 2005 from Virginia Tech. She and her husband, Adam, are parents of sons William and Matthew.