University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

President: Mr. John T. Casteen, III

Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: Mr. Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr.

Vice President and Provost: Mr. Thomas H. Jackson

Vice President for Development: Mr. Robert D. Sweeney

Institution Type: 4-year public university, coed

Founded: 1819

Location: Suburban campus with easy access to Richmond

Annual Undergraduate Tuition and Fees(1992-93, in-state): $3,890

Highest Degree Offering: Doctorate

Calendar System: Semester

Enrollment Highlights:

Fall Opening Enrollment, 1990: 22,955

Women: 52.7%

Full-time: 74.5%

Minority: 15.6%

Non-Resident Alien: 3.1%

Age: 36.6% over the age of 24 (in fall 1992)

Completion Rate: 98% of freshmen end year in good standing; 90% graduate.

Personnel Highlights:

Number of Faculty, Fall 1990 (full-time instructional research, including medical faculty): 1,662 of which 908 or 54.6% are tenured.

of the 1,662 faculty, 326 were women (19.6%), 1336 were men (80.4%).

University of Virginia, p.2.

Financial Data:

Reported Total Current Funds Revenue, 1990-91:

$746,459,054

433,769,993 (excluding hospital)

Unrestricted: 609,924,081

297,907,848 (excluding hospital)

Restricted: 136,534,973

135,862,145 (excluding hospital)

Tuition and Fees: $88,587,532

Reported Federal Appropriations: $0

State Appropriations: $123,659,438

Federal Gov't Grants and Contracts: $76,068,459

State Gov't Grants and Contracts: $4,605,928

Private Gifts, Grants and Contracts: $56,177,740

Reported Total Expenditures, 1990-91:

$739,209,386

433,607,656 (excluding hospital)

Endowment Size (Market Value, June 30, 1992): $557,115,513

Ranked 25th among 270 institutions with endowments over $35

million in 1992.

Assets:

Land (Book Value, End of Year 1990-91): $47,088,452

Buildings (Current Replacement Cost, 1990-91): $909,229,858

Equipment (Current Replacement Cost, 1990-91): $703,692,265

Indebtedness (balance owed on Physical Plant Principal End of 1990-91): $191,953,062

University of Virginia Campus Roundtable Discussion

Sense of Meeting Notes

April 6-7, 1993

Dinner Discussion, Tuesday, April 6, 1993

Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda on the University of Virginia campus was the setting for the first meeting of the campus Roundtable. In this historic setting, the discussion was appropriately begun with a od toward other moments in American higher education history that have challenged institutional leaders to think differently about the practices and organizational forms that structure life in the academy. Examples of such historic restructuring that were offered included:

* the development of professional school accreditation in the e a r l y twentieth century that forced a formalization and standardization of curriculum;

* the rapid growth of both student numbers and federal funding f o r research that caused the rapid expansion of state systems o f h i g h e r education;

* the social movements for racial integration and co-education in the 1960's that caused historically black colleges and universities and single- sex institutions to transform in order to appeal to a new generation of students; and

* the outreach demanded of academic health centers increasingly called upon to respond to meet community health needs.

The discussion then turned to the external conditions that are challenging existing practices in higher education today, specifically with regard to research universities.

Research Expectations

The pressure being exerted affecting research comes from several angles, leaving faculty members feeling caught between competing interests. On the one hand, there is a clear sense that expectations for research have increased across the range of disciplines. Tenure committees are demanding more published work from candidates, a phenomenon attributed to the institutional competition for prestige. The observation was made that in the past it would be possible for faculty members to stop publishing after they completed their dissertations and still be well loved on the campus. Today, expectations for research are much higher, and those that do not publish are not promoted. The generalist -- the Mr. or Ms. Chips -- is being passed over for the specialist.

On the other hand, the response from the external world to this emphasis on research has been largely negative. There is resentment on the part of students and their parents that the calculus has shifted toward research. The external perception that research and teaching are mutually exclusive has not been mitigated by the effort to convince the public that the link between teaching and research is a vital one. The perception of the Virginia legislature is that if faculty were less engaged in research, more young Virginians could be educated at the University.

National Prestige

This conflict between teaching and research is seen by Roundtable members to have its origin in the competition for national ranking. The competition for national prestige in part reflects the consumerism of today's students. Graduate students have long understood the importance of program or department reputation in selecting an institution. But undergraduates, too, are in many cases placing a high value on institutional prestige and quality as a way to retain the market value of their degrees. The reputational race is also a recognition of the importance institutional prestige plays in the acquisition of external grant support and new faculty that are essential to keep an institution lively in the creation of new knowledge.

Administrative Responsibilities

The increasing burden of administrative work was named as another external force challenging the traditional allocation of faculty time. The process of hiring new faculty is illustrative of the type of administrative tasks that have grown in complexity over the last several decades. Traditionally, department chairs or other members of a faculty would place a few informal calls to colleagues around the country to generate a list of potential candidates to invite in for interviews. Today, due to the demands for faculty diversity and reputational quality on one hand, and a market surplus of Ph.D. candidates on the other, the University advertises for and receives huge numbers of applicants for each position. Further, department representatives recruit and interview candidates at national conferences. Wading through this mountain of curricula vitae and published work takes an extraordinary amount of time.

But the burden of administrative work is also generated from the academy's increasingly close relationship with the external world. For example, deans and department heads are expected to be partners in the fundraising enterprise, a new role for them at public institutions of higher education.

The Service Organization

The University is being increasingly viewed by the public as a service enterprise as opposed to an educational enterprise, and this has caused some confusion about the appropriate role of the university in the society. Concern was expressed that the university as an intellectual enterprise worthy of public support (the Cold War model) has been lost as the public demands a visible return on investment in the form of legal clinics, medical services, help to small businesses, library resources, applied research and a host of other services to the community. The pressure for accountability -- that the University prove that it has added value to a student's life -- is the tangible expression of this public expectation. But the university community is in part responsible for this view of the university as a service enterprise, because it has repeatedly used the service argument to justify requests for increased funding.

Globalism

Another force affecting the university (brought up in the Wednesday morning session) is globalism. This movement has at least three dimensions that may affect all higher education institutions.

* Federal research funding has been driven for almost fifty years by the Cold War. Its demise may well imply a change in sponsored research priorities.

* A potential turn from spending for world engagement to spending for domestic priorities may impact on the total amount of U.S. spending for higher education. Will the United States help other nations like Russia and Eastern Europe rebuild their economies, or turn its attention home?

* The broad globalism movement is seen by many as a drive for broadening of participation in and accountability for decision making at all levels -- for democratizing governments worldwide, and for expanding participation at the organizational level. Heavily centralized, bureaucratic, top-heavy organizations are facing pressure to transform into more entrepreneurial, decentralized and participatory organizations.

Finances

The key external pressure instigating reflection is the contraction of financial resources available to colleges and universities. Issues raised in this discussion included the competition for funds at the state and national levels of government, the scandal over indirect cost recovery, the lack of confidence in government agencies that have led to increased earmarking of budgets, the high cost of technology, and the increasing cost of tuition that have students increasingly questioning the value of their education in terms of return on investment.

The evening's discussion closed with the observation that restructuring is not an objective term, but instead has an agenda embodied within it of which everyone needs to be cognizant. However, it is not an agenda that every member of the university community accepts. While traditional methods of operation make it difficult to effect change within a university, change in the delivery of education is essential in order to respond to evolving external conditions, or change will be imposed externally. The challenge is to find a way to restructure the organization that is consistent with the university's roots and past values.

Morning Discussion, Wednesday, April 7, 1993

The central task of the morning session was the effort to identify and describe the culture of the University of Virginia, especially as it related to the contemporary challenges facing the institution. First attempts were also made to suggest how the University might respond to these challenges while still respecting the unique culture of the institution; those thoughts will be addressed in the Notes on the afternoon session.

One of the central issues for the University of Virginia is the receptivity of the campus to change. That the campus has a very strong cultural tradition, rooted in its founding by Thomas Jefferson but reinforced by its position as a southern university, was seen as both a strength and weakness of the institution. On the one hand, the community is justifiably proud of its reputation as an institution "on the move," responding to the central quest for knowledge that began with its founder. on the other hand, it must also take responsibility for its insular, racially-segregated, all-male past, aspects of the University's tradition that are viewed by some as having held the institution back.

Key to this discussion of tradition versus change is the tension over the values that will guide the institution into the next century. There is a very strong resistance to what was described as the "corporate" or "industrial" model. Indeed, several historical metaphors were employed that suggest how high passions run in the community's debate on restructuring. One was the overtaking of Rome by the barbarians, which spelled the end for the Classical period. An intellectual life once publicly-shared disappeared with the closing of the Platonic Academy in 515 A.D. into the cloistered world of the monasteries to be quietly preserved until the Middle Ages. Another metaphor was American transition from the agrarian society which emphasized cooperation, nurturing, and the cycle of nature, to the early industrial model of alienating factory work. While these metaphors describe faculty perception of the academy's clash with the values of the external world, the point was also made that it is often students and alumni who offer the most resistance to change on a college or university campus.

Compounding the problem of the values question is the sense that the academic world lacks a language of conveying to the American public the values that have guided and should continue to guide higher education. Faculty members see themselves representing values that are under assault in American culture: the cultivation of the spirit and the inner life of the mind, the development of strong interpersonal relationships with students and colleagues, and a commitment to the long-term public interest through research. In contrast, they see the public obsessed with short-term gain, with issues of efficiency and productivity, and with measuring outcomes that are not viewed as measurable. The academic world is not inherently opposed to innovation and recognizes that it is part of the larger society, but it wants to frame the change agenda, and to set boundaries about which values will guide the institution into the future.

Issues of power were identified as central to restructuring at the University of Virginia as well. One view is that the leadership for restructuring on campus will have to come from the established, tenured faculty. However, this is the very group seen as most resistant to a change agenda. Younger faculty may be more receptive to restructuring and wish for greater participation in campus governance, but lack the time, stature or security to push the agenda forward. Deans were viewed as essential in pressuring departments to democratize decision-making authority, but the issue of bridging traditional faculty norms and new ones at the University of Virginia was left as a problematic one.

Another issue facing the campus is the growth in specialization and the fragmentation of the disciplines that has led to a splintering of the curriculum. The problem is viewed as the result of host of internal and external factors including:

*sponsored research funding patterns;

*market decisions that reflect concern with University research reputation;

*the norm that grants individual faculty members autonomy in deciding what type of work they wish to pursue; and

*a general breakdown of consensus in many disciplines about what constitutes the core of knowledge.

While no consensus emerged about the level of priority this issue represented to Roundtable members, the sense emerged that the problem of over specialization, at least as it related to research, can be ameliorated somewhat through collaboration and greater utilization of interdisciplinary centers. It was also suggested that the scope of the undergraduate curriculum be narrowed during the first two years, but the question still remains as to how the campus might collectively decide that should constitute this "core" education for first and second year students.

Afternoon Discussion, Wednesday, April 7 1993

The afternoon session entailed a further exploration of two central issues that emerged during the morning session: what kind of organizational structures are appropriate to bring about restructuring at the University of Virginia, and how might the university community's receptiveness to change be enhanced? The conversation gradually evolved over the course of the day from a general exploration of the issues to the generation of specific ideas of restructuring.

Communication and Power Sharing

A sense emerged that the University of Virginia is too highly centralized to respond flexibly at the local (department) level to the types of challenges posed by the contemporary higher education environment. The first issue is faculty isolation from these problems. Faculty members felt that there was insufficient education from the leadership of the institution on the magnitude of the problems that are forcing higher education to examine its policies and practices. The suggestion was made that such campus leaders as the University Provost and the Vice President for Health Sciences be invited to a series of group meetings by the department chairs to discuss the contemporary environment with the faculty. The SCHEV report has already demonstrated to the community that there is an external threat. However, it was generally felt that communication among and between the administration and the faculty requires a higher level of energy and long-term commitment. it was suggested that the lesson of the Yale experience is that the change agenda cannot be successfully rushed. Faculty need to be convinced that there is a problem, but also invited to participate in the solution.

Second, the discussion revolved around ways the institution might generate a stronger commitment to department innovation in programs and policies, while retaining a strong sense of mission and direction from the center of the organization. The group viewed new norm-building as something that could only be instigated from the leadership of the institution. However, it is a process that must have full participation from the faculty at the department level. The notion that the department faculty as a group take collective responsibility for a change agenda was seen as a way to transform the norm of individual faculty entitlement (for example, to certain teaching loads and freedom from authority) into a norm of shared responsibility for the fate of the students and the institution. Department chairs would be empowered to lead their departments into an exploration of new policies, but the guiding vision for the change agenda is a broader set of agreed-upon norms communicated by the institution's top leadership.

Promoting Flexibility

One view that was returned to repeatedly over the course of the day was that the University of Virginia must do more to foster flexibility in its policies and structures especially as they related to teaching loads, curriculum, and research. The "cookie cutter" metaphor was used to describe the way in which institutional policies treat every department alike even though disciplines have widely differing norms for research and teaching. For example, a long discussion took place over the rigid way that the institution evaluates faculty work for the purposes of hiring and promotion. Instead of recognizing that individual faculty members may have alternating periods of intense and more limited research productivity, it is assumed that faculty should be successfully accomplishing their multiple roles of teaching, research and community service all at the same time.

As an alternative, the group suggested practices that would evaluate faculty careers over cycles of three to five years, and sometimes longer if a book is in the works. Faculty members who devoted significant time to teaching larger classes would be allowed to "bank" some time for independent research. Or those younger faculty working hard and successfully at research would be expected to do less teaching without penalty. It was strongly felt that creative experimentation with the "airtight configurations" of the University might help achieve major productivity gains for the institution by capturing the time of colleagues in less productive career cycles, relieve some of the pressure on those members of the faculty trying to do it all, and ameliorate some the public criticism about undergraduate teaching. While the rapid acceleration of knowledge in some fields might make time off from research for teaching problematic for some, the sense was that these concerns could be addressed individually at the department level.

A practice that might change the incentives for teaching small, specialized courses to teaching larger sections might be to recognize and reward those individuals that are successful at teaching big undergraduate courses. Currently, there is a sense of relief on the part of the other faculty members when someone volunteers to do so, but certainly no compensation for the added work. Instead, the department might create a reward structure that provides additional compensation for teaching large numbers of undergraduates, which will help gradually eliminate the stigma attached to those that do so. Further, some kind of penalty might be attached to faculty only willing to teach small, specialized courses of interest to them.

Re-focusing on Undergraduate Education

The suggestion was made that undergraduate education is the nexus between the external world and the internal world of the University. Given that so much of the criticism centers around the public's questioning of the research university's commitment to undergraduate education, the University might build a stronger relationship with the public if it embarked on a sustained conversation about what UVA does to give the undergraduates a full experience. Changes that might improve the quality of the undergraduate experience were seen as ones that could be made and still remain consistent with the values of the academy. Rather than viewing the undergraduates as an inert mass, changes in thinking about the students would entail regarding them in a ore individualized fashion. The 2/2 modem was suggested as a way to create a core educational experience for first and second year students, while allowing them the flexibility to branch out into fields of specialization during the second two years. It was also suggested that faculty could share more their research with undergraduates, and in so doing help to foster an interest in the research experience.

Proposed Problem Cluster

University of Virginia

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, higher education has absorbed a disproportionate share of the shortfall caused by the recent recession. Statewide, Virginia leads the nation in cuts to higher education-13 percent, as opposed to 1 percent for the United States as a whole. Tuition and fees have been raised more than 60 percent, so that the Commonwealth is now second highest nationally in state tuition, but only forty-third in per-student state support. The state now provides less than one-sixth of the University's total operating budget, and less than one-fourth of the budget for the University, excluding the teaching hospital. Yet state rules, regulations, and mandates complicate, delay, and increase the cost of administration. Faculty and staff salaries have fallen substantially behind national averages, and faculty have lost a portion of their retirement benefits. These trends cannot continue without the loss of faculty and the exclusion of many of the Commonwealth's students due to increasing costs.

Despite these cuts, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has proposed to force an increase in the number of students without a corresponding increase in resources. Furthermore, new proposals form the state administration suggest that higher education might be asked to absorb further cuts of up to 10 to 15 percent in state support-as much as half the total projected shortfall in state revenues for the next biennium. Such cuts, particularly when coupled with suggestions that tuition not be used to buffer the effects of the cuts, would be ruinous for the quality of higher education at the University of Virginia.

In addition, there is little or no prognosis in the short run (that is, the next six to ten yes) of any substantial return of state funding, and indeed, some risk that further state budget cuts will be requested for future biennia. State pressure not to replace lost dollars with tuition increases will remain and perhaps increase. Both announced candidates for the upcoming gubernatorial race in Virginia have already endorsed this notion.

II. Proposed Strategy (For Discussion)

It would be a mistake for the University of Virginia to respond simply by asking schools and units to make further substantial cuts in their budgets. Although appropriate as a response to a short-term problem, this strategy is not effective in dealing with a long-term shift in the state's position. To survive in a sound academic condition, the University must now take a sustained look at what and how it does what it is doing as a basis for addressing a permanent budgetary realignment. But that must be part of a long-term strategy that involves issues such as tuition and our relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In this light, we need a process that looks at least at the following aspects of our operation: 1) internal spending; 2) revenue issues; 3) state regulation as part of a whole, rather than as discrete, separable elements. The process will have to maintain a balance between faculty input, administrative input, and input from third-parties outside the institution. We are considering the following steps, to be started in the very near future and to be brought to a conclusion during the academic year 1994-95.

-Establish a working group, headed by the academic vice presidents, to direct the process internally and to act as a sounding board for findings and preliminary recommendations of outside consultants.

-Seek proposals from outside consultants competent to undertake a comprehensive study of our budgetary situation, including the three factors identified above, and to make preliminary proposals on how to set the budget on a firm footing without harming the academic mission of the University.

-Have the consultant's report turned over to the Faculty Senate, the Schools, the other major units of the University, and key alumni for their input and advice.

-Have the President fashion his own set of recommendations, based on all of the sources outlined above. These recommendations would, in turn, be shared with the constituencies and discussed (perhaps in a series of meetings).

This process would culminate in final recommendations to the Board of Visitors for adoption.

Some Questions Raised Over the Course of the Three Discussions:

What steps might the University of Virginia take to respond proactively to a changing higher education environment? How might an internally-motivated process of change at the University differ from a process imposed by external entities?

To what extent does restructuring at the University of Virginia imply modification of institutional mission? Can the institution reform simply by achieving more efficiency in its practices and policies?

How might the University of Virginia improve its internal communication so that the community's members are sufficiently well-informed about the problems confronting the institution and feel welcome to contribute toward the solutions?

How does the University of Virginia community go about creating new faculty norms -- in the responsibilities of faculty members toward their students, to their academic disciplines, and to their institution?

How can the University of Virginia incorporate more flexibility in its policies and structures relating to faculty teaching loads, research and service?

Should the University of Virginia embark on a comprehensive discussion of the undergraduate educational experience, paying special attention to the coherence of the curriculum and who comprises the undergraduate teaching faculty? How might such a discussion be initiated?

To what extent do the different perspectives of senior and junior faculty impede or facilitate discussions of reform at the University of Virginia? How might the differences among the faculty be reconciled?

teamsept@Virginia.EDU