To: Vice presidents, deans, and other interested parties
The enclosed document is a slightly revised version, without the accompanying SCHEV grid, of the restructuring report we submitted to the state on 1 October. It is the essence of our 18-month Self-Study, in a format designed for use both as an ongoing planning document and as our report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in preparation for reaccreditation and the visit of the SACS review committee in January.
Many thanks for your help all along with this ambitious endeavor, which is proving to be of significance for all segments of the University community.
Harold H. Kolb Jr.
Chair, Self-Study Steering Committee
1 November 1995
SummaryAppendix [not provided in electronic format]
Enhancing Teaching and Learning at a Research University
Expanding Options for Students
Deploying Faculty Effectively
Utilizing Information Technology
University Plan of Action: Accomplishments and Recommendations
Schools and Units
Arts & Sciences Departments
Self-Study," 17 November 1993:
"We believe the University is substantially in compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation. To document this compliance we propose to conduct an audit . . . of all requirements specified by the Criteria . . . and we will ask all departments and units to document in writing compliance or non-compliance with each requirement . . . .
"We propose as our alternative self-study focus to undertake a twelve-month long process of internal assessment of all of the University's operations . . . aimed at involving the entire University community in scrutinizing and, where necessary, restructuring its operations and redefining its collective educational goals . . . . Likely substantive areas for consideration [will include the closest scrutiny of expenditures, growth in student enrollment, rightsizing graduate programs, reviving the Faculty Senate, encouraging new programs and new fields of study, and providing a positive environment committed equally to teaching, research/creative endeavor, and service]."
From James T. Rogers' letter of 11 January 1994:
"Your institution's proposal to participate in the Strategic Model Self-Study Pilot Program was reviewed and accepted at the Annual Meeting of the Commission on Colleges last month . . . . Certainly we could not hope to conduct a test such as this without member institutions being willing to try something new and creative. This project has the potential of making a major contribution to the quality of the accreditation process in this region, and we are grateful to you for the part you will play in making this possibility a reality."
From the Virginia General Assembly's Appropriation Act, March 1994:
"Each senior institution of higher education, Richard Bland College, and the Virginia Community College System shall submit a restructuring plan to be implemented in 1994-96 and beyond to the Secretary of Education and to the State Council of Higher Education by September 1, 1994. Each institution and the system shall send a copy of its plan to the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees when the plan is submitted to the Secretary and the State Council. The objective of the plan is to effect long-term changes in the deployment of faculty, to ensure the effectiveness of academic offerings, to minimize administrative and instructional costs, to prepare for the demands of enrollment increases, and to address funding priorities as approved by the General Assembly. Where appropriate, the plans should include specific decentralization initiatives designed to produce long-term savings through the sharing of resources and/or the reduction in administrative duplication . . . . By October 1, 1995, each institution and the system shall submit a report on progress toward meeting its approved plan to the Secretary of Education and the State Council of Higher Education."
The decennial rhythm of recertification and SACS's new alternative procedure came at an opportune time for the University of Virginia. With a number of changes already in place or in progress as a result of state funding cuts in the early 1990s, and with a state restructuring mandate pending, the University decided to put recertification and restructuring at the center of a year-long comprehensive effort to scrutinize, streamline, and improve every aspect of its operation.
The first step, in March 1994, was to establish a process that would identify strengths to be maintained, problems to be resolved, and resources to be reallocated for greater effectiveness. This was done by creating, at the grassroots level, a series of discussions that brought together faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The work of these cluster groups was then refined by conferences with deans, unit heads, and department chairs, and from these conferences a consensus about issues and targets gradually emerged. We agreed that our goal was to mount an explicit campaign of improvement, efficiency, and responsiveness in academic programs and administrative processes, a campaign informed by assumptions of stasis as well as assumptions of change. With tuition capped at the rate of inflation, faculty size held relatively constant, and classroom space limited to our current inventory, our task was to improve our programs while enrolling 1500 additional undergraduate students by the year 2005. Throughout, unwaveringly, our commitment was to maintain and where possible to enhance the high quality of students, faculty, academic programs, and advanced research that has made the University of Virginia the leading public university in America. All this was summarized in two words by the Chair of the Department of Drama in his plan for simultaneously strengthening the Department's graduate program and cutting the number of graduate students by 80%: "streamlined excellence."
In April, a blueprint for restructuring based on interlocking committees was established. Each of the University's nine schools created individual self-study committees, often with sub-committees, as did each of the 25 departments of Arts & Sciences. When possible, existing structures--such as unit steering and curriculum committees--were utilized to catch the cycle of ongoing reforms and to avoid duplication. In addition, a separate set of committees was established to consider selected University-wide concerns that cut across school and departmental boundaries, such as accelerated degrees, diversity, information technology, teaching improvement, and faculty performance evaluation. Three supervisory committees were empowered to guide and revise the work of the 59 school, departmental, and issue committees, and these in turn reported to the Self-Study Steering Committee, which superintended the entire process.
Following this design, we proceeded in the late spring and summer of 1994 to fill in the details--assignment of committee members and chairs, preparation of charges to the committees, and a timetable--that allowed us to begin work toward our restructuring plan. That plan, which we called Targeting Excellence, was submitted to the state on 1 September 1994 and then, with the full University community back in session, we began the year's restructuring effort. All of the unit, departmental, and issue committees completed their work on 1 June 1995, and the weeks following were devoted to careful examination and revision of that work by the supervisory committees, overall surveillance by the Steering Committee, internal review by senior administrators and unit heads, and implementation.
The University of Virginia Self-Study of 1994-96 differs in many ways from other accreditation and reporting activities. It is a comprehensive effort, involving virtually all of the University's operations. Some 850 faculty, administrators, staff, and students were assigned specific Self-Study responsibilities, and hundreds more participated at the unit level. The reasons for engaging such a large proportion of the community were two-fold. At the beginning of the process, a large group provides a rich and diverse blend of ideas and experience that can then be winnowed into a specific set of suggestions. But ascertaining the right ideas is only part of the process of bringing about innovation and reform, for change also requires a participating constituency. Innovation can be initiated and encouraged in the President's conference room, but it will take root only if is planted in the three thousand classrooms and offices and laboratories where the University's work is done.
The Self-Study of 1994-96 is also characterized by the sober financial realism of the mid-1990s, by a high level of specificity, and by concrete actions rather than pious recommendations. This is not the time for vague plans for future consideration and speculations about what might be done with additional appropriations. New programs, revised curricula, and other initiatives essential to the life and development of an educational enterprise will have to be funded largely by reallocations and termination of less essential activities.
Finally, since we relied on committees to reach deeply into the University community, we have endeavored to restructure the committee process itself. Too often, committees and unit task forces are disconnected from overall University goals. They may become advocacy groups for a particular cause, and they are usually content with recommendations that leave implementation to higher levels of authority. That explains why a good deal of university committee work goes into files rather than into action. Therefore, the Self-Study committees were specifically charged with connecting their units and issues with the goals of restructuring and the University Plan for the Year 2000; with coordinating their work with related committees and with unit heads and persons responsible for implementation; with determining what savings could be effected, what resources could be reallocated, and how new initiatives were to be funded. We also established a system of committee supervision, visitation, and interim reporting to keep the process on track and to evaluate the product as it developed.
The succeeding pages summarize the larger themes that emerged from the year's work in terms of teaching, options for students, faculty deployment, information technology, and administrative streamlining and decentralization. This summary is followed by brief recapitulations of unit and issue accomplishments and recommendations that collectively constitute the University's Plan of Action.
ENHANCING TEACHING AND LEARNING AT A RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
There are two opposite ideas about teaching at a research university. The first is that teaching suffers because faculty are more interested in research and scholarship, Nobel prizes and book awards, than they are in teaching students, especially undergraduate students. On the other hand, we have the claim that teaching is strengthened at a research university since libraries are larger, the curriculum is richer, students are more actively engaged by a faculty whose task is to create as well as disseminate knowledge, and--most recently--information technology is more sophisticated and more widely available to enhance the classroom. In fact, at any given moment at any given research university, both of these theories could undoubtedly be substantiated. One goal of the Self-Study was to ensure that the second idea prevails at the University of Virginia.
We began with a good base. A recent longitudinal study of the class of 1992 ascertained that 79% of fourth-year students were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of instruction at the University, a judgment that is substantiated by course evaluations, and by the fact that 15,577 high school seniors and transfer students applied for the 2,890 places in this fall's entering undergraduate class. In their September 1995 assessment of America's best colleges, U.S. News & World Report included a new ranking of schools where the faculty "has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching." The University of Virginia was listed 11th in respect to this commitment among its peer group of "top national universities." Most faculty members are seriously and continuously concerned with the quality of their teaching; most students give that teaching a high grade. Nevertheless, the challenge of excellence is to do better, and we have embarked on a three-part campaign to do so.
First, we have increased the resources available for the teaching of undergraduates. Since the most important educational resource is the faculty, we have reduced graduate enrollments in Arts and Sciences by 5%, eliminated several graduate sub-fields, such as Comparative Economic Systems, closed down underenrolled graduate seminars, and reduced the time-to-degree in graduate programs. The faculty effort saved has been redeployed to undergraduate instruction. Many departments that formerly had undergraduate-to-graduate teaching ratios of 1:1 now report changes: Anthropology 3:1, Art 3:1, Drama 2:1, Economics 2:1, English 3:1, Government 5:3, Philosophy 5:3, Religious Studies 3:2, Psychology 2:1, Slavic Languages 3:2. Individual faculty members whose research funding and interests have declined have been assigned additional courses, and one department without a graduate program--Studio Art--has increased its teaching load for tenured faculty by 50%, a change that has allowed them to redesign and create new courses for the studio art major, add new courses in computer graphics, and add a new team-taught course on the Practice and Purpose of the Arts for non-majors. Other departments, History for example, have increased faculty-student contact by having all faculty members serve as undergraduate advisors. In addition to making more faculty available, we have increased resources in other ways, spreading classes across a wider span of time blocks, upgrading classrooms physically, and making new information technologies available to both students and instructors.
Equally important and more difficult, we have initiated a number of projects designed to promote an optimum balance between teaching and scholarship, to link teaching more effectively to the engines of recognition and reward that drive human behavior, to change the culture. Most new faculty come to a university because they have been exceptionally able students, and they come to establish a career devoted to investigation and discovery. That is as it should be, for a university is essentially a community of learners and good learners make good teachers. Yet a university needs many procedures and attitudes in place to ensure that effective teaching is one of the fruits of faculty learning and that it is recognized as a key part of the University's triple mission to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge.
We are now strengthening these procedures and attitudes at every stage of a faculty member's career. Initial contacts with applicants for positions will make clear that effective teaching is part of a professor's job description at the University of Virginia. We are rewriting the instructions for summer grants, one of the first documents seen by new faculty. The statement that now reads "No grants will be made for research . . . for the preparation of teaching materials" will be changed to convey an attitude more favorable to the conjunction of research and teaching: "Since successful research often has significant implications for a grantee's teaching, applicants are welcome to forecast those implications as part of their application materials." Similarly, new regulations for Academic Enhancement Program grants emphasize "research programs that have a direct and visible classroom instructional component"; as do those for the Teaching + Technology Initiative, which stipulates that the research for which awards are granted must be integrated into the curriculum in the term following the fellowship period. And the Provost, using funds saved from administrative restructuring, has announced a program of $5000 summer research fellowships with the stipulation that "each faculty member winning an award will teach a two-credit University Seminar, growing out of the summer research, in each of the following two years." These seminars, designed to bring senior faculty together with first-year students, are taught in addition to the faculty member's regular departmental load.
The University's tightened performance evaluation procedures mandate that teaching be considered in the annual review of each faculty member. Increasingly, departments and schools will be requiring faculty teaching portfolios in addition to student evaluations for the annual reviews, and especially for the sixth-year tenure review. Junior and senior faculty members alike are eligible to compete for the many new honors, prizes, and awards that are now available for distinguished teaching and for promising research that has a teaching component: Outstanding Teaching Awards, All-University Teaching Awards, Alumni Association Teaching Awards, Endowed Distinguished Teaching Professorships, University Teaching Fellows Awards, USEM Summer Research Grants, and Teaching + Technology Initiative Awards; as well as teaching awards sponsored by individual schools. These awards are coordinated by the Teaching Resource Center, which offers colloquia, workshops, videotaping, course evaluation, graduate teaching assistant (TA) training, handbooks and other publications, and advice on all aspects of teaching for all schools of the University.
In addition to increasing the resources for teaching and the recognition and rewards for effective teaching, the third part of our campaign to enhance teaching involves encouraging and disseminating successful ideas already in place. One of the advantages of our comprehensive Self-Study has been to discover new initiatives that exist in departments and schools separated by geography and discipline and to make them available to the entire University community.
Since the Department of German employs graduate teaching assistants (at UVa, TAs teach only 9.6% of our credit hours and are used mainly in elementary composition and foreign language instruction), they now devote a faculty line to a professional pedagogue, one of whose jobs involves the training, supervision, and evaluation of teaching assistants. The model program she has devised provides for
a five-day orientation session for all new TAs in the fall semester, with supplemental two-hour sessions in both the fall and spring semesters;
a senior graduate student instructor who serves as a model teacher and advisor to new TAs;
a weekly two-hour Praktikum for German 101 and 102 instructors, during which issues of a practical nature--texts, difficult lessons, classroom strategies, tests--are addressed;
an observation program, in which new 101 instructors visit and critique one another's classes. The faculty coordinator and a faculty advisor also visit each instructor's classes;
a videotaping program, for all new instructors, which includes a debriefing session with the language coordinator;
cohort teaching at the 300 level, in which TAs teach the same syllabus as faculty, give the same paper topics and exams, and inform their pedagogy through weekly conferences with faculty, mutual classroom visits, and written critiques.
Across the grounds at the Law School, where no TAs are used, another model for improving teaching is evolving. Last year, the School established an experimental program of "teaching partnerships," consisting of pairs of faculty members who visited one another's classes and engaged in follow-up discussions. This idea was based on an analogy between teaching and writing, since most faculty benefit from circulating drafts of their written work to colleagues as part of the process of review and revision. Teaching styles and strategies would presumably benefit from similar attention.
The success of this experiment has led the Law School to involve a much larger segment of the faculty in these partnerships starting in the fall semester of 1995. Eventually they plan that each faculty member will on a regular basis use several of the following techniques: have a colleague visit some classes (and then discuss what transpired), ask a colleague to interview a few students in the course, arrange for one or more classes to be videotaped, arrange for a colleague or outsider to join forces in reviewing the videotape, participate in workshops on teaching methods.
The University faculty has traditionally been concerned with good teaching. Now we are putting more powerful mechanisms in place to make sure that it happens.
EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS
Much of the focus of the Self-Study has been on students, especially undergraduate students. Our goals have been to teach more undergraduates and to teach them better, while holding the size of the faculty steady, decreasing the number of administrative and support personnel and the number of graduate students in Arts and Sciences, and taking full advantage of information technology for instruction.
The last major reform of higher education came in the late 1960s and early 70s, when student requirements, from chapel to dorm rules to the curriculum, were reduced or abolished. At the University of Virginia, two required courses in math and three in English were eliminated in 1969. In hindsight, with the clamor far in the past, these changes seem mild, easy, inevitable. They have also proved to be irreversible, and much of the debate about curricula in the last quarter century has been concerned with creating coherent and rigorous programs inside what is largely, and apparently permanently, a free elective system.
That debate continues, and has been complicated by the facts of modern American life. There are more students to be educated and--given the ever rising ante of knowledge and skills needed to enter the world of work--a larger percentage of our population will require education beyond our still-at-risk public schools. The population itself is ever changing, ever demonstrating new needs. Half of the students at the University of Virginia now are women; 25% are minorities, and that number will grow since some 30% of this fall's entering class have identified themselves as African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, and Native American. The entering class also contains 92 international students, a record for the University, and 125 others who hold permanent resident visas or are refugees. How can we create new options to meet the needs of these students at a time when other public responsibilities--health care, law enforcement, K-12 education--are making ever-increasing claims on state support?
Our first step in increasing the options for students was to make the option of attending the University available to more students. The Board of Visitors, in resolutions passed in 1990 and 1993, approved an increased enrollment target of 1500 additional undergraduate students by the year 2005. We are currently well ahead of schedule, with an enrollment of 11,975 for the fall 1995 semester--776 students more than the 1989 base year figure of 11,199. Adjusting to this increase, which comes without a compensatory increase in state funding, will require a number of changes. In some disciplines larger classes are possible, and Astronomy provides a useful example. Much of the material presented to introductory classes, such as the latest images from NASA space probes and satellites, comes in digitized forms. Thus the main astronomy lecture room, Clark Hall 140, has been renovated to provide multimedia audio-visual facilities as well as additional seating. This renovation has allowed the Department to increase its enrollments in introductory courses by more than 40% since 1992, with no increase in the number of faculty.
Information technology makes larger classes possible and, paradoxically, increases individualized instruction since network access allows students to retrieve images and text from classrooms, computer labs, dorm rooms, and off grounds residences. Yet instruction also needs to be individualized and personalized by contact with faculty members, for education is not a production line or a matter simply of delivering information. The essence of a strong liberal arts education--close reading, testing ideas, creative experimentation, written exposition--presupposes intensive faculty-student interaction. Thus while we are absorbing additional students by creating more large classes, we are creating more small classes as well, adding discussion sections to lecture courses and seminar requirements to major programs. This increased faculty effort at the undergraduate level is made possible by a reduction in the number of graduate courses in Arts and Sciences, the redeployment of faculty from administrative duties that can be handled by non-faculty personnel, and the reassignment of faculty from low priority or low productivity research programs.
Student options at the University of Virginia are substantially increased by the large number of programs through which we give course credit for demonstrated competence. The University recognizes credit for competency through the College Board's Advanced Placement Program and transfer credit (which includes dual-enrollment course credit); as well as through qualifying scores on examinations for the International Baccalaureate, the General Certificate of Equivalency (GCA) A level, the French Baccalaureate, the German Abitur, Cambridge Level A Examinations, SAT II in English composition and foreign languages; and through examinations and placement tests administered locally.
For the class that entered in 1994, 1,336 students (48%) received AP credit and 548 students (20%) received 13 or more hours of AP credit--the equivalent of one or more college semesters. In all, the 2,764 members of this class entered with 17,234 hours of credit through the AP program--the equivalent of 5,745 individual course registrations. In addition, 210 members of this class received some transfer credit, most of it from dual enrollment courses taken as part of their high school programs.
Another large group of students who complete 12 or more hours of college work after high school are formally designated transfer students. There are 615 transfer students entering in the fall of 1995--337 from Virginia's two- and four-year colleges, and the number increases every year. A new program with neighboring Piedmont Virginia Community College now offers provisional University admission to students after one year in the honors program at PVCC. They then continue through the second year at Piedmont, fulfilling the requirements that will allow them to transfer to the University for their last two years.
Students use these credits in various ways. Some have room to experiment with a variety of fields of knowledge, from Literary and Spoken Tibetan to The Relation of Music and Physics, that range far beyond their majors and their professional or vocational interests. Others go deep rather than wide, and qualify in two or three related major fields, or take graduate courses. And an increasing number of students use the competency credits they have earned as an academic slingshot, speeding them through the groves of academe.
Accelerated or reduced-time degrees have become of interest lately for two reasons. The first concerns the national tendency for students to take longer than four years to earn a four-year degree, whether through their inability to keep up the intellectual pace or the inability of their parents to fund eight consecutive semesters. The second reason for the interest in quickening the academic pace stems from the desire to save money by spending less time in residence, though students who choose summer school as the pathway of acceleration may find these savings--eroded by summer tuition charges and the loss of vacation earnings--less than anticipated.
UVa students are an exception to the national tendency to stretch out their degree programs, partly because we are able to meet 85% of their demonstrated financial need. The University ranks first in the Commonwealth and first among American public universities both in rates of undergraduate retention and in time to degree: 79% graduate in four years, 91% in six years. But there are some students, and the number is increasing, for whom a shorter time to degree is both appropriate and feasible. In the class that graduated in 1990, 39 students earned their degrees in fewer than four full years; last year the number was 69. These highly motivated students have been pioneers, carving out their own trails through requirements and programs. What we need to do now is to provide assistance, to identify the time-shortened degree as an approved option, to get out the word.
We have defined, and are now putting into place, a series of steps to help students who wish to accelerate their progress toward their degrees. These steps include opening the upper-class residential colleges to more entering first-year students; developing additional one- and two-credit courses; waiving the expectation of summer earnings in calculating financial aid eligibility for fast-track students; offering priority enrollment to students who are ahead of schedule; and providing special academic advising for such students through an assigned association dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. And we have been getting out the word. Information about shortening the time-to-degree has been made widely available for undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences, and in the schools of Engineering, Nursing, and Architecture, starting in August 1995. This information includes additions to the catalogue, newsletters, First- Year Book, and the University's electronic home page; announcements at meetings of students, parents, and faculty advisers; special meetings and advising for students who enter with more than 12 AP credits; and the preparation and distribution of a document entitled How to Graduate in Three Years.
Other means of increasing flexibility, lowering unnecessary barriers, and becoming more responsive to student needs focus on the curriculum. A number of departments in Arts and Sciences have reorganized their majors by streamlining requirements, reducing prerequisites, creating multiple options, and opening the doors to interdisciplinary studies. The trick is to take advantage of the specialized expertise of a research university without being trapped by it. Thus the Department of Physics, in addition to its BS degree, now also offers a BA in physics that has fewer mathematical prerequisites and includes a new two-semester course entitled "Widely Applied Physics." It is designed for students not planning to pursue graduate study in physics, such as those preparing to be school teachers, science writers, or physicians.
Many departments are reaching out to provide both more room and more interesting courses for non-majors. The French and the German departments now offer literature-in-translation courses. Anthropology has added such courses as "Race, Gender, and Medical Science," "People and Cultures of Africa," "Human Origins," "Language and Gender," "American Material Culture," "Nationalism, Racism, Multiculturalism"; and they have seen their enrollments jump from 850 undergraduate students per semester two years ago to 1750 students in the spring of 1995. The Economics Department, according to its Chair, "offered more new courses in 1994 than in all of the last 25 years, and without an increase in faculty." These courses, popular with majors and non-majors alike, concern such topics as "Law and Economics," "Public Choice," "Economics of Welfare Reform," "Economics of Health," "Economics of Education," "Managerial Economics," and "Corporate Finance."
The Self-Study of 1994-96 has given us the opportunity, in preparing for additional students, to increase the options and lower the barriers for all students, whether that means creating new academic courses and programs, keeping the tutoring center and libraries open longer hours, spreading out the schedule to reduce class conflicts, making more choices for housing available through residential colleges and language houses, rewriting regulations to emphasize opportunities and the possibilities for waivers, providing an interest-free, insured payment plan that allows participants to pay tuition in up to ten installments annually, creating an on-line internship information and tracking system, or wiring the dorms. A small but apt symbol of both the new technology and the new attitude is the fact that sweaty registration lines in the gymnasium are gone forever. Students can now register from their rooms with a one-minute telephone call to ISIS, the Integrated Student Information System.
Students work hard while they are in Charlottesville, and they represent the University and the Commonwealth with distinction after they graduate. Our task is to ensure that their years of education are as productive and as student-friendly as possible.
DEPLOYING FACULTY EFFECTIVELY
A SCHEV study on faculty productivity issued in 1991 concluded, as have national studies, that faculty members at research universities work longer hours--an average of 54 hours a week--than their college and community college colleagues, and that higher education faculty in general work harder than teachers in the schools, overburdened as the latter often are.
The recent criticism of universities in the popular press has been aimed more at what faculty do than how hard they work at it.
What do faculty members at a research university do? A partial answer to that question could be found in any issue of the University weekly, Inside UVa. Here one can discover that professors have been engaged recently in the following activities: identifying the apparent cause of Type II diabetes, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States; writing a biography of Lewis F. Powell Jr., which provides an inside view of the Supreme Court and the decisions in the past two decades concerning such issues as affirmative action, abortion rights, and presidential powers; revising the history of Pompeii through an investigation of the rebuilding of that city's forum between the earthquake of A.D. 62 and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79, a project that has implications for contemporary cities damaged by disasters; computing the mathematical formulas that converted a series of hexagons into a unified reflective surface for the 200 inch Keck telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii; creating an International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest to assist former Communist countries in making the transition from totalitarian police methods to law enforcement focused on human dignity and democratic ethics; developing photonic and optoelectronic chips that use light instead of electrons for information processing, which will usher in an era of smaller, faster, and more powerful computers.
How well do faculty members do this work? One way to measure would be to list the Pulitzer prizes, national book awards, Guggenheim fellowships, faculty rankings in the recent NRC survey, presidencies of national and international organizations, memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and scores of other awards and forms of recognition that faculty have won. Another would be to add up the grants. In the past year, 136.5 million dollars in sponsored research awards--16.6 million more than current state support--came to the University, as well as over 6 million in patent rights. The research service that major universities have been providing the nation since the 1940s operates as a powerful economic engine as well, providing new products and techniques for business and the professions, attracting manufacturing and industry to the area, and providing jobs. Sponsored research at the University of Virginia has created 4,700 jobs in the central Virginia area.
How well does this function of a university comport with its teaching mission? Often very well, since a university is a place where new knowledge gets quickly translated into new curricula for the coming generation. Students at the University of Virginia can, as the world and our understanding of the world changes around them, take courses in Serbo-Croatian, the globalization of business, sustainable architectural design, and extragalactic astronomy. An institution where knowledge is created, interpreted, and revised as well as disseminated provides an ideal learning laboratory, and an exciting one as well. "It makes all the difference," one undergraduate was heard to say as she came out of Edward Ayers' Southern History class, "when your professor has written the book."
How do we ensure that a research university is a teaching university as well? Two methods--increasing the resources for instruction and the rewards for effective teaching--are discussed above. There are others. We need to make certain that undergraduate students are able to take advantage of the resources of a research university and that graduate students do not consume a disproportionate share of faculty time. The Department of Religious Studies has long insisted that each faculty member divide his or her teaching load equally between undergraduate and graduate courses. But in doing their homework for the Self-Study, the Department discovered that their undergraduate program was more heavily enrolled than the graduate, so they have changed from a 1:1 to a 3:2 teaching ratio. It is worth adding that the Religious Studies undergraduate program is already rated the best in the country by the Gourman Report, and has been for the last five years. The Department's decision to put more resources into undergraduate instruction thus defines an important aspect of our understanding of restructuring, and of the legislative mandate to "ensure the effectiveness of academic offerings." We seek to correct deficiencies, and at the same time, when it is possible, to make excellent programs even stronger.
There are two balances that need to be struck at a research university. The first is that between research and instruction. The second is between undergraduate and graduate programs, and we are readjusting that balance by increasing undergraduate while decreasing graduate enrollments. According to our preliminary census for the fall of 1995, there are 11,975 undergraduates enrolled, 66% of the total student population of 18,066. This figure, however, can be misleading, since a large number of graduate students are enrolled in graduate professional schools where they do not compete with undergraduates for resources. In Arts & Sciences, after two years of reductions in many departmental graduate programs, only 15.6% of the courses are now allotted to graduate study. This reduction has followed the leaner-but-stronger principle that has guided much of our self-study. We have eliminated weak graduate programs, such as the MA in Public Affairs, and in general downsized graduate study at the first- and second year-level, thus protecting and in some cases enhancing the advanced graduate studies that are the hallmark of the top 25 research universities and part of their unique service to the nation and to their home states. The University of Virginia offers 25 doctoral and 19 specialized master's degrees that are not given by any other institution in the Commonwealth.
One other way to ensure that a research university is a teaching university is through leadership and supervision. In May 1995 the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences sent the following notice to his department chairs:
It is the policy of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that the standard teaching responsibility for full-time members of the instructional faculty should ordinarily average between 30 and 35 hours a week. Teaching responsibility includes not only the time spent in formal classroom instruction but also in advising, preparing classes, grading exercises, training and monitoring teaching assistants, holding tutorials and conferences with students, directing theses and dissertations, supervising students in laboratory programs--in sum, all of the activities whereby faculty deliver instruction to students.
What else do faculty members do? "Serve on committees" many would reply with a sigh, and one of our goals has been to reduce unnecessary committee work. We have, in fact, eliminated a number of University standing committees, including the Residential Life, Assessment Steering, Provost's Advisory, Division of Continuing Education, Calendar, and Chapel committees, and trimmed Faculty Senate committees from 10 to 5. The School of Architecture has reduced its faculty committees from 14 to 6. The faculty grievance procedure has been revised to lessen faculty time spent in dispute resolution. When committees could not be abolished outright we have found other ways to make them more efficient. Three committees--Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Interests of Persons with Disabilities, and Women's Concerns--are being swallowed into one, a new Coordinating Council on Diversity. Some committees can be reduced from standing to ad hoc status, others can operate with fewer members, a few can be transformed to e-mail groups.
Nevertheless, it should be candidly admitted that cutting committees is like lopping off the heads of the Hydra--others quickly grow up in their places. Assessment programs, budget reductions, promotion and tenure review, decentralization, faculty governance, and state mandates all require committee work, as do the normal operations at the department level where faculty are the administrators. The year-long self-study reported in this document cost some 20,000 hours of faculty, staff, and student time. If university committee service, like death and taxes, is inescapable, we can at least make it less taxing and less killing by ensuring that it is necessary, focused, streamlined, and efficient.
Finally, how should faculty be evaluated? This question was debated widely throughout the year--a debate which itself had a beneficial effect in compelling us to examine our current policies, compare procedures among schools, and investigate policies elsewhere. Three things gradually became clear. First, a good deal of faculty performance evaluation goes on all the time: every course is evaluated by students; articles and books submitted for publication are evaluated by authorities in the field; published books are reviewed by other scholars; grant proposals are judged by individual reviewers or panels of specialists; a faculty member's entire career is carefully scrutinized when the individual is considered for hiring, reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Secondly, the University's procedures for tenure are rigorous, fair, and effective, although some schools need to provide candidates with more complete written descriptions of their tenure policy. And thirdly, we learned that annual reviews of all faculty members are conducted throughout the University, but that these reviews vary widely in comprehensiveness and rigor.
It was this third point that engaged most of our attention during the year. Some faculty and administrators took the it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it position. Others argued for a tenure-like post-tenure review by committee every five or six years. The majority, and the winners as it turned out, held that five or six years was too long to go between reviews, that additional committees were the last thing that we needed, and that conducting annual reviews of their faculty properly was precisely the kind of leadership that chairs and deans were paid to exercise. The final policy, approved by the Self-Study supervisory committees and the senior University administration, and passed in substantially the same form by the Faculty Senate on 12 September 1995, is as follows:
All faculty members, in all stages of their careers, should undergo rigorous, consequential, and documented annual performance evaluations. Each review, to be conducted by department or division chairs or deans, should include the faculty member's written annual report, student evaluations (and teaching portfolios, if available), and thorough one-on-one discussions of the faculty member's teaching, research, service, assignments, future plans, and salary. In large departments, each faculty member should be reviewed annually, although the one-on-one discussions might take place on a biennial or triennial basis.
In the event that improvements in performance are necessary, the faculty member and his or her supervisor should work out an appropriate response. When the supervisor is a department chair, the dean of the school should be apprised of the situation. Subsequent annual reviews should monitor the faculty member's progress.
UTILIZING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Thomas Jefferson would have loved computers. One can imagine Monticello humming with megabytes as its owner nested his files on agricultural experiments, tracked his financial difficulties on EXCEL, and sent off e-mail to John Adams, Joseph Priestly, and Dupont de Nemours. The founder of the academical village, himself both a philosopher and an architect of change, would relish the recent transformation of the University of Virginia into an electronic academical village.
Scientists and engineers, of course, have been on-line for a generation. There would have been no man on the moon in 1969 without computers, but that was also the year that the English Department purchased its first electric typewriter. It is only now, in 1995, the year that Smith-Corona declared bankruptcy, that every faculty member has access to a terminal, every student is expected to read electronic mail, every office has begun to substitute electronic directories for filing cabinets. There is no corner of the University that has not been revolutionized by information technology.
With a keyboard at everyone's fingertips, and with many faculty members plugged into electronic applications and innovations in their disciplines, it is impossible to list the multifarious uses of information technology in an academic community with over 28,000 members. We can,
however, summarize the recent University-wide technological accomplishments and initiatives, most of which were created or coordinated by the department of Information Technology and Communication (ITC).
Wiring the village. By the end of the 1996-97 fiscal year, the University will have completed both the installation of an optical fiber network backbone and the wiring of all University buildings for initial or enhanced network access. This initiative will provide a uniform, reliable physical infrastructure that every member of the community can use, and it will enable students to use their own microcomputers to access network-based information from their dormitories. As of September 1995, the fiber backbone has been installed (and is operating at 10 times its 1992 capacity), all faculty offices are connected to the University network, and the wiring of the student dormitories is 70% completed. In addition, we are currently undertaking a major upgrade of the telephone communications systems that will provide the capacity and the features we will need in the next five to seven years.
The University-wide Classroom Improvement Project, now in its third year, has assisted in financing technological improvements in the classroom setting. Four Arts & Sciences classrooms are now capable of large screen projection of computer material. Two others are equipped with advanced audio-visual equipment, including camcorders, which can be used for instruction or for evaluating and improving teaching. And a new project, funded with state support and $250,000 in savings from administrative restructuring, has made Wilson Hall the University's hub of classroom technology. All classrooms in Wilson now have network access, overhead projectors and screens, whiteboards, and access to the new technologies. VCRs, CD players, video disk players, audio systems, and laptop computers are available for use in the building, and one room has been made into a multimedia lab with 25 computer work stations, both Windows and Macintosh. Wilson Hall also houses the Multimedia Resource Center, which last semester conducted 35 multimedia classes, with 155 people from 70 departments participating.
Assisting scholars, students, and teachers. The establishment of three new centers has brought the power of information technology to research and teaching and put the University at the forefront of humanities computing. The Electronic Text Center has the largest collection of digital documents in the academic world, and has recently expanded to include art and architecture images, numeric data, geographic information, and sound. The Art Department's Digital Imaging Project, funded by the Getty Foundation, is dedicated to defining the terms and conditions for the educational use of museum images and information on campus networks, and to demonstrating the value of digital media in the study of art and culture. As part of the project, the department has digitized images used in art and architectural history classes and made them available, with full catalogue information, to students at work stations in the Fine Arts Library. And the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) has supported the work of fourteen scholars from nine different departments at the University as well as a variety of networked projects involving scholars from other institutions. Focusing on the use of information technology in humanities scholarship, IATH has fostered the development of a series of hypermedia archives which make possible the presentation of a variety of textual, visual, and audio materials through the use of computer networks.
Two other projects, both commencing in the fall of 1995, have been created to assist faculty in the application of technology to teaching. The Teaching + Technology Initiative provides funding for a dozen faculty members each year to develop innovative instructional projects that use technology as a major component. And the Instructional Toolkit is a WorldWideWeb-based suite of tools that will increase efficiency in managing classes. The toolkit will be especially useful for large classes, and it will include tools that automate book orders from the University Bookstore, allow reservation of ITC resources, and help with the creation of class home pages.
Simplifying Administration. Two major projects are underway that will simplify, speed, and reduce the costs of administration throughout the University. The electronic forms project will develop a mechanism to replace existing processes in which data is written on paper, routed through messenger mail for approvals, and manually entered into production systems. E-forms will allow the University to capture data at its source, automatically apply business rules, and use the University's computer network to move the transaction rapidly through the approval chain, eventually making the e-form information available to mainframe systems. The Information Warehouse project will provide a consolidated, consistent, usable database of information that can be accessed through user-friendly graphical tools by end users. Potential benefits from the information warehouse include more effective use of microcomputer and other computer resources and better and faster decision making through improved data access.
Information Resource Proficiency. In 1990, the University's electronic network passed fewer than 1,000 packets of data per second between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.; by 1994 the figure was over 15,000 packets per second. As the use of information technology increases, the need for technical assistance and proficiency training increases as well. It is a sign of the times that a person who used to be known as a reference librarian has now the additional title of User Education Coordinator, and she spends as much time in the electronic classroom as in the stacks.
To assist students and faculty in navigating the complex electronic information environment, ITC and the University Library have expanded their user education programs. Each semester 90-minute courses are offered on a range of topics from "Internet Basics" to "Text and Image Scanning" to "Creating WorldWideWeb Documents with Hypertext Markup Language." These courses teach information identification and retrieval, as well as showing students how to produce and disseminate their own documents in electronic form. Over 9,000 students took these library classes in 1994-95. The next step, currently under discussion, will be to develop a series of discipline-specific courses at the 200 level that will introduce first- and second-year students to the special uses of technology in the fields in which they expect to major. Another new technology education initiative, under the direction of a recently hired manager of training and development, consists of a training program encompassing the use of microcomputers, network-based information, University administrative applications, new job-related technical skills such as LAN administration, and departmental computer support.
The Self-Study of 1994-96 is based on four premises and two exhortations. The premises are more students, level state support, no additional faculty, and leaner administration. The exhortations are to improve what we do ("effectiveness" in the language of the state mandate), and to do it at less cost ("efficiency"). This situation has produced challenges for everyone. Some students have had to triple up in the first-year dorms this fall. The faculty, with 1500 more students to teach, will have to be 13% more productive. Improving what we do is not easy for a institution that is rated first among public universities. And we are already the most fiscally efficient university in our peer group. According to the U.S. News 1996 college guide of 18 September 1995, UVa ranks 19th in quality and 62nd in financial resources among 229 national universities. In our peer group of the top 25 universities, education expenditures per student average $31,101. Expenditures per student at the University of Virginia are less than half that amount--$13,349.
Among these many challenges, that of streamlining administration is arguably the most difficult, since academic unit administration and central academic and administrative support bore much of the brunt of the stair-step budget cuts of the early 1990s. Secretarial staffs were decreased, travel funds were embargoed, expenditures for postage and copying were reduced. In central administration, thirteen senior positions were eliminated, saving $800,000 annually. Painful as they were, however, these were the easy cuts.
Restructuring has required that we probe more deeply into the possibilities of leaner administration, to move from belt tightening to nutritional redefinition. The task has been to rethink our processes and to create a new employee structure with perhaps 200 fewer but more highly qualified and trained administrative personnel. Two changes, one institutional, one technological, are helping in this task. The institutional change comes from the 1994 General Assembly decentralization initiative. The goal of this welcome initiative is to reduce costs and improve customer service by eliminating duplication of effort on the part of state agencies and by tailoring administrative policies and procedures to meet the needs of individual institutions. The University of Virginia's decentralization plan, submitted in June 1994 and approved in January 1995, requested authority for the University to establish its own policies and procedures in the areas of personnel, purchasing, finance, and accounting.
The technological revolution has also been crucial in our restructuring efforts, not only in processing, storing, and retrieving information but in changing the culture of the work-place as well. Computers and desk-top publishing and electronic mail--which now reaches 168,000 communications a day at the University during peak periods--save both money and labor. The Chemistry Department estimates that e-mail has reduced its copying costs by 80%. Every office has discovered less need for the chores of typing, filing, mailing, taking dictation, answering the telephone, making appointments, and setting up committee meetings. In the electronic age, leaner can in fact be better, and faster.
The administration of each unit of the University has been scrutinized and revised during the Self-Study--from large organizations to small, from the elimination of two of the three deanships in Arts & Sciences to the French Department's replacement of a part-time receptionist with a less expensive graduate student, from the budget process to library notices (now sent to faculty annually, rather than on a book-by-book basis). The restructuring of the office of the Vice President and Provost has eliminated four FTEs and allowed $225,000 to be reallocated to the Teaching Resource Center, the Teaching + Technology Initiative, and the Wilson Hall electronic classroom project. The departments of Academic Computing, Administrative Computing, and Voice Communications have been combined into one, Information Technology and Communication, with a savings of twelve FTEs which have been reallocated to new needs and growing areas in technology. Two associate deans in the Architecture school have been returned to full-time teaching.
While these and many other changes have been in process at the unit level, the central University administration has engaged in rethinking and restructuring across the full range of its operations, with the goals of shortening delivery time for goods and services, consolidating related units, establishing cooperative purchasing opportunities, improving customer service, creating telecommuting options on a prototype basis, expanding administrative services to other institutions, improving the capital outlay process, consolidating conference services, reducing the number of approvals on action forms, outsourcing advertising rights, developing the research parks, improving employee incentive pay plans, streamlining travel reimbursement procedures and employee leave policies, and improving benefits. The following initiatives are among the most significant:
Process Simplification and Decentralization. The University has established a team structure for reviewing core functions in finance, accounting, purchasing, and human resources; created twenty process teams that are charged with specific re-engineering tasks; and established a three-year plan for team deployment which includes support mechanisms. The effort is guided by a steering committee comprising senior administrators, customers, and ITC representatives. By implementing decentralization in this way, the University is using the authority granted by the state to fuel further decentralization and streamlining. Key achievements thus far, in addition to the electronic forms and information warehouse projects discussed above, include
--increased purchasing authority for University schools and departments. Our implementation plans include simplifying departmental purchasing through a vendor credit card program, raising the cap for limited purchase orders, and simplifying procedures for purchases under $15,000. The ultimate goal is to reduce the central purchasing staff by 50% within five years.
--development of a simplified purchasing manual for use by six senior institutions of higher education. The manual was approved by the state Secretary of Administration in June 1995, and internal policies and procedures are currently being modified.
--processing checks in Charlottesville. Improvements have already occurred, as can be seen in the 44% decrease in payroll overpayments, 70% decrease in held salary checks, and 50% decrease in salary advances since the University began writing payroll checks in 1994. Coupled with changes in processing faculty and staff personnel transactions, the formerly paper- and labor-intensive process for generating the University payroll will soon become completely electronic: once the information is initially entered on-line, no paper transaction will take place until the employee writes a check or makes a withdrawal from his or her bank account. In July 1995, the process of producing checks locally was expanded to include all expenditure checks.
Health care option. QualChoice, a managed health care plan currently funded by the University and the Health Services Foundation, was licensed as a Health Maintenance Organization in January 1995, with approximately 2,600 health care professionals enrolled as participants. In April 1995, the Governor authorized a pilot program for one year in which the University could offer the QualChoice triple-option, point-of-service plan to all University employees as an alternative to Key Advantage. During the spring open enrollment, about 4,000 University employees selected QualChoice, bringing the total enrollment to 6,600, or 65% of full-time salaried employees.
Premium payments remain lower in the QualChoice plan compared with Key Advantage, benefits are superior, and the University does not have to pay the state to administer health care benefits to the 6,600 enrolled employees. We plan to enroll up to 80% of the University's employees in QualChoice during the November enrollment period, to enhance the coverage offered by the QualChoice plan, to evaluate the two plans side-by-side, and to select one as the permanent health care plan by January 1, 1997.
Classroom management. We are currently in the third year of a long-term project to renovate classrooms physically, to upgrade them electronically, to better match the size of classrooms to existing needs, to increase our classroom utilization, and to convert inefficiently utilized classroom space to other uses.
We plan to improve classroom utilization, as calculated by state guidelines, by 5% in the fall of 1995 and by 10% before 2000. In the fall semester of 1994, UVa classrooms were in use an average of 29 of the 66 hours available per week for a utilization rate of 45%, an increase of 11.5% over fall 1993.
Beginning in 1994, the University began to provide evening classroom and laboratory space to Piedmont Virginia Community College. By 1997 we plan to provide 100% of their evening space requirements that exceed their on-campus capacities, thus saving PVCC as much as $20,000 annually that it has been spending to rent classrooms elsewhere. The University charges only the incremental costs of utilities and security for this service.
In order to use our classrooms most effectively, the University has centralized classroom control under the supervision of an Associate Provost for Academic Support and Classroom Management.
Budget and financial management. Our plan is to institute a new computing system by 1997-98 that will provide a comprehensive set of budget, planning, and analysis tools to managers across the University. These tools will increase access to information, will be fully integrated with the central system, and will make it possible to plan, budget, and track the deployment of financial resources within schools and departments.
The second part of restructuring the budget process is to consider the feasibility of moving to a responsibility center budget or other alternate model.
In addition to the accomplishments and the recommendations in the process of being implemented that are described in these pages, there were a number of unanticipated collateral benefits from our year of restructuring. Several groups caught the energy of the process to form study groups and to raise issues that were not originally on our agenda. Breaking all precedent, a Committee for Curriculum Cooperation in the Mathematical Sciences was formed by representatives from Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Computer Science, and Economics. One of its first projects was to produce a handbook listing all courses with substantial mathematical content, arranged by subject matter rather than by department.
This handbook was distributed to students and advisors during the fall semester advising and registration period.
Some departments took advantage of restructuring to rethink their disciplines and to unite their faculty. One department chair, in submitting her report, wrote that "we have made tremendous progress this year, and established forward movement that will continue into the next academic year. I must say that we turned a potentially tedious and onerous task to our advantage, and we, as a group, and the Department, as an organization, are much the better for it."
Other departments and schools received outside funding partly predicated on Self-Study activities. Curricular restructuring efforts in the Slavic Department were supported by the Lilly Foundation. The Dupont Corporation has agreed to provide three years of support to the Engineering School's self-study and strategic planning process. The University received two grants from the Modern Language Association, out of twelve awarded nationally, to revise curricula in English and foreign languages for prospective teachers as part of restructuring. The University Senate has been revitalized by its supervisory role in Self-Study activities, and it was the catalyst for the year's examination of faculty performance evaluation. And many faculty and administrators have commented on the increased cooperation that has followed University-wide discussions and inter-school committee work.
Perhaps most importantly, the University has designed a process to implement restructuring decisions and to strengthen future planning and assessment. This process will be headed by the Provost's Council and the Executive Vice President's Managers Group, and it will be ongoing as the Self-Study of 1994-96 is folded into the continuing evolution of the University of Virginia. Some of the initiatives that came to fruition this year were in fact started several years ago. Others were designed and completed inside the eighteen months officially devoted to the Self-Study. Several will not come to closure until next year and beyond. The re in restructuring means "again," and we are more convinced than ever that restructuring has no beginning and no ending. A great institution is one that is continually restructuring.
The following sections detail, by issues, schools, and departments, many of the University's accomplishments over the past 18 months, along with recommendations that are in the process of being implemented. These recommendations are derived from the work of 59 Self-Study committees, with deletions, emendations, and additions engendered during the review and evaluation of the committees' reports. These recommendations then, are not merely committee wish-lists, to be filed away for better times, but mandates for change that have been approved or are currently under consideration for implementation by the senior University administration.