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Agenda and Item Summary

Educational Policy Committee
Friday, June 16, 2000
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
East Oval Room, The Rotunda

Committee Members:

T. Keister Greer, Chair Walter F. Walker

Elsie Goodwyn Holland Joseph E. Wolfe

Stephen S. Phelan, Jr. John P. Ackerly, III, Ex Officio

Elizabeth A. Twohy

AGENDA


  1. CONSENT AGENDA (Mr. Low)
    • Conflict of Interest Exemption (ERICA Inc.) [5 min.]
    • Fiscal Impact Statement
  1. REPORTS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST (Mr. Low)

A. Vice President’s Remarks

B. Faculty Senate (Mr. Low to introduce Ms. Werhane; Ms. Patricia Werhane to report) [10 min.]

C. Information Technology:

Strategy for the Future (Mr. Low to Introduce Ms. Jones; Ms. Anita Jones

to report) [30 min.]

D. Blue Ribbon Commission Report

(Mr. Greer to report) [30 min.]

II. FACULTY PERSONNEL ACTIONS*

* For consideration in Executive Session

AGENDA ITEM SUMMARY

AGENDA ITEM:I.A. Conflict of Interest Exemption

BACKGROUND: The Curry School of Education has funding to study how students with disabilities interact with certain technologies. The project requires specialized hardware and software. ERICA Inc. is in a unique position to provide both the hardware and the software. The contract with ERICA Inc. would be for approximately $68,800.

DISCUSSION: ERICA Inc. is a local, privately-owned company. Several of its owners are University faculty members or University employees: Thomas Hutchinson, Peter Beling, George Overstreet, Chris Lankford, and K. Preston White, Jr. A contract between the University and ERICA Inc. would place these faculty and employees in violation of the Virginia Conflict of Interests Act unless the Board of Visitors approves an exemption. State law grants to the Board authority to approve an exemption in the case of sponsored research that will further the public interest. If the exemption is approved, the terms of the agreement with ERICA Inc. will be negotiated by the Office of Sponsored Programs consistent with applicable and usual requirements.

The Deans of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the McIntire School of Commerce, and the Curry School of Education have reviewed the situation and recommend approval of the exemption. The Deans will provide appropriate supervision of the research project, the contract with ERICA Inc., and the utilization of any University resources in association with the contract.

ACTION REQUIRED: Approval by the Educational Policy Committee and the Board of Visitors

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT

PROJECT/PROPOSED BOARD OF VISITORS ACTION: Approve a conflict of interest exemption for ERICA Inc., a provider of specialized software and hardware for educational purposes.

DESCRIPTION: The Curry School of Education proposes to negotiate a contract with ERICA Inc. to purchase computer software and hardware products to be used to study how students with disabilities interact with certain technologies. The ownership structure of ERICA Inc. would place certain faculty members or other University employees in violation of the Virginia Conflict of Interests Act unless the Board of Visitors, under the provisions of the Act, granted an exemption. Granting an exemption requires a decision by the Board that the potential financial gains arising from such a contract plus any intangible advantages outweighs the possible costs of litigation, other expenses, and alternative uses of University resources.  The amount of the contract would be for approximately $68,000.

FISCAL IMPACT: Potential liability arising from this arrangement is negligible. Any legal action arising from a breach of the Virginia Conflict of Interests Act would be borne by the faculty member(s) individually, not the University.

Products developed by ERICA, Inc. are licensed through the Virginia Patent Foundation, so a part of the income generated from this venture will ultimately accrue to the University’s benefit.

CONCLUSION: It is recommended that the proposed agreement between the University and ERICA, Inc. be approved and that an exemption for this transaction under the Conflict of Interests Act be granted.

RECOMMEND APPROVAL OF BOARD ACTION:

AGENDA ITEM:II.A. Vice President’s Remarks

DISCUSSION: The Vice President and Provost will use this portion of the Educational Policy Committee meeting to inform the Board of Visitors of recent events of which the Board should be made aware.

ACTION REQUIRED:None

AGENDA ITEM:II.B. Faculty Senate

DISCUSSION: The Vice President and Provost will introduce the Chair of the Faculty Senate, Ms. Patricia Werhane, Ruffin Professor of Business Ethics at the Darden School. Ms. Werhane will brief the Board of Visitors on the Faculty Senate’s accomplishments for the past academic year and its plans for the coming academic year.

ACTION REQUIRED:None

AGENDA ITEM:II.C. Information Technology: A Strategy For the Future

DISCUSSION: The Vice President and Provost will introduce the Chair of the Science and Technology Planning Commission, Ms. Anita Jones, who will present strategic options to the Board for future development of information technology at the University.

ACTION REQUIRED:None

AGENDA ITEM:II.D. Blue Ribbon Commission Report

DISCUSSION: Mr. Greer will report on recommendations in the final report by the Commission as they relate to the responsibilities of the Board of Visitors.

ACTION REQUIRED:None

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