Report of the Academic Affairs Committee on its Activities during the 06/07 Academic Year
Last year, the McIntire School of Commerce and the Darden School of Business reached an historic agreement covering graduate degree programs within the overlapping areas of commerce and business administration. Under this agreement, the McIntire School of Commerce developed plans to offer Master of Science degrees in Commerce. These plans were reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee and were approved by the full Faculty Senate at its January 29, 2007 meeting.
2. Consideration of the use of professorial titles among the non-tenured faculty at the University of Virginia.
With the encouragement of the Provost, the Academic Affairs committee initiated a review of the use of professorial titles. Among the implications arising from use of such titles for non-tenured faculty are AAUP concerns about administrative abuse, possible erosion of tenure, gender issues, minority issues, compensation issues, and others. Several recommendations were formulated in committee and circulated within the Faculty Senate as well as within the larger community. At the heart of this matter is the important need for transparency in any transition to a new policy. These recommendations have precipitated much dialog about the Grounds, leading in some instances to the mistaken characterization of these recommendations as the final word. Indeed, the matter has not yet reached the level of a formal recommendation from the Academic Affairs committee, and when it does, it will be considered next by the Faculty Senate’s Policy Committee, as well as by other appropriate representations of the University’s non-tenured faculty. Be assured that this is a work in progress and that every voice will have ample opportunity for expression.
3. Review of the Faculty Handbook
The last published version of the Faculty Handbook dates from 1994, although revisions of policies relevant to the faculty are posted on the Provost’s web site. The Academic Affairs Committee undertook a review of these policies but was thwarted by the thicket of postings on the Provost’s web site and the lack of a contemporary hard copy of the Faculty Handbook to serve as appropriate guide to policies which have been altered over the intervening 13 years. The committee will revisit this review on receipt of an updated pdf version of the Faculty Handbook from the Provost, hopefully by the start of the fall semester.
The review and selection of Dissertation-Year Fellowships was carried out by a committee co-chaired by Deborah Roach of the Department of Biology and Deandra Little of the Teaching Resource Center. Over forty applications were received and six fellowships were awarded, two from the Office of the Provost, one from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, one from the Curry School of Education, one from the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and one from Alumni Association. The quality of scholarship displayed in the winning applications was extraordinary.
5. Initial considerations regarding the School of Leadership & Public Policy
The Academic Affairs Committee met on Friday, March 31, 2007 to consider a concept paper and feasibility study for the new School of Leadership & Public Policy. Following this meeting, the Academic Affairs Committee issued a statement of unanimous support for the concept, with the understanding that many aspects of the new degree programs, school configuration, and intersection with existing programs remain to be resolved. The committee’s statement noted the Faculty Senate’s responsibility in assuring faculty involvement in any initiatives surrounding academic programs. As the collective voice of the faculty, the Senate has an irreplaceable role to play in the creation of new programs and schools within the University. The Faculty Senate intends to work with faculty and university administrators to ensure that any new degree programs or schools create new scholarly possibilities for the university community while respecting the missions and traditions of existing departments, programs, and institutes.
6. Recommendations regarding policies addressing textbook sales and
In response to legislation passed by the General Assembly of Virginia, the Academic Affairs Committee submitted guidelines for course textbook selection by the faculty to the Office of the Vice President and Provost. These guidelines have since been distributed broadly among the University’s schools as a statement of University policy. Prominent among the guidelines is the requirement that instructors be aware of the retail price of textbooks selected for use in their courses.