March 27, 2002
Present: Robert E. Davis, Robert M. Grainger, Robert O'Connell, Robert J. Davis, Richard Warner, Daniel Hallahan, Pamela Kulbok, Aaron Laushway Guest: Adam Daniel, Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences
Robert E. Davis, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, called the meeting to order.
The December 5, 2002, minutes were read. Bob O'Connell moved to accept the minutes, the motion was seconded, and it passed unanimously.
Mr. Davis praised the Committee members on their significant accomplishments this year. Mr. Davis said the work of the Graduate Student Subcommittee, chaired by Robert O'Connell, would be the main topic for the meeting.
The work of the Subcommittee on Graduate Student Support (Non-Funding Issues), chaired by Richard Warner, will be the discussed at the upcoming meeting on April 5. Mr. Warner said the Subcommittee has a rough first draft, and they are working on the structure and content of the report. The draft will be distributed to the Academic Affairs Committee the week of April 1. Todd Price, President of the Graduate Student Council, conducted a survey on the feasibility of a graduate student center. Everyone that completed the survey concurred that space is needed. Other issues addressed in the survey were what do graduate students want to see in a graduate student center, and should a center be exclusively for graduate students. Mr. Warner said most survey participants would like social space and working space. In addition, most participants felt the space should be exclusively for graduate students.
The Subcommittee also conducted a survey of seven peer universities to find out how they support their graduate students. The survey asks the questions
a) do you have a center for graduate students,
b) describe the facilities and functions that it maintains,
c) what resources does your university offer to its graduate students, and
d) does your university have any comprehensive recruitment plan for its graduate candidates?
Robert J. Davis, Chair of the Subcommittee on Dissertation-Year Fellowships, reported on the work of the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee received 60 Fellowship applications. Applications came from the School of Engineering, the School of Education, the Darden School, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Architecture. The applications are now being evaluated. Mr. Davis said the Subcommittee would report to the Academic Affairs Committee with their selection results.
Robert W. O'Connell, Chair of the Subcommittee on Graduate Student Funding, reported on the work of the Subcommittee. Mr. O'Connell commented that the report is two years in the making, with the first report written in the spring by a subcommittee chaired by Aaron Mills, Professor of Environmental Sciences. The report has been rewritten, incorporating the findings of Professor Mill's subcommittee, and adding a new thrust. Mr. O'Connell said that the increase in out-of-state tuition has made a bad situation a worse situation for graduate students. The initial goals of the report are to provide fall tuition support, expand coverage for graduates that make a contribution to the University, to supply some support to graduate students that do not get any funding, and finally a longer term goal of forgiving tuition for all graduate students. Mr. O'Connell noted that the University is working on improving graduate student support. He cited the recent decision by the University to offer healthcare coverage to employed graduate students. The group discussed the Graduate Student Funding report. Mr. O'Connell will draft an executive summary to accompany the report. The Executive Summary will be forwarded to Frances Peyton, Administrative Assistant, to be distributed to the full Academic Affairs Committee, and then to the Executive Council.
Rob Grainger, Chair of the Faculty Senate, will report to the Board of Visitors on graduate student funding at the upcoming BOV meeting. In discussing to whom the report should be given, it was noted that both Gene Block, Vice President and Provost, and Robert Sweeney, Vice President for Development, should get a copy. Others suggested were President Casteen, all deans, the full Faculty Senate, vice presidents, Jefferson Scholars Association administration, and department chairs. Cover letters should be tailored according to where the report is being sent, and the report should be sent both electronically and through messenger mail. The document should go out on April 15, 2002. The report should be included in a UVa Top News release. Mr. O'Connell will present the report at the April 23, 2002, full Faculty Senate meeting, and press will be invited to the meeting. Robert J. Davis and Richard Warner will also report on their subcommittee's work at the Senate meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.