August 14, 2001
Present: Robert Grainger, Michael Smith, Kathryn Neeley, Robert O'Connell, Rebecca Kneedler, Houston Wood, III, George Cohen, Michael Levenson, Julian Connolly, David Brautigan, Susan Perry
Robert Grainger, Chair of the Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order. Mr. Grainger distributed the meeting agenda, and planning for the fall semester began. Most of the discussion focused on graduate student support, which will be the focus of this year's Faculty Senate Retreat, and which was the subject of an ad hoc committee report.
FACULTY SENATE RETREAT: GOALS AND FORMAT
This year's Faculty Senate Retreat is scheduled for Friday, September 14. Those present agreed that graduate student support was an important topic and an appropriate focus for this year's Retreat. The Council members concluded that one of the goals of the Retreat should be to articulate the value of graduate education to students, the State, and the academic mission of the University. Mr. Grainger asked whether (a) the problems associated with graduate student support should be identified and distributed to the full Senate in advance of the Retreat, or (b) the Retreat should have an "open ended" format in which the participants help to identify the problems. Everyone agreed that the problems were already well known and that the discussions held at the Retreat should focus on determining priorities and developing effective strategies. Following small group discussions on specific issues, there should be a short concluding plenary session.
To make the discussions as productive as possible, Michael Smith suggested that those with expertise on specific issues should be identified and asked to give a short presentation to the Senate. In a similar vein, Mr. Grainger indicated that graduate student representatives from the schools will be invited to attend the Retreat.
Important Areas of Focus Include:
Financial Support. We need specific information about money needed to support graduate student education. What options are available for obtaining the money? What are the trade-offs of the various options? How do we deal with differences between schools within the University, especially those between students in professional schools and those in other academic programs? The issue of tuition differential is very pressing in many parts of the University, and information on this topic should be presented at the Retreat. It was suggested that Colette Sheehy, Vice President for Management and Budget, and Kathryn Thornton, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, might be able to provide some input.
Recruiting Issues: Many of these are closely related to funding issues. What funding is being offered by competing institutions? What is the workload for graduate students in different departments and institutions? How do other departments and universities recruit graduate students? How do other in-state schools handle in-state vs. out-of-state status? What do state regulations actually permit? What is the reach of graduate students? One of the most important questions to be answered - in as quantitative and convincing a manner as possible - is: Are our graduate students receiving competitive packages? It was suggested that Joel Hockensmith, Assistant Dean for Graduate Residence and Training, might be able to provide some information on these issues.
Distance Learning: Distance learning affects graduate students in two ways: (1) when they serve as teaching assistance in distance learning classes and (2) when they are students in distance learning courses. Mr. Grainger will talk with Sondra Stallard, Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, regarding distance learning and graduate education. Rebecca Kneedler commented that Dean Stallard has written a white paper on the issue. Rebecca Kneedler will send Mr. Grainger a copy of the paper.
Other Possible Focus Areas for the Retreat:
· How does one articulate the important role that graduate students play and make a case for support of graduate education to a wider audience?
· What is the trajectory of a graduate career?
· How are graduate students perceived?
· How can the University work harder to include graduates in research and scholarship initiatives?
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT: GRADUATE STUDENT SUPPORT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
A report, "Graduate Student Support at the University of Virginia," was distributed. The report was written by an ad hoc committee of the Faculty Senate, chaired by Aaron Mills. Several comments and observations were made regarding the document. The question was raised "Who is the report intended for: the Provost, the Board of Visitors, legislators?" The group made several suggestions: (1) section 1 should be revised to make the tone more positive; (2) the appendices need to be improved upon, so that they contain more reliable data, and the sciences are represented appropriately in the appendices; (3) graduate students' advisors should have input in the report; (4) the fiscal aspects of graduate student support should be broken down; and (5) the report should include a one-page executive summary that focuses on the key issues. Mr. Grainger asked everyone to email their comments to him, and he will forward them to Robert Davis, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.
Those present concluded that the report should be edited further and reviewed internally before it is distributed externally. They also decided that the "Graduate Student Support at the University of Virginia" report should be revised or clearly marked "Working Draft," before the report goes to the full Senate.
DISSERTATION-YEAR FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS
Mr. Grainger said he is working with others in an effort to establish a dissertation-year fellowship program for graduate students. The fellowship program would fund 10 fellowships @$20,000. The School of Arts & Sciences has committed to fund five fellowships, the School of Engineering and Applied Science has agreed to fund two fellowships, and it seems like other schools will make funding commitments, Mr. Grainger said. In addition, it is hoped that the Provost will commit funding to the fellowship program.
There is approximately $30,000 left in the Faculty Senate's Teaching Awards fund, and the members of the Executive Council agreed that these funds should be contributed to the fellowship program. The Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate would be charged with administering these funds, Mr. Grainger said.
THEME FOR THE YEAR: INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY 2001: SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
In keeping with this year's theme: "Intellectual Community 2001: Science and Society," Mr. Grainger said the Forum for Contemporary Thought has some very interesting talks scheduled for this year. Mr. Grainger distributed a copy of the Forum's schedule of talks. Mr. Grainger is also working with James Childress, Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics, on outreach initiatives. The Institute and the Senate will co-sponsor talks and produce a poster promoting these talks. The Faculty Senate web site will include a link to the Institute for Practical Ethics' web site.
OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED AT THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING
· The availability of faculty housing -- Mr. Grainger will inquire further about this issue.
· A report on work being done to establish better dialogue between faculty and legislators. Mr. Grainger gave an overview of the Executive Council meeting with Colette Sheehy and Rob Lockridge regarding outreach with legislators - and how it can be enhanced. University alumni will be recruited to work with state legislators on issues of interest to the University. The Executive Council will create an ad hoc committee to address the issue. Mr. Grainger will also schedule meetings with Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Governmental Studies, and Nancy Rivers, Director of State Governmental Relations.
· The lack of faculty salary increases this year - Mr. Grainger will draft a letter to legislators expressing the Senate's concern. The letter will be circulated to the Executive Council for comment before being sent to legislators. Mr. Grainger will also let the Cavalier Daily know of the Senate's interest in this issue. It was also suggested that the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia join hands with the faculty senates of other state institution's for a joint letter to the legislators.
· The requested degree name change in the McIntire School of Commerce -- The School of Commerce brought a request to the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee to change the name of the "Master of Science in Management Information Systems" degree to " Master of Science in the Management of Information Technology." The new name more accurately reflects the current emphasis and orientation of the Program. The Academic Affairs Committee unanimously approved the name change on July 31, 2001. The request will now go before the Board of Visitors for approval before being sent to SCHEV.
· Mr. Grainger announced that the David Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards program is being funded again next year. The Faculty Senate's Research and Scholarship Committee is administering the program. Susan Perry is the Committee chair. There will also be a symposium this year, which will highlight previous research projects. The symposium date has not been set. The University Development Office may have a donor to underwrite the program in the future, and the coming year will be devoted to laying the groundwork for finding outside funding for the program.
· Future meeting dates were discussed. There will be approximately one Executive Council meeting every three weeks. Frances Peyton will work on scheduling meetings using input from Council members.
· Julian Connolly updated the Council members regarding the "keyword initiative." He is working closely with the Office of the University Registrar, and a keyword course search should be operational in about one year.
· Mr. Grainger said Fred Damon will continue to work with the Faculty Senate Faculty Speakers Bureau.
The next Executive Council meeting will be scheduled for sometime soon after the Faculty Senate Retreat.
The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
Submitted by Kathryn A. Neeley, Secretary of the Faculty Senate