The Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia
February 28, 2006 - 3:30-5:30 pm
Houston Wood, Chair of the Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order. Mr. Wood offered welcoming remarks and introduced President John Casteen.
President's Report - John T. Casteen III
Crossover Day has passed (legislation has changed houses for discussion and then reconciliation)
State appropriations proposals for higher education institutions - President Casteen compares House and Senate bills; houses have different ways of packaging money, so it can be hard to see on surface which bill is more advantageous. The Senate has research monies embedded in various places while the House has research money more or less in one place. There are different ways of proposing to pay for state's portion of the University's cancer center. It's possible that the two houses could reach no consensus, since the highly contentious issue of transportation is at the top of the State agenda. The Governor is more in the Senate's camp than the House's on the higher education front, President Casteen said.
A side-by-side analysis of bills -- Neither house is adequately funding graduate student aid. Provisions for salary increases are fairly close across both houses, so if they pass a budget, salary raises should go forward in the way that the BOV wants to see. There is more concern in the budgets for growth than for funding current enrollments, or ways the University has grown over 15 years and never got funding - (UVA now has 22,000 students?)
The two houses are talking about management plans that are part of restructuring. Only the current issue is sunset date for agreements -- maybe 3 years? The University would like longer, since they are looking at longer-range planning (6 year academic plan and BOV's 10 yr plan). The Board of Visitors hopes to have its 10yr plan done this summer (!). Board projections say a $10 billion endowment is needed by 2010 just to stay where the University is, relative to peers.
Capital Campaign -- all schools are crafting plans with near-and long-term goals - they are about a semester behind in the work. The Deans and Provost Gene Block will be working together on a pro forma analysis of funds needed to pay for or endow various initiatives. As of 31 January, $800 million has been raised (ahead of track), and the University probably has another $55 million not yet logged in from 2005, President Casteen said. The goal is to reach $1billion by the end of September. The Campaign should hit the $1billion mark by late summer. They University has been testing 3 versions of a draft case statement … 2 by President Casteen. It's a process of reduction now as they work with this document. Revision of third version of the case statement is now underway. President Casteen has met with 1000 alums and friends in 16 cities, including older donors and younger donors.
SACS Reaffirmation - reviews two-year process. Gene Block's staff is gathering data for first-year report. The President of UAB will be chair of the University's visiting committee; an off-site review. Earl Dudley is chairing a compliance committee (Reginald Garrett is the Faculty Senate representative). 6 Feb 2007 is the due date for second-year document, to be built around a theme. Site visit 20-22 March 2007. The Commission on Colleges meets in December 2007 to vote on the University's reaccreditation.
Living Wage -- Students from a poverty class have visited President Casteen's office, promoting a living wage for all UVA workers. The University is about at the point of asking for an attorney general's opinion, President Casteen said. Jeffrey Rossman, and Senator from the History Department asked "why ask THIS attorney general, why not just do it and see if it gets challenged, like the City of Charlottesville did?" There is concern for small businesses in cities that have passed a living wage ordinance. President Casteen says he's trying to figure out what the legal requirements regarding living wage issues might be in Virginia … and what categories of employees in cities and private businesses might be exempt. President Casteen said he will keep the University apprised of developments regarding the subject.
Future tuition waiver program -- Yoke San Reynolds, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, is looking at what other universities are doing. The question is how to do this, especially given that employees without children would not enjoy this benefit? Would the waiver be funded by the State? What would waiver mean by eligible "faculty" - just tenured and tenure-track, or also research and adjunct faculty? Would faculty be willing to forego raises in order to create pool of money to fund tuition waivers? Some private schools offer this as part of a cafeteria menu of benefits, so some faculty could choose tuition benefits while others might choose more money into their retirement plan, etc.
President Casteen took questions from the audience.Report on the Semester at Sea Program - Gene D. Block, Vice President and Provost
Semester at Sea -Mr. Block reported on the timeline of the decision for the University to sign on to head the program, the potential of program, and the process from here forward.
Students rave about program, Mr. Block said. The administration feels that the program can be more creative and rigorous. Not all current courses seem to meet our usual standards. This doesn't replace immersion experiences for study abroad; this program is better for students who can't take the leap into an immersion experience, since they can still get international exposure. It is also a good program for alumni travel during the summer months, Mr. Block said. Students from more than 200 schools are represented on voyages. There are opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and alums. It's expensive to do, but high-quality experiences can be structured. This can become its own academical village. Quality of academic courses is the key, and this depends on the faculty, those who teach onboard and those who vet the proposed courses.
The Semester at Sea Program could not put the ship on mothballs for 18 months during transition to our complete academic control. Mr. Block said he should have worked harder to involve FACULTY in all phases of project. Just consulting deans wasn't enough. The administration should have ensured that faculty was consulted in a broader way, but things were moving awfully fast. The decision finally rested with Leonard Sandridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Gene Block, with consultation with the Board of Visitors, and informed by deans. Faculty input was always intended in program operation. This is the awkward period, Mr. Block said, and next year, as courses must be developed and approved. The University will take complete control in summer 2007, when the University's academic dean becomes the sole appointer of courses, faculty, etc. Brie Gertler, a Senator from the School of Philosophy, said the transition time is not the only worry, the time afterwards is a worry, too. Ms. Gertler said faculty will be asked to vet courses and syllabi from other institutions and hire faculty; this is really broadening our job descriptions in a small department already overworked, she said. It is not obvious what UVA hopes to gain from this venture, and the average faculty member teaching Semester at Sea and the students participating in the program may well not be caliber of UVA faculty and students. How is this process going to reflect on the university, if it's not up to our standard? Is the University's name elevated by this association, or not? Mr. Block said the program is a way to get the University greater international visibility, especially if it's well done. Many of the faculty will be great teachers (maybe not researchers. Let's see what can happen, Mr. Block said. Alison Booth, a Senator in the English Department expressed concern in the department regarding interim period's courses and their rigor. She also expressed concern regarding long-term quality, saying the University can't give all the responsibility for academic quality to a single dean. There is also concern that the University would give major credit for courses less rigorous than what our students on grounds normally do. In closing, Ms. Booth said she also objects to the process;
Fred Damon, a Senator in the Department of Anthropology, asked if the University thought carefully in advance about how the program might be beefed up, and did the University use this information to the their advantage? Mr. Damon expressed concern regarding resources for the University's existing international programs - will this program help or hinder funding of other international initiatives. The University will get between $700,000 and $1 million per year to run the program, Mr. Block said.
Jeffrey Rossman, a Senator from the History Department, expressed concern that Leigh Grossman disbanded the International Council, and with directions of international studies/research here. Mr. Rossman said this is another example of the administration being out of touch with faculty. Gene Block invited Mr. Rossman to his office to talk; and reprimands him for linking things together (Rossman - it's a pattern) Leigh Grossman said the International Council will be resurrected as an advisory group, both to push international studies and to push internationalization locally. President Casteen spoke in favor of what Mr. Block has done. President Casteen referred the audience to handout showing schools that send students on Semester at Sea in the greatest numbers. He said these other AAU schools value and use the program, and consider the Semester at Sea program a viable alternative to campus education. The University does have some programs in which students don't receive full UVA credit. President Casteen says the impression that this is a Love Boat is wrong. He intimates that faculty discussion against Semester at Sea may indeed be hurting the program nationally. The University suffers too from a perception that we're too introverted here at UVA, he said. We need to do things internationally on many fronts in order to stay a viable higher education presence in the world in the next generation.
Report on Diversity and Equity - William Harvey, Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity
Mr. Harvey reported that he is still learning the scope of his job. The first thing he had to do here was deal with racial bias incidents last fall. Mr. Harvey meets regularly with student leaders, and his office has a website up and running, named "Just Report It," to report incidents anonymously. In addition, a committee of faculty and students has been created to help him think about the racial climate here. Mr. Harvey said he has met with the President's Diversity and Equity Commission, and is working on implementing that group's recommendations. The new Diversity Council begins on 16 March 2006, with representation from the administration and academic units. The Council will discuss diversity at UVa, review diversity practices within university units, and examine materials from other sources and institutions. Some of the programs Mr. Harvey's office will develop include: In Nov 06, a community-wide activity, with a theme and an annual Virginia Symposium on Race and Diversity. The 2006 program will look at the Katrina situation and race and class in New Orleans. Mr. Harvey said he would like to see each school launch a diversity theme each year. He also wants to increase diversity of faculty across the university, drawing on upcoming retirements and attrition. Jeffrey Rossman asked "do you want to see curriculum move beyond western perspectives?" Mr. Harvey answered "yes, there's lots to be done along these lines, to include contributions of non-western peoples and cultures." In closing, Mr. Harvey asked the Faculty Senate to name a representative to the new Diversity Council.
Update on the Student System Project - Charles Grisham, Project Director
Mr. Grisham indicated he wants to ensure faculty engagement in this project throughout its development. The new system will replace ISIS. Mr. Grisham wants to enable all student processes, from recruitment to graduation and after, to be electronically assessable, with only value added manual effort. His office is developing a sense of system requirements (from in-house information and information from other universities) and a strategic plan. 17 workshops were held last summer, with 150 resource persons from around Grounds, which helped develop list of system requirements and a sense of the project's strategic issues, looking toward the project's agenda. The project team worked further this fall on 2600 different requirements, 639 of these judged "critical," while another 1500 were judged "important." The group has had some engagement with vendors regarding whether their systems can satisfy our critical and import requirements, Mr. Grisham said. Mr. Grisham has visited GA Tech (Banner) and Stanford (PeopleSoft); both have good systems that work well. Banner and PeopleSoft are the vendors we're looking at. The project group is doing peer institution studies of 40 schools, and has visited five schools, including Stanford, which runs PeopleSoft with Oracle financials and the University of Minnesota, which has "One Stop" - best in class system with PeopleSoft platform. PeopleSoft is a lot harder to implement but way more flexible, Mr. Grisham said. PeopleSoft seems to be used more frequently at schools like ours. Both systems could satisfy more than 90% of our critical/important requirements (ISIS satisfies only about 70%). Mr. Grisham has named a faculty group of advisers to help determine what a system needs to do to work well for faculty. Mr. Grisham is also getting student input. He will soon examine business processes at UVA, refine the project scope, select a vendor, and choose a consulting partner. Mr. Grisham asked for faculty feedback and questions. Deborah Johnson, a Senator from the School of Engineering, asked about using SS numbers as identifiers. Mr. Grisham said the University is moving away from this, though SS numbers will stay in data records. The New system is projected to be designed and up and working by 2-4 years from now, Mr. Grisham said. The system will have web-based course evaluations built in. Mr. Grisham agreed to send a list of faculty who are on the advisory group, and group membership will be listed on their website.
Chair's Report - Houston Wood
Houston Wood updated the Senators on the work that has resulted from issues raised at the Faculty Senate Retreat. Mr. Wood said four focus groups have been identified: restructuring, tuition benefits, teaching and research, and faculty representation on the Board of Visitors. Over 20 Senators have volunteered to serve on one or more of the focus areas. There will be a meeting of elected Senators on April 13, 2006, to discuss the work of these four focus groups. The meeting will be in the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library, beginning at 3:00 pm.
Mr. Wood said the Executive Council is working on ways to achieve better communication within the Senate, to get information to faculty and constituents - possibly developing "chat rooms.
Mr. Wood recognized and thanked the members of the Dissertation-Year Fellowships Committee, chaired by Elizabeth Meyer, and the work of the Research and Scholarship Committee on the David Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards program. The Research and Scholarship Committee is chaired by Susan Kirk. The four Dissertation-Year Fellowship recipients have been announced, there were four recipients of Fellowships and four alternates. The recipients of Harrison Awards will be announced soon.
Susan McKinnon, a faculty member in the Anthropology Department, proposed that the Senate create a new committee to work with Provost Gene Block to improve the communication lines between faculty and the administration.
The election for new Senate officers will take place at the April Faculty Senate meeting. This year's Nominate Committee members are: Marcia, Childress, Kenneth Schwartz, Brie Gertler, Ann Hamric and Eugene Corbett.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
Submitted by Teresa Culver, Secretary of the Faculty Senate