The Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia
October 21, 2004 - 3:00-5:00 p.m.
South Meeting Room, Newcomb Hall
Marcia Childress, Chair of the Faculty Senate, opened the meeting with welcoming remarks. Ms. Childress made the following announcements:
Academic Affairs Committee - Kenneth Schwartz, Chair
Marian Moore, committee member, spoke on behalf of Kenneth Schwartz, in his absence. The work of the Academic Affairs Committee this year includes:
Kathryn Thornton, from the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Richard Pearson, from the School of Medicine, attended the meeting to address any questions or concerns the Senators might have.
Approval for the three degree closures has been obtained at the school level, Ms. Moore reported. Ms. Moore explained the rationale for the degree closures. Marcia Childress called for a motion to approve the degree closures; the motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.
Research and Scholarship Committee - Larry Bouchard, Chair
Mr. Bouchard reported that the primary work of the Research and Scholarship Committee this year will be to oversee the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards process and to work on this in tandem with the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which handles administration of the awards. Mr. Bouchard distributed a handout, which details this year's timetable for the application and selection process. More information will be available at the following URL: http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/cue/harrison.php. Mr. Bouchard remarked on undergraduate research opportunities as sometimes key to students' nascent academic interests and career directions. He encouraged faculty actively to seek out and work with students interested in research.
UVA Health Benefits for 2005 - Linda Way-Smith, Director of Employee Benefits
Linda Way-Smith gave the Senate background information on the University's health plan and provided an overview of the health benefits for calendar year 2005, highlighting changes.
Ms. Way-Smith took questions from the audience.
New Policies Affecting Departments and Programs with Research Grants
There was brief discussion of two new developments - one at the state level, one local - with implications for departments and programs which receive funding at least in part from research grants. First, the state has issued new purchasing guidelines, effectively immediately, which require that, for all purchases, bids be solicited from firms owned by women or minorities. The new policy affects purchases from all funding sources, though it may be more disruptive to grant-funded programs with longstanding vendor relationships. UVA is arranging training sessions for personnel who purchase items for departments and labs.
Second, UVA has recently developed a policy, to be phased in over three years, whereby the institutional contribution toward health benefits premiums for graduate students will be charged to the research grants on which those students are working. In the first year, the grant will be charged for 33% of the institutional contribution, with the grant's share growing to 100% by the third year. It was noted that this change is in response to escalating health insurance costs being borne by the University.
Chartered Universities Initiative - John T. Casteen, III, President
President Casteen discussed the rationale for and general provisions of the Chartered Universities Initiative that UVA, William and Mary, and Virginia Tech will be bringing to the General Assembly in January 2005. He commented on the changes that, if passed, this provision would effect in the relationship of the three universities to the state and to what extent the schools would have greater financial autonomy and flexibility.
President Casteen reported on the new Capital Campaign, now in its initial, "silent" phase. He stressed the importance in this campaign of amassing a large unrestricted endowment that may be used at the Board of Visitors' discretion.
President Casteen briefly discussed the recently issued Diversity and Equity Report. He will comment further on this report, its recommendations, and the institution's responses at the December meeting of the Senate. The Diversity and Equity Report appears on the web at the following URL: http://www.virginia.edu/uvadiversity/embracing_report04.html President Casteen reported that the University will be building additional parking near Culbreth Theatre in the near future. Construction and maintenance costs of this new parking deck will affect parking fees.
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Submitted by Deborah Johnson, Secretary of the Faculty Senate