Faculty Senate Retreat 2002
Annual Retreat September 13, 2002 - 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Alumni Hall Ballroom --Buffet Lunch
Michael J. Smith, Chair of the Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order.
Mr. Smith welcomed everyone and recognized members of the General Faculty Council.
He spoke briefly about the agenda before turning the floor over to John T. Casteen,
III, University of Virginia President.
John T. Casteen, III, President Mr. Casteen spoke briefly about the U.S. News
and World Report methodology used to make its rankings. Such factors as faculty
resources, salary increases, faculty/student ratio issues, and the proportion
of classes in small sections are considered when ranking institutions, Mr. Casteen
said. Mr. Casteen updated the group about the current budget crisis the State
is in, and how it is affecting the University and other institutions. Additional
budget reductions of 7%, 11% or 15% will have to be made. Mr. Casteen discussed
how these reductions would be handled at the University. He talked about the
need for the General Obligation Bond. The University is also working with private
donors. Mr. Casteen, Leonard Sandridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer, and Gene Block, Vice President and Provost, are happy to take part
in UVA budget discussions via email or other means to provide accurate budget
information, Mr. Casteen said. He also suggested that faculty keep budget information,
such as emails, and pass the information along to their colleagues.
Colette Sheehy, Vice President for Management and Budget, held a University-wide
budget information session several weeks ago, and Mr. Casteen indicated he had
the handout from that session on email and would be happy to forward it to anyone
interested. The main goals of the University during the budget crisis are to
sustain quality, to strive for no/minimal damage to the people, and to maintain
services. Other ways that the University hopes to minimize the effects of the
budget shortfall are: The transfer of a central tax from Darden and Law to
support the College ($2M) There is $6M available from an unrestricted endowment
to offset "some" of UVA's budget problems, which will primarily be used to support
graduate students and to retain faculty members that have received offers from
other institutions The Real Estate Foundation will transfer $1M from earnings
from property sales $1M in additional funds have been collected by Mr. Sandridge
from auxiliary services. These funds will be used to support core programs,
support undergraduate teaching, to support faculty retention, and to reward
extraordinary faculty efforts. Mr. Casteen took questions from the audience.
Michael J. Smith, Chair of the Faculty Senate Mr. Smith said the Retreat would
explore ways that the faculty body could address the budget shortfall and other
challenges faced by UVA. Colleagues from the sciences, the humanities, and the
social sciences spoke to the group regarding their thoughts on the issue.
Robert M. Grainger, Past Chair of the Faculty Senate and Professor of Biology,
spoke on the sciences perspective.
Michael H. Levenson, past member of the Executive Council and Chair of the
Department of English Language and Literature, spoke on the humanities perspective.
Michael J. Smith, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Professor of Government
and Foreign Affairs, spoke on the social sciences perspective.
Robert M. Grainger
Mr. Grainger commented that school rankings are important, and he talked about
where UVA is positioned in the rankings. The 2020 plan is a wonderful first
step toward rebuilding a "top 10" expectation for the sciences at the University,
Mr. Grainger said. Outstanding graduate students build groups of outstanding
scientists. Graduate students support this theory when they choose a graduate
school. Mr. Grainger said laboratory space is a major problem in the sciences.
He acknowledged that the responsibilities of a science chair that is also a
researcher are very hard. Mr. Grainger stated that he believes the administration
is very receptive to improving the sciences at the University. In closing, Mr.
Grainger said the 2020 recommendations are right on target, and he suggested
that far more graduate students are needed, a visible planning group should
be set in motion, the specifics of the 2020 recommendations should go forward,
and fund raising should be goals of the University. Mr. Grainger took questions
from the audience.
Michael H. Levenson
Mr. Levenson said too little communication and/or collaboration exists among
the humanities at the University. Planning, projection and visioning, both past
and future, are needed. Mr. Levenson strongly supports the goals of the 2020
report. He said resources, from outside and from within, are needed in the humanities.
He would encourage programs within a major, rather than a student undertaking
two majors. Mr. Levenson took questions.
Michael J. Smith
Mr. Smith said the University's deficits are about twice the level of the last
recession. The State has barely kept up with the rate of inflation, and State
support never recovered from the last recession. Two problems Mr. Smith cited
are a declining tax base and demographic growth. Mr. Smith asked: What's the
nature of higher education in the State? Do we, as a university, give up on
State funding? Do we revitalize the conception of a strong institution at
the frontier of excellence? How do we finance a public education? Mr. Smith
said the issues should be raised, and the University should enter the public
arena and engage the debate regarding how do we fund a public institution. Mr.
Smith took questions from the audience.
Mr. Smith reconvened the meeting at 3:40 p.m.
Mr. Smith introduced Edward L. Ayers, Dean of Arts and Sciences and a past
Edward L. Ayers
Mr. Ayers commented that faculty self-governance is important. He invited questions,
comments, and good advice on the University's current budget crisis. His comments
included an assessment of where the University is, in terms of the budget shortfall:
Stalled salaries Anxiety over departing colleagues Where is the end?
What are other administrators going to do? Mr. Ayers discussed how the School
of Arts and Sciences has suffered, i.e., faculty leaving and faculty getting
offers from other institutions. He commented that, in general, the University
has been able to keep senior faculty, but junior and minority faculty have been
lost. There have been 25 cancelled searches and 10 retirements. Mr. Ayers told
the Senators how Arts and Sciences is meeting the budget challenges and receiving
support funds to "plug the holes." The School's main goals are to: Retain
people (faculty and staff) that are already there Protect teaching quality
Spread reductions as broadly and fairly as possible Move forward with the
Promotion and Tenure process Allow retirements for those that wish to retire
Prevent people from turning against themselves and colleagues Mr. Ayers discussed
areas that have been affected by the cuts, and services that have been cut.
Arts and Sciences is addressing budget issues by reorganizing the Office of
the Dean. A new dean will address the needs of the scientists, the curriculum
will be revisited, and planning will begin for an honors computer science major.
Mr. Ayers is working to raise private money and to designate what the money
should be used for. He commented that, due to the past tuition freeze, tuition
is too low, scholarships should be given on a need basis, and a commitment to
students should be made through the University's tradition of great teaching.
The University should begin to rebuild the faculty that really is UVA. Mr. Ayers
Mr. Smith thanked Mr. Ayers.
Resolution: Mr. Smith presented the following resolution on the General
Obligation Bond: "The University of Virginia Faculty Senate joins its colleagues
in the Faculty Senate of Virginia, representing all the institutions of higher
learning in the Commonwealth, to urge passage of the Higher Education Bond Issue
in the November Election. This measure is a crucial step in helping to fund
the pressing needs faced by all Virginia colleges and universities. These institutions
face integrating an additional 32,000 students over the next eight years, in
facilities that in many cases are already inadequate to meet needs. The bond
issue will provide desperately needed funds for renovation and expansion. We
urge all faculty to take an active role in promoting a positive vote on this
measure." The resolution was voted on and passed unanimously.
The Retreat adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Submitted by Ellen Contini-Morava, Secretary of the Faculty Senate
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