The Executive Council of the Faculty Senate
January 11, 2005 - 3:00-4:30 p.m.
350 Clark Hall - The Odum Room
Present: Marcia Childress, Houston Wood, Robert Davis, Deborah Johnson, Arlene Keeling, Daniel Hallahan, Stephen Wilson, Rebecca Kneedler, Claire Cronmiller, William Kehoe, Larry Bouchard, Milton Adams
Members of the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on the Commonwealth Chartered Universities Initiative: Alison Booth, Co-Convener of the Committee, Professor of English; Brian Duling, School of Medicine; Steve Railton, Department of English; Herbert Tucker, Department of English
Marcia Childress, Chair of the Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order.
The meeting was convened in order for the Executive Council to consider and act upon the statement on the Commonwealth Chartered Universities Proposal drafted by the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on the Commonwealth Chartered Universities Initiative.
Ms. Childress reported on the formation of and charge to the ad hoc committee and the work that that committee did during late December and early January.
Alison Booth, co-convener of the ad hoc committee, reported that the group met first to share views and develop a workplan. At its second meeting, the committee invited Vice President for Management and Budget Colette Sheehy to offer an update on charter negotiations and answer questions, and two persons, Diane Hillman (School of Medicine) and Sue Herndon (Medical Center), to discuss the Medical Center's transition to codified autonomy in the late 1990s and the effects of this change on the institution and, especially, Medical Center employees. Ms. Booth and Mr. Braun, the other co-convener, spoke by telephone with Peter Blake and Bill Murray from SCHEV to gain information about the climate in Richmond and future prospects for the General Assembly to fund higher education at the levels necessary to maintain schools of national distinction. The committee's third and fourth meetings were devoted to crafting a position statement.
Ms. Booth and Ms. Childress discussed the consensus statement produced by the ad hoc committee and commented on the group's longer, unfinished document, which remains a working paper on the issues identified in the one-page statement. Given that "charter" itself remains under negotiation, the committee chose to look past the yes or no question of charter to the likelihood that the General Assembly this year will grant the university some additional autonomy over operations. The committee's statement names four areas of concern that should receive the joint attention of the faculty and administration as the university operationalizes any new authority: public higher education, the economic diversity and quality of the students, the quality and employment conditions of staff, and university governance. Ms. Booth and Ms. Childress took the committee's statement to university leaders (Vice Presidents Sandridge and Sheehy and representatives of the President and Provost) and discussed the points and expectations of the document with them.
The Executive Council discussed the statement and made for slight changes in the wording of the document, for clarification. A motion was made to adopt the document as a statement of the Senate; this was seconded and passed unanimously. The revised statement will be sent to the full Senate, to newspapers in Virginia, to the Board of Visitors, to key legislators, and to the faculty senate chairs at Virginia Tech and William and Mary. The statement will be brought before the full Senate for endorsement at the first meeting of spring semester, on February 9.
The Executive Council discussed the possibility of maintaining the ad hoc committee, or a version thereof, through the spring semester to help the Senate think through and respond to developments on charter during and after the legislative session. Houston Wood, Chair-Elect of the Senate, suggested that the Faculty Senate draft a resolution in support of the administration's decision not to participate in a bowl game during exams. Mr. Wood agreed to draft the resolution and to distribute it for Executive Council review.
The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
Submitted by Deborah Johnson, Secretary of the Faculty Senate