COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP
UVA FACULTY SENATE
ANNUAL REPORT: 2006-2007
Amy H. Bouton (School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology); Chair
Robert J. Davis (School of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering)
Carol A. Mershon (School of A&S, Department of Politics)
Douglas A. Bayliss (School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology)
Jon D. Mikalson (School of A&S, Department of Classics)
Richard H. Steeves (School of Nursing)
Michael Fowler (School of A&S, Department of Physics)
Daniel T. Willingham (School of A&S, Department of Psychology)
William F. Walker (School of Engineering, Department of Biochemical Engineering)
Susan E. Kirk (School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism)
Daniel S. Lefkowitz (School of A&S, Department of Anthropology)
David Mick (School of Commerce)
Ariel Gomez, Vice Provost for Research (ex officio)
The Research and Scholarship (R&S) Committee focused its efforts this year on reviewing and selecting Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards. The application and selection process for these awards was administered through the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. Ms. Katherine Vaughan, Assistant Director of the Center, functioned as a liaison between the R&S Committee and the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. We worked closely with Ms. Vaughan to 1) develop a timeline for submission and review of the applications; 2) revise the application form; and 3) improve the evaluation form used by reviewers. Applications were due on December 1 and decisions were announced by February 1.
Of the 88 applications that were received, 42 Harrison Awards were made. Four additional awards were co-funded with the Center for Global Health. Applications were reviewed by 20 faculty members, 10 of whom were members of the R&S Faculty Senate Committee. Each application was reviewed by two reviewers. Awarded projects were split roughly equally between humanities/social sciences/economics and basic sciences/engineering, and involved numerous advisors from across Grounds.
Analysis and Commentary:
The Harrison Award selection process proceeded extremely well this year. Two differences between the current year and previous years are worthy of comment. First, the number of applications was significantly reduced relative to previous years (approximately 150 per year in the last several years). While the reason for this decrease is not clear, several long-term reviewers commented about the exceptionally high quality of applications this year. It is therefore possible that students who were either non-competitive or were not willing to put in the time to produce a high quality application may have opted out of applying. Most importantly, the students who received Harrison Awards this year were highly meritorious and collectively proposed excellent research projects. Thus the quality of awards was not reduced.
Second, the R & S committee has experienced some frustration with the Harrison Award selection process over the last several years. This has stemmed predominantly from a shortage of administrative help and a lack of communication/understanding regarding the respective responsibilities of the R & S Committee and the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. These issues were completely alleviated this year as a consequence of Ms. Vaughan’s participation in the process. Communication between Ms. Vaughan’s office and our Committee was excellent, and all aspects of the review and selection process were administered in an extremely professional manner. We look forward to working with her again next year.