Sept. 24-30, 1999
Vol. 29, Issue 30
Inside UVA Online
the Newsletter for Faculty & Staff at the University of Virginia
Back Issues
Opening U.Va.'s doors to working adults
Study of staff morale shows respect is key
Managers build strong relationships with employees
VA 2020 Science and Technology Planning Commission to hold workshops Sept. 23-25

NEH recognizes two U.Va. web sites

Women's Club entertains Virginia 2020 themes
Q&A - Dean Sondra Stallard on a mission
After Hours - Couple spends weekends horsing around
Housekeepers honored at picnic
Hot Links - Intramural-Recreational Sports
Stephen Cushman publishes narrative on Civil War battle
Woodson Institute fellows announced

In Memoriam

Sounds of Indian flute to fill Old Cabell Hall on Oct. 2


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After Hours
U.Va. couple spends weekends horsing around

Nicole R. Hamilton
Brenda Byers, an executive secretary in Health System Development at U.Va., has competed in Tennessee walking horse shows for seven years. Here she rides her favorite Tennessee walker, Pro. Her husband, Eddie, who works in the Chemistry Department, grooms and shoes their horses. See "After Hours."


Opening U.Va.'s doors to working adults

By Ida Lee Wootten

Eighteen people are beginning a new chapter in U.Va.'s history this fall. Coming primarily from the local area, with an average age just over 37, the students are the first to enter the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program. Approved by the State Council of Higher Education in April, the program opens U.Va.'s doors to working adults who want to pursue education on a part-time basis.

To enter the program, students must meet strict admission requirements including completion of approximately 60 transferable hours of credit. "This is not a way to circumvent the regular undergraduate admission process," said Donna Plasket, who was named BIS director in August. "It's not a program for 18-year-olds."

The new third-year students are embarking on an academic path quite different, but just as rigorous, as that facing other undergraduates, program planners say.

Those who enter the BIS program begin as provisional-status students. To gain regular status, they must successfully complete within four consecutive sessions a core of liberal studies, prerequisites needed for their concentrations, BIS coursework and a computer competency requirement. Once gaining regular status, BIS students must declare a concentration, choosing from business, humanities, information technology and social sciences. In rare cases with permission of the BIS director and guidance of an academic adviser, students can create their own concentrations.

Among the BIS courses students must complete are two Critical Issues Seminars and one Analytical Skills Seminar. Small, discussion-oriented classes focusing on ethics and effective decision-making in contemporary society, Critical Issues Seminars will require at least two oral presentations and major papers, allowing students to refine their thinking, writing and speaking skills. After soliciting proposals from faculty across Grounds, the first two seminars are on "Punishment and Forgiveness" and "Nationalism and National Identity."

In order to graduate, BIS students must complete a Capstone Project. Similar to a senior thesis, the project will allow students to work as individuals or teams to examine their educational experiences in a meaningful way, such as through research, scientific experiments or performances. The group of new students is expected to finish the program in two to six years.

"We want to get to know these students and their needs. We'll need to know, for example, if they want representation on Student Council or the Honor Committee," said history professor Thomas Noble, who has served as chair of the BIS Advisory Committee.

Everything about the new program, from its admission requirements to the curriculum and areas of concentration, has been crafted through the caring, deliberate work of the advisory committee. Created in April 1998, the committee met weekly for well over a year to hammer out such details as administrative regulations, advising procedures, faculty credentials, and students' access to computer labs, library resources, recreational facilities and career planning and placement. The committee continues to meet at least monthly. Full story.


© Copyright 1999 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Managing Editor
Anne Bromley

Online Web Editor
Karen Asher

Staff Writers
Rebecca Arrington
Dan Heuchert
Nancy Hurrelbrinck

Katherine Jackson
Fariss Samarrai

Ida Lee Wootten
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