Oct. 1-7, 1999
$10 million Harrison gift to establish history institute at library
Melvin Tolson's Harlem Gallery and other works gathered in new collection
Groundswalk takes step forward; committe OKs Darden expansion

Gies to students: "It's cool to be smart"

Proffit rewarded for superb teaching
150th anniversary of Poe's death
Poet Gwendolyn Brooks and others to celebrate African-American poetry
Virginia 2020 conference to be held Oct. 14-15
Used book sale to be held Oct. 6-8
Hot Links - Virginia State Climatology Office
New scholarly journal offers forum on contemporary culture
Notable - faculty and staff

In Memoriam


David Gies
David Gies

Gies to students: "It's cool to be smart"

Faculty Senate continues campaign to build intellectual community

By Nancy Hurrelbrinck

A Rugby Road whose porches buzz with discussions about Kafka and quarks and Israeli-Palestinian re- lations is the vision Spanish professor David Gies brings to his new position, chair of the Faculty Senate.

"How do we make substantive intellectual exchange happen, not just between students and faculty, but among students themselves?" he asked. "Fraternities and sororities have to be more than just social and service organizations. They should be at the core of intellectual life at U.Va. as well."

Besides continuing its campaign to raise the level of intellectual community at U.Va., this year the Faculty Senate will initiate a University-wide conversation about its theme for the year, "Teaching, Research and the Creation of Knowledge,˛ said Gies, who has taught at U.Va. for 20 years.

The group will also develop publicity for the Faculty Speakers' Bureau, which arranges for faculty to address alumni and community organizations, and explore how they might become involved in "Make a Difference Day." They will continue working on improving junior faculty mentoring; overseeing the Forum for Contemporary Thought; and encouraging outstanding teaching and advising with the Initiative to Promote Excellent Teaching and Harrison awards.

The Faculty Senate will also become involved in the affirmative action debate that heated up recently when a member of the Board of Visitors publicly questioned U.Va.'s admissions policy in regard to race. Many concerned faculty members have contacted Gies regarding how the Faculty Senate might respond, he said. At its Oct. 4 meeting, the group will discuss the issue and determine an appropriate response to recent developments.

Those who attended the Sept. 10 Faculty Senate retreat initiated discussions about teaching and research. Among the questions debated were: How do teaching and research help or hinder one another? What can faculty do to inform students about their research? What's the role of research in a university? Faculty also had an open dialogue about what their research entails.

"I'd like to have some University-wide panels to discuss the issue, including some proponents of more teaching and some of more research," Gies said.

Many at the retreat felt they hadn't had enough time to fully explore the topic, so it will be taken up again at the Oct. 4 Faculty Senate meeting.

This University-wide conversation, like one last year that focused on the role of information technology at the University, is just one of many ways the Faculty Senate has been trying to foster intellectual community.

The creation of spaces like the Alderman Café and the Garden Room is another. "The Garden Room is helping bring people from all disciplines together," Gies said, noting that the service has gotten much faster and there's a new chef.

To reach out to students, Gies wrote a column called "It's cool to be smart" for an issue of the Cavalier Daily that was sent to incoming first-year students.

"So many of them think it's not cool to sit down and talk about Gabriel Garcia Marquez or biochemistry. I'd love to eventually create a climate in which that's OK," he said. "I want to see a passionate overspill from the classroom. Faculty can help instill that."


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of the University of Virginia

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