Harrison grants to
fund undergrad research
backs admissions resolution
faculty members and a handful of reporters and photographers showed
up in the Rotunda's Dome Room for the Oct. 4 Faculty
Senate meeting, anticipating that President John T. Casteen
III might make additional comments on the current debate over
Casteen chose to largely pass by the issue in his remarks, referring
to his Sept. 30 written statement -- in which he termed the current
policies "legally defensible" and lauded their role
in broadening the University's culture -- and offered to answer
any questions. Though the Senate later endorsed a resolution backing
the University's current admissions policies, previously released
from its executive committee, the attention shifted to other issues.
biggest splash came from the announcement that this year's David
A. Harrison III teaching awards would go toward encouraging undergraduate
The Harrison fund provides $100,000 annually to encourage undergraduate
instruction. In the program's first two years, the funds went
entirely to faculty members, but this year's grants are expected
to provide $3,000 apiece to 25 undergraduate students and $1,000
each to their faculty advisers, to support research conducted
either in the spring or summer of 2000.
details are still to be worked out, but applications will likely
be due by Dec. 1, with awards to be announced by mid-January.
"The topic addresses one of the Faculty Senate's main thrusts
of this year, and that is teaching, research and the creation
of knowledge," said Senate chair David T. Gies, Commonwealth
Professor of Spanish.
In his remarks, Casteen hinted that University administrators
will present an ambitious plan to the Board
of Visitors in their Oct. 15-16 meeting to propel U.Va. into
the top 10 of all national universities. In the most recent U.S.
News rankings, Virginia was 24th overall and second among public
"I think this is the time to be optimistic and aggressive"
in planning for the future, Casteen said, after informing the
senators that gifts to the Campaign for the University totaled
almost $957 million through Aug. 30.
Casteen offered to take questions on the admissions debate, but
fielded only one, discussing the current, murky legal climate
surrounding affirmative action measures. The Board of Visitors,
he said, hopes that pending cases from Michigan or Georgia might
provide clarification, but seems unwilling to provoke a test case
of its own. After his remarks, Casteen took a front-row seat as
the Senate took up its resolution backing the admissions policies,
which allow the consideration of race as one of many factors in
Senate also approved a new major in computer engineering, which
seeks to meld elements of existing majors in computer science
and electrical engineering into a program that examines the interaction
between computer hardware and software.
Senate resolution on admissions policy
Senate resolution on admissions policy 'The Faculty Senate
recognizes the value of diversity in the classroom and
throughout the University and underscores the importance
of maintaining that diversity. We also recognize U.Va.'s
history of minority recruitment, retention and graduation.
Equal opportunity must be one of the stated goals of higher
education. The consideration of race, as one of many factors
for admission to the University, is both appropriate and
justified. The University policies which have led to these
achievements have created a rich and diverse educational
environment absent from the one-gender, one-race classrooms
of the past. Consequently, we endorse the educational
goals of equal opportunity and diversity."