rates increased; rector backs more active role for board
By Rebecca Arrington, Anne Bromley and Dan
of Visitors took care of some regular business, such as setting
student housing rates, and considered recent issues, such as the
impact on fraternities of changing the date for Greek rush, at
its Feb. 25 and 26 meeting. Rector John P. Ackerly III suggested
that the board seriously consider recommendations in the governor's
Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education that boards of visitors
take a more active role in academic matters.
With the board's sanction, the University now has a 10th school
-- the Continuing Education Division was renamed the School of
Continuing and Professional Studies.
Housing rates to go up
The Finance Committee approved a 3.8 percent average increase
in student housing rates, in part to address increasing maintenance
demands. Still, double-occupancy rates remain well below the statewide
An audit of housing facilities completed in 1997 identified the
need for specific major repairs, said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive
vice president and chief operating officer, who noted that over
half of U.Va.'s housing facilities are more than 30 years old.
approved for expansions of Darden and Law schools and
the Miller Center
new endowed professorships established
System received reacreditation
The University has devised a 10-year program to address maintenance
needs, and is currently reserving $3 million per year to fund
them -- a figure Sandridge hopes to increase to $3.5 million annually
with 1 percent annual boosts in housing rates over the next three
or four years.
U.Va.'s average rate for a double room in the current school year
is $631 less than the state average of $2,690 per year for public
four-year institutions -- the third least-expensive rate in the
state, trailing only Virginia Military Institute and Virginia
School of Continuing and Professional Studies
The board approved without fanfare restoring the school status
to the Continuing Education Division. The name has changed a few
times during its 80-some years. For example, in 1971 it was called
the School of Continuing Education, which was then replaced with
"Division" in 1977.
Changing its name to "School
of Continuing and Professional Studies" not only enhances
its status, but will make its degrees and programs more marketable,
said Vice President and Provost Peter W. Low. The new name will
appropriately recognize the importance of continuing education
within and outside the University community, and will send a strong
message that life-long learning and educational outreach are valued
enterprises, he said. It is also more consistent with similar
units at other universities.
Impact of moving Greek rush
In a surprise move, the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee
passed a resolution that left the door ajar to reconsidering a
change in fraternity and sorority rush dates.
The move of first-year rush from the fall to spring semesters,
announced in 1998 by then-Dean of Students Robert T. Canevari,
arose from recommendations from the Faculty Senate and a University-wide
task force on alcohol abuse. They suggested that the delay would
give incoming students time to acclimate themselves to the University
before making major commitments.
The Inter-Fraternity and Inter-Sorority councils have continued
to campaign against the change, arguing that the shift infringed
upon the University's tradition of student self-governance and
caused Greek houses financial hardship resulting from the loss
of one semester's dues from new members.
Committee chair Henry L. Valentine II offered what he called a
"compromise resolution," which passed by unanimous voice vote.
While generally supportive of fraternities and sororities, the
board declined to get involved in setting rush dates -- "unless
it is established at a future date that the delay of rush seriously
prejudices the financial stability of fraternities and sororities."
It directed the administration to "promote the good health and
strength of the fraternity and sorority systems" and to report
back on its actions at the June meeting.
Student representative Robert Schoenvogel asked the board to more
closely define financial instability, but received no further
clarification. Vice President for Student Affairs William H. Harmon
said it was difficult to obtain reliable financial data and to
determine how much financial hardship was attributable to the
rush date change, citing a "strong suspicion" that some houses
do not maintain adequate records.
Harmon reaffirmed his support for the Greek system, and said,
"I don't think anybody in the administration of the University
wants to see the demise of fraternities and sororities."
chair David T. Gies was supportive of the resolution. "It
seems like an appropriate move," he said. "They have
been besieged with phone calls from one side. In essence, what
the resolution said was, 'Please quit calling us, and we'll have
Student Affairs look into it.'"
rector supports taking more active role
remarks during the preliminary meeting, Rector John P. Ackerly
III suggested the Board of Visitors move quickly to adopt
recommendations from the report of the governor's Blue Ribbon
Commission on Higher Education that boards of visitors take
a more active role in examining curriculum, grade inflation
and faculty review. He cited the report's recommendations
review their institution's general-education curriculum
every six years;
examine" the average grades of its graduates for
signs of grade inflation;
the tenure and faculty performance review processes to
make sure that they "encourage and support the dedication
of time and energy to undergraduate teaching";
that "implementation of post-tenure review policy
be tracked and reported as institutional priorities";
"become familiar with various alternatives to tenure
currently in use around the country, in particular the
use of short- and long-term contracts."
asked that administrators review the recommendations and report
back to the board at its April meeting. He noted that while
other aspects of the report were still before the General
Assembly, "I think this is fixed and we ought to be careful
to comply with it."
Board of Visitors member Albert H. Small, a professional engineer
who has served two full terms on the board, chaired his final Buildings
and Grounds Committee meeting Feb. 25. He said he has tried to think
about how new buildings will represent the University at least 50
to 75 years from now.
In thanking Small for his contribution, Rector John P. Ackerly III
said, "With your esteemed career, you've brought a real talent
to this committee. We all appreciate that."
The board gave the green light to preliminary designs for expansions
to the Darden and Law schools and the Miller Center of Public Affairs,
with one slight change to the addition planned for Sponsors Hall
at Darden. The preliminary design phase is the final step requiring
board approval before construction. In order to make way for the
latter two projects, the board approved the demolitions of a small
house behind the Miller Center and of Café North near the Law School.
The Darden and Miller Center projects are scheduled to begin in
August and the Law School's in November.
As part of a plan to enhance the University's foreign language houses,
the board also authorized tearing down the Gildersleeve apartment
building on Monroe Lane, along with two houses, to build a new residence
hall that will bring together Russian, German and Asian houses.
Earlier, the University considered renovating the existing building,
but it would have been too expensive.
University plans to build a new residence hall on Monroe Lane
that will bring together Russian, German and Asian houses.
With the nearby French and Spanish houses, the block will
become an area dedicated to an international focus.
The Monroe Lane Residence Project, estimated to cost $7 million,
will be a four-story building for 80 students plus faculty and
graduate advisers, emphasizing communal living with common lounge
areas on each floor and kitchen and dining facilities. With the
nearby French and Spanish houses, the block will become an area
dedicated to an international focus.
Architect for the University Samuel A. "Pete" Andersen III also
told the board initial plans are being made to enhance Blandy
Experimental Farm, located near Winchester. Andersen said visitation
has increased three-fold in the last 10 years and is expected
to continue, because of the population growth in that area. The
master plan for the farm calls for raising funds to build a visitor's
center to improve public education, plus a new road and bike and
foot paths to make the research lands more accessible.
Health Affairs Committee
The University's Health System has received reaccreditation for
inpatient and ambulatory services from the Joint Commission on
Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Dr. Robert Cantrell,
vice president and provost of the Health System, told the board
at its Feb. 25 health affairs meeting. The accreditation is effective
for three years.
The Health System's score of 94 is a one-point increase over that
earned in 1996, despite a more stringent survey process, Cantrell
noted. Most hospitals' scores dropped by 20 percent compared to
prior surveys, according to statistics from JCAHO, which evaluates
and accredits more than 19,500 health care organizations nationwide.
"This remarkable achievement is attributable to the excellent
skills and dedication of the Health System's employees," he said.
At the meeting, board members also approved two conflict of interest
exemptions and heard a Medical Center financial report.
The board granted one exemption for a sponsored research contract
and material transfer agreement between the School of Medicine
and Upstate Biotechnology, Inc., for developing gene therapy for
slow-growing brain tumors and prostate cancer. C. David Allis,
Byrd Professor of Microbiology, is working with the New York-based
company on this venture.
The other exemption the board approved involves the medical school
and DirectGene, Inc., developing adenoviral-based gene therapies
for cancer and bone repair. Leland W.K. Chung, professor of urology
and cell biology, along with three other U.Va. faculty members
and one graduate student, are involved in this project.
Larry Fitzgerald, assistant vice president for Health
System finance, reported that the Medical Center's revenue
of $272 million for the first seven months of this fiscal year
is roughly $1.6 million above the projected budget and about equal
to last year's.
He also reported that the operating expenses of $261 million --
the containment of which is "key to our long-term success" -- is
below last year's figure of $266.6 million, and slightly below
what's budgeted for this year.
The $10.9 million operating margin (revenue less operating expenses)
meets the Medical Center's aim of maintaining a 4 percent operating
margin, he said.
Fitzgerald also noted that the number of full-time employees stands
at 4,411 for the first seven months of this fiscal year, down
from last year and below the budget of 4,554. There's an "acute
labor shortage" of nurses and medical technicians here and nationwide,
he said, because of the economy, for one reason.
"Why work nights and weekends when you can make the same living,
about $40,000 to $50,000 per year, in a [less demanding] field
such as programming?" he said.
Responding to board member Terence Ross' question as to how U.Va.
is addressing this need, Cantrell said the Health System is looking
at expanding its operating room technician program and has expanded
its radiology tech program. Ross asked for a more complete report
at the June meeting.
The board established the following five new endowed chairs, bringing
the total to 426: the Sidman P. Poole Professorship in Environmental
Sciences; the Elwood R. Quesada Professorship in Architecture;
the Ward K. Ensminger Professorship in Geriatric Medicine; the
Edward W. Hook Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine;
and the John W. Kluge Professorship in Urology.
University Treasurer Alice Handy reported that the University's
endowment has added more than $300 million over the past seven
months, and stood at $1.56 billion as of Jan. 31. She attributed
much of the increase to successful private equity investments.
Over the past three years, the endowment has grown at a 22.5 percent
annual rate, easily outpacing the 6.9 percent combined rate of
inflation and spending.
The board approved the purchase of property on the east side
of Emmet Street, at the intersection of Emmet and Massie Road,
to support future growth and to enhance one of the University's
The board also approved U.Va.'s purchase of the Augusta County
Dialysis Center, a kidney dialysis unit, and authorized the sale
of land at the north end of the U4 parking lot, near the intersection
of Wertland and 14th streets, to the Renaissance Investment Corporation.
Vice President for Development Robert Sweeney reported that
fund raising for athletics -- and the football stadium enlargement
in particular -- is "going remarkably well." The athletics campaign
has already raised $21.8 million of the $31 million goal to support
the stadium project, and 33 of the 44 luxury suites have been
Stephen S. Phelan Jr., a second-year Law student, was elected
to a one-year term as the new student board member. Phelan is
a 1998 Arts & Sciences graduate who also played football.
Additional reports to the board and Faculty Actions will appear
in upcoming issues of Inside UVA.
Board of Visitors meetings for the remainder of the academic year:
April 14 and 15
June 16 and 17