April 7-13, 2000
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Faculty Senate to continue research grants to students

By Anne Bromley

Pleased with the student response to its new Undergraduate Research Awards program, the Faculty Senate has decided to extend the program for three years, Faculty Senate chair David Gies reported at the group's meeting March 31.

Senators also heard reports from three of the four chairs of the Virginia 2020 commissions, from President John T. Casteen III on General Assembly activity and from the senate's academic affairs and research and scholarship committees.

Upcoming events

April 24 Faculty Senate Forum on the "The Climate for Women at U.Va." A panel discussion with Carl Zeithaml, dean of the Commerce School; Glenna Chang, assistant dean of students; Dr. Sharon Hostler, director of the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center; Sondra Stallard, dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies; and history professor Cindy Aron.
2-3:30 p.m., Rotunda Dome Room

May 11 Faculty Senate meeting
3-5 p.m., Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room

The number of Undergraduate Research Awards will be increased from 25 to 40, and the offices of the president and provost will contribute funds to boost the pot up to $160,000 per year, Gies said. The awards this year, supported by a gift from David A. Harrison III, ranged from $1,880 to $3,000 each.

Biology professor Robert Grainger, who reported on activities of the research and scholarship committee, said the students who received the research awards this year were often eloquent in describing the relationship between research and teaching. His committee is preparing two position papers on the topic: one for an internal audience, in which they look at the barriers to finding a balance between the two areas, in terms of time, resources and incentives; and the second directed toward the larger, outside community to help people understand how research and teaching are vitally intertwined.

Another group of awards to be announced soon are the Teaching Initiative grants, a pilot program the senate launched three years ago and now in its final year. The academic affairs committee, with the help of the Teaching Resource Center, will evaluate the program and recommend whether it should be continued, said William Johnson, economics professor and committee chair. The committee plans to identify 10 to 12 of the most innovative projects from all three years and find ways to disseminate the teaching ideas around Grounds.

Two Virginia 2020 commission chairs talked about the steps they are taking to raise the visibility of their areas on Grounds. For drama professor Robert Chapel, who heads the Fine and Performing Arts Commission, that means showing how the arts are important to everyone's lives. Along with documenting what is unique about U.Va.'s arts programs, the commission is in the early stages of planning arts-related events, including a speakers series in the fall and a major interdisciplinary event in Spring 2001 that will be coupled with a series of short courses, Chapel said.

Education professor Rebecca Kneedler, who chairs the Commission on Public Service and Outreach, reported that her group is putting together an inventory of the faculty's public service work, focusing on ways they share their academic expertise off-Grounds. The searchable database will be made available online in the near future. The commission is also interviewing community representatives to find out what they know about the University's public service and what they think is needed, she said, with the goal of looking for other ways to communicate to the larger community.

With the objective of charting "a course to substantially increase the University's excellence and leadership in science and engineering education and research well before 2020," commission member Ariel Gomez said the group is looking at how U.Va. should capitalize on its strengths and how it should make strategic choices to develop selected areas and sustain them.

The Science and Technology Commission is starting discussions about potential priorities. Discussions with the faculty within the various departments and schools will follow.The commission plans to present its recommendations by late spring, he said.

The fourth commission, on international activities, will give a report at the next Faculty Senate meeting.

For information on the University's planning initiatives, see http://www.virginia.edu/virginia2020


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