leaders must be committed to carry out 2020 plans
What the changing leadership
means for the University
next cadre of leaders will have to cultivate the excellence that
U.Va. has sowed as it heads into the 21st century. They will be
the beneficiaries of additional long-sought resources for scholarship
and research, and support for everything from fellowships and
salaries to office and lab space. And they will need to continue
seeking new funds.
UVA talked with outgoing Vice President and Provost Peter W. Low
and deans Melvyn P. Leffler and Robert E. Scott about what lies
ahead for the University's new leaders.
"The end of the current [fund-raising] campaign and the completion
later this academic year of the work of the 2020 commissions will
mark the beginning of a new phase in the University's strategic
planning," said Low. The end of the spring semester will be a
good time for him to step down and return to the Law School, he
said, and for the University to bring in someone with a fresh
perspective and the commitment to lead those efforts.
appointment of a provost now who can lead the implementation of
this work over the next seven to 10 years makes sense to me. Continuity
of leadership in the provost's office during this period will
be important," said Low, who has served for seven years, more
than twice the nationwide average.
of searches for top administrative posts
Vice President & Provost: Chaired by Darden School dean
Ted Snyder, the search committee is seeking candidates;
filling the position will probably take three to five months.
Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences:
The search committee, chaired by Gene Block, Vice President
for Research and Public Service, is reviewing applicant
materials; position may be filled in about three months.
Dean of the School of Law: The search committee, chaired
by Law professor George Rutherglen, is interviewing top
candidates; decision expected in one month.
Chancellor of U.Va.'s College at Wise: Search is under way,
expected to take three to four months; George Culbertson
serving as interim chancellor.
Vice President for Finance: Applicants are being interviewed
for this new position reporting to Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer Leonard W. Sandridge.
CEO of the Medical Center: Search committee, chaired by
Leonard W. Sandridge and President John T. Casteen III,
is preparing to advertise the position.
new dean of the College
and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will have to work on
maintaining strengths along with developing new initiatives, said
current dean Leffler, who, come September, will take a year off
to prepare for a year at Oxford. He warned that those strengths
in the humanities and social sciences cannot be left to languish
as other efforts receive support, and are at risk if they do not
receive careful nurturing in the future.
"I am enthusiastic about the plans we have established for a Digital
Academical Village," Leffler said. It will be a "bridge center"
as described by the 2020 Science and Technology Commission and
encompass several projects.
needs and challenges facing Arts & Sciences, which makes up the
core of the University, amount to a substantial list, according
to Leffler: "With regard to the future, we need to focus on hiring
and retaining superior faculty, increasing fundraising, enhancing
our physical infrastructure, beefing up our organizational structure,
augmenting graduate funding, diversifying our faculty, and redressing
our budget situation."
prepare for a transition, Leffler has focused not only on new
organizational initiatives, but also has made extensive budget
studies and fund-raising plans. He was instrumental in the creation
of a new foundation -- similar to the ones in the Law and Darden
Schools -- to facilitate future fundraising. The school more than
doubled its original goal, raising $162 million as of Nov. 30,
not counting several major gifts and pledges that have been made
since that date.
"I have tried to articulate a future vision where we might look
for ourselves to reach the ranks of the top 10," Leffler said.
serving the last of his 10 years as dean of the Law
School, is also on the search committee for the new Arts &
Sciences dean, and noted the main difference in the two schools'
a great benefit to the Law School not to be departmentally organized.
Arts & Sciences is more constrained by those divisions than we
are. Our resources are more fluid and everybody has a stake in
all the areas," he said.
duties shifted as the decade progressed, he said, with 40 to 50
percent of his time devoted to external relations. In addition,
there are more demands in managing the school, with more administrative
faculty and services to oversee.
becomes the new dean of the Law School -- and seven of the nine
deans have come from its faculty -- will have the "happy
challenge," as Scott called it, of leading the decision-making
on how to allocate and invest the financial support coming in
as a result of the Law School's successful fund-raising campaign.
Over $155 million had been raised by Nov. 30, with several large
gifts and pledges yet to be finalized, said Scott.
of the issues in law that the new dean should pay attention to
is the increasing separation between practicing and academic lawyers,
Scott said. It used to be that lawyers would practice for 10 to
15 years before teaching; now, academic law has become a lifelong
career, so law faculty are less familiar with how it is actually
leading law school should have an obligation to understand that
situation and bridge the gap," Scott said.
Under his tenure, the Law School has begun to address this with
its Principles and Practice seminars, which are team-taught by
a practicing lawyer and a law professor. That's part of a larger
effort to transform the way law is taught, from the large lecture
format to smaller classes including more tutorial experience.
That will reduce the large ratio of students to faculty, he said.
Law School is at a good point for changing leadership, according
to Scott. "Internally ... there's a shared sense of purpose and
University community needs to come together on a shared purpose
as it considers how to implement the Virginia
2020 initiatives. Responding to the commissions' final reports,
Scott said, "The academic leadership of the University can
pave the way toward acceptance of whatever course is ultimately
chosen" by posing these questions clearly and stimulating
discussion within the faculties of the various schools: What kind
of university do we aspire to be and how should we get there?
opportunity should be part of search process