Jan. 26, 2001
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Study revealing land-use history of Grounds
Hoping to hammer out building costs, board suggests study
Pew funds new center
New leaders must be committed to carry out 2020 plans
Boosting student leaders
Hot Links - Status of searches
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Notable - awards and achievements of faculty and staff

New leaders must be committed to carry out 2020 plans

What the changing leadership
means for the University

By Anne Bromley

The 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.

Inside 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.

"The 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.

Status 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.

The 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.

The 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."

To 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.

Scott, 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' organizational structure.

"It's 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.

His 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.

Whoever 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.

One 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 practiced. "

A 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.

The Law School is at a good point for changing leadership, according to Scott. "Internally ... there's a shared sense of purpose and values."

The 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?

Equal opportunity should be part of search process


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of the University of Virginia

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