H. Werhane is currently chair of the Faculty Senate.
Senate focuses on grad student funding, ensuring intellectual
diversity has been the theme of the Faculty
Senate this year, led by senate chair Patricia H. Werhane.
Within this broad theme, much has been accomplished, from forums
on the Universitys Virginia 2020 initiatives, to work on
the online course catalog, surveys and examining graduate student
support, one of the senates most pressing issues.
different schools at the University have their own agendas and
priorities, faculty in all disciplines are very concerned
about the inadequacy of graduate student funding, said Werhane,
who sees the senates role in this and other matters as proactive,
working with the Board of Visitors and the administration to make
If were to be a [top-notch] research
university, we have to have good research grads. Faculty are more
concerned about [this issue] than their own salaries, said
Werhane, the Ruffin Professor of Business Ethics at Darden.
formed an ad-hoc committee, chaired by Aaron Mills of the Environmental
Sciences department, to examine levels of financial assistance
for graduate students, compared to other schools. Were
benchmarking where U.Va. is in relation to its peers, Werhane
said. A report will be issued by the end of the semester.
senate also held forums on each of the Universitys four
initiatives, based on the commissions final reports. After
reviewing and discussing these reports, the senate issued its
own report. Two things emerged from these forums,
she said. We noted that diversity wasnt mentioned
in any of the four initiatives, and we wanted to be sure that
what U.Va.s already strong in, it stays strong in,
senate accomplishment under Werhane is the new keyword search
feature in the online course catalog, to be available this fall.
Faculty advisers say it will be a god-send, she said.
It will greatly expand the horizons of our students
by revealing new interdisciplinary connections. For example,
if a student searched for evolution, he or she could
turn up not only biology courses but other courses containing
this term, she explained.
senate also sent letters to the various search committees [now
at work to fill key posts at U.Va.] to make sure theyre
looking at a diverse group of candidates to ensure intellectual
diversity, Werhane noted.
of the efforts begun during her tenure as chair will continue
in coming academic years.
an effort to foster more interdisciplinary exchange between faculty
from different departments and schools, the senate will plan a
new discussion series, working with the Institute for Practical
Ethics, Dardens Olsson Center for Applied Ethics and the
Forum for Contemporary Thought. It will bring together U.Va. scholars
in areas such as human biology, sociobiology, biotechnology, medicine
and engineering. By sharing knowledge with each other and with
the public, new connections can be made, cross-disciplinary ventures
may be forged and new courses developed, Werhane said.
senate will also continue its endless pursuit of a faculty
dining facility, Werhane said. A survey was completed April
1, and results will go to Vice President for Development Robert
Sweeney later this month. Private funding will be needed to achieve
this goal, she said, noting that peer institutions, such as Duke,
Georgetown and Harvard provide such facilities and supplement
the cost. Currently theres nowhere on central Grounds
for faculty, alumni and guests, including students and prospective
employees, to hold luncheon and dinner meetings, she said.
also considering forming a committee to study pan-university approaches
to academic journals, both online and in print. The exorbitant
cost is roughly equal for both, Werhane said.
senate is also interested in forming an ad-hoc committee to explore
the feasibility of benefits for unmarried partners of faculty
and staff members, Werhane said.
senates last meeting of the semester will be April 19 at
3 p.m. in the Garden Room.