April 12-18, 2002
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IN THIS ISSUE
University sets stage for graduate student innovation
State cuts force hikes in tuition
Faculty Actions from the April BOV meeting
African-American women at increased risk for stroke
Commerce school cultivates innovation and creativity in wine industry

Reactions to Sept. 11 featured in annual ‘Muzzle’ Awards

Baseball field named in honor of the late Ted Davenport
Graduate students are lifeblood of research enterprise
Theater students ‘saw’ a solution for set construction
Lectures engage the mind
Design choices can affect the world environment
Students get one-stop financial services at new Cavalier Central
Feeding hungry ghosts
Whale of a sculpture on display at Fayerweather
After Hours -- Lori Derr
WFPA to honor Bunker, Toms and Black
Ackerly re-elected

John Ackerly re-elected

After a half-hour closed session, the Board of Visitors unanimously re-elected John P. Ackerly III to another term as rector April 4.

As sitting rector, Ackerly excused himself from the room during the election process. Board member Charles L. Glazer, who chaired the session, nominated Ackerly for another term, while Joseph E. Wolfe nominated Glazer for the post.
After a closed-door discussion, Glazer withdrew his name and the board re-elected Ackerly by acclamation.


State cuts force hikes in tuition

Staff Report

Money — or the lack thereof — dominated the April 4-6 quarterly meeting of the
U.Va. Board of Visitors.

The governing body sought to address state budget cuts with an 8.8 percent tuition increase, but still heard appeals for funding to prevent a faculty exodus and increase graduate student support. Meanwhile, Medical Center revenues are barely exceeding expenses through the first eight months of the fiscal year.

Tuition increase follows state trend

The board put its official stamp on anticipated hikes in tuition and mandatory fees by voting to increase rates 8.8 percent for in-state undergraduate students, bringing the total cost to $4,608. (See chart below.)

U.Va. joins the state’s other colleges and universities in increasing tuitions after years of an in-state tuition freeze. Virginia Tech, James Madison and Radford universities have hiked in-state tuition rates by 9 percent; George Mason raised tuition and mandatory fees by 16.5 percent.

Gov. Mark R. Warner lifted the freeze for two years in the face of a recession gripping the state. Tuitions were first frozen in 1995, and in the late 1990s Gov. Jim Gilmore cut tuitions 20 percent and froze them there.

The University is facing a $25.5 million cut in state funding for the coming fiscal year. The tuition hike is expected to provide about $12.1 million to help offset the reduction in state funds. University officials also expect that spending cuts in various departments and units will address a portion of the decrease.

Much of the discussion during the Finance Committee’s report Friday centered on two elements of the proposal: financial aid and a $50 auxiliary fee hike to support athletics.

Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, said that $335,000 of the funds from the rate increase will go toward financial aid. This year, the University was able to offer first-year students 100 percent of demonstrated need.
Over the next few years, U.Va. will continue to target meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for all students, said President John T. Casteen III.
“That’s important in a rising-tuition environment,” said board member Gordon F. Rainey Jr.

Sheehy said state officials question whether the fee for athletic support conforms with state policy about mandatory auxiliary fees, and Sandridge asked that the board approve the proposal contingent on details being ironed out with the state. The board did so, and adopted a resolution directing the University administration to “use all available means to obtain the necessary state authorization” to increase the fee and strongly urging state officials to view the increase as lawful.


The fee increase is part of a five-year plan for athletics and is needed to generate $3.7 million over that span to improve the athletics program, particularly the Olympic sports, which the board’s resolution said are “seriously threatened by a lack of funding to meet increased requirements” imposed by the NCAA and other sports organizations.

Graduate increases have been an issue in recent months. Sheehy said the rates are an attempt to be sensitive to those concerns and that the University is working to “limit the differential between in-state and out-of-state tuition.”

— Lee Graves

Faculty, grad student support urged

Robert M. Grainger said that he didn’t want to raise an alarm prematurely, but …
“The state budget crisis is looking like it could cause severe losses of critical faculty,” the Faculty Senate chair warned the board during the Educational Policy report. Such losses, he said, “could set us back a decade or more in faculty stature.”

“If I were at liberty to discuss some of the names on the job market, I think you would see the problem immediately.”

Salary increases for college faculty were not included in the current state budget. The coming fiscal year’s budget, which has yet to be finalized, currently provides for a fund equivalent to 2.5 percent of faculty salaries, to be used for one-time bonuses for retention purposes.

Grainger, a biology professor, recommended three measures to help ease the situation: provide raises for promoted faculty; create a large “pot of money” to match outside salary offers and support faculty research; and seek “all possible means” for keeping U.Va. faculty salaries competitive across the board, a prospect he conceded is “probably something that is not going to happen.”

The board took no action, but committee chair Elizabeth Twohy said, “I think I speak for the board when I say that we are extremely concerned about our faculty.”
Vice President and Provost Gene D. Block presented the results of a survey comparing U.Va.’s support of graduate students with peer institutions.

The report found that the University is generally competitive in the financial support it offers for students in the physical and social sciences — thanks to federal grant support — although it is in the low end of the range in some disciplines.

In the humanities, the University fares less well, Block said. In religious studies, for instance, only 20 percent of U.Va.’s entering graduate students are offered any support at all, and their packages range from $7,000 to $14,000 annually. By contrast, Harvard’s religious studies students are offered about $17,000; Duke’s, $14,000.

A survey of students who declined offers of admission to the University since 1998 found that 56 percent of respondents cited financial aid as an important or very important factor in their decisions to go elsewhere.

“It was hard to turn down a financial package of more than twice as much as U.Va. offered,” wrote one religious studies student who enrolled at Vanderbilt.
The quality of graduate students is vital to teaching, research and faculty recruitment, said Block, who noted three ways aid could be increased:

• Seek philanthropic support for fellowships. He estimated that fewer than 50 exist today.

• Follow the model of the English Department, which is redirecting the faculty lines of retiring professors into graduate student support.

• Encourage faculty to seek as much graduate student support as possible from other sources, including grants.

“If we want to have great programs, we have to have great graduate students,” he said. “If we want great graduate students, we have to offer better financial packages.”

— Dan Heuchert

Improvements planned for academic advising

Craig K. Littlepage, director of athletics, and Edward L. Ayers, dean of Arts & Sciences, introduced a new collaboration between the Athletic Department and the College intended to strengthen academic support for student-athletes.
In addition, Ayers announced plans to extend more intensive academic support to all College students with grade-point averages of 2.0 or below.

As recommended in last year’s Athletic Task Force Report, Littlepage, Ayers, Block, and Carolyn Callahan, the Curry School professor who chaired the task force, met to improve communication between the Athletic Department and academic deans.

The goal of all involved, Ayers said, is for U.Va. to become the Stanford of the East, able to boast first-rate athletics as well as first-rate academics, and to strive for a 100 percent graduation rate for student-athletes.

While looking to make changes in the academic support for student-athletes, Ayers realized that he should cast his net broader to include all students who struggle with their coursework. As a result, two changes will be made in College advising.

The first relates to opening wider the doors of the University’s transition program, designed to ease the transition to college for incoming first-years who may not have had the same advantages or exposure to the college experience as the majority of the student body. It includes a four-day summer session and a one-hour course during the first semester, focuses on such topics as time management, study skills, and goal-setting, and includes close academic advising. There presently are 45 students in the program.

The second change involves increased academic advising for all students in the College whose GPAs hit 2.0 or below. Again, Ayers said, it is the best way to make sure that students receive help before its too late.

— Carol Wood

Operating on thin margin

The Health Affairs Committee reviewed the finances of the Medical Center, with R. Edward Howell, the center’s new vice president and chief executive officer, opening the briefing.

Chief Financial Officer Larry Fitzgerald said the operating margin of income over expenses through the first eight months of the fiscal year has been $800,000, well below budget.

Revenue, at $344.7 million, was $6.2 million below budget, while the $341.8 million expenses were $8.2 million over budget. Part of the shortfall is blamed on an increase in same-day and outpatients, as compared to admitted patients.

Reimbursements from insurers are lower for these categories, while the bulk of the cost remains, Fitzgerald said.

William E. “Nick” Carter, vice president of operations, said staff turnover has fallen from 22 percent to 13 percent.

— Matt Kelly

Tuition increases approved for 2002-03
  Rate Increase Percent
UNDERGRADUATES
In-state
Tuition $3,321 $275 9.0
E&G fees* $106 $8 8.2
Student activity fee** $39 0 0
Auxiliary Fees** $1,142 $89 8.5
Tuition & fees $4, 608 $372 8.8
Total costs *** $9,808 NA 6.9
       
Out-of-state
Tuition $18,531 $1,453 8.5
Tuition & fees $19,818 $1,550 8.5
Total costs *** $25,018 NA 7.8
       
GRADUATES
In-state
Tuition $4,387 $399 10.0
Tuition & fees $5,674 $496 9.6
       
Out-of-state
Tuition $17,477 $399 2.3
Tuition & fees $18,764 $496 2.7
       
COLLEGE AT WISE
In-state
Tuition & fees $3,844 $374 10.8
Total costs*** $8,840 $538 6.5
       
Out-of-state
Tuition & fees $11,604 $1,096 10.4
Total costs*** $16,600 $1,260 8.2
       
* Educational and general fees
** Same for out-of-state and graduate students
*** Includes room and board

 

 



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