May 3-9, 2002
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IN THIS ISSUE
Faculty Senate reports on grad student issues
Casteen discusses employee issues, academic mission
Gift to provide $5M for Arts Grounds
Elwood, key figure in U.Va.’s desegregation, dies
Center promotes value of politics and importance of civic-mindedness

Pedalin’ professor weaned himself from his wheels

Letters -- letter from Eugenio Schettini
Hot Links -- Office of the Architect
Graduate assistants receive teaching awards
Summer camps to keep kids busy
Politics 101: Gov. Warner addresses students
‘Get high on GLU’

rally on the south end of the Lawn

Photo by Jenny Gerow
— That was the message graduate students delivered at a press conference and rally on the south end of the Lawn Monday. The events were sponsored by GLU, the newly formed Graduate Labor Union-Communication Workers of America, to inform the community of its mission, which includes protecting and increasing the excellence of scholarship, research and teaching at U.Va.

Faculty Senate reports on grad student issues

Grad financial support is a core weakness

By Matt Kelly

The Faculty Senate focused on graduate student support at its April 23 meeting.
Senators presented reports on graduate student funding, dissertation-year fellowships and a graduate and professional student center envisioned as part of the South Lawn Project.

Robert O’Connell, who chaired the subcommittee on graduate student funding, said financial support for grad students is a core weakness of the University. Graduate students make a central contribution to research and scholarship, and provide more services than they use, he said.

U.Va. is at a disadvantage in its competition with foreign and domestic schools for grad students, especially factoring in out-of-state tuition hikes, which apply to 65 percent of the graduate students, O’Connell said.

Covering graduate tuition and expanding stipend support would cost about $10 million, O’Connell said, an amount representing about 3 percent of the current academic operations budget. The report recommended the University cover the cost of all tuition charges for teaching and research assistants, as well as improving stipends. The subcommittee recommended that in the short term, that money come from undergraduate tuition and legislative appropriations, with private fund-raising — including making it the centerpiece of the upcoming capital campaign— as the long-range solution.

Faculty Senate nominees:

Robert E. Davis of environmental sciences was nominated as chair-elect, and Ellen Contini-Morava of anthropology was nominated as secretary. No vote was necessary since the seats were not contested.

Nominated to fill four seats on the executive committee were: Stephen Wilson, Engineering; Richard Warner, drama; Anne Monius, religious studies; J.H. “Rip” Verkerke, Law; William Kehoe, Commerce; Scott Vandenberg, Medicine; Daniel Hallahan, Curry School; and Pamela Kulbok, Nursing.

Senators will vote with a mail-in ballot. Officers’ terms start on June 1.

Richard Warner, chair of the subcommittee on a graduate and professional students center, said while finances are the top concern of grad students, they also need a place to gather on Grounds. They congregate now informally on the second floor of Clemons Library and the coffee shop in Alderman Library.

Citing graduate student centers at Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania as examples, the subcommittee report recommended the University create an exclusive social and study space for graduate students by the fall, and that a psermanent graduate and professional students center be incorporated into the South Lawn Project.

An office for the Graduate Student Council has already been set up in Garrett Hall, Warner noted.

The Senate also announced the awarding of 11 dissertation-year fellowships, which include a $17,000 stipend, insurance and tuition. Subcommittee chair Robert J. Davis, in announcing the fellowships, said there were 60 applicants.

In other business, the Senate unanimously recommended to the provost a faculty discipline procedure, which includes requiring written notice before suspension, lays out steps for seeking a meeting with the dean, creates an opportunity for peer review of complaints and outlines the process to be followed, as well as a grievance and appeal process.

Senators also unanimously approved a streamlined 30-year-old faculty grievance procedure. James Clausen, who spearheaded the revision, added a clause specifying that the faculty grievance committee could mediate a dispute if both parties agreed in advance that they would abide by the decision. This would prevent the committee from spending a great deal of time mediating, only to have one party balk at the decision.

John Lyons, chair of the faculty grievance committee, called the revision a “vast improvement” over the original document.

Student Council president Abby Fifer and Chris Husser, chair of Student Council’s technology committee, presented senators with a proposal for on-line course evaluations, which Fifer said would help students select “the best, not the easiest, courses.” Under the proposed system, students would answer five to 10 questions on an online form. The students said they are working with ITC and assured faculty members that the data would be secure.

New Faculty Senate chair Michael Smith of the department of politics was given the gavel and the senators nominated an uncontested slate of officers for the coming year.

 


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