Graingers year as Faculty
Senate chair yields fruit in research, other key areas
by Peggy Harrison
Rob Graingers term as chair, the Faculty Senate
helped create the Office of Undergraduate Research
awarded 11 dissertation-year fellowships of $17,000 each
co-sponsored the Science & Society Lecture Series
revised its grievance procedure
Faculty Senate is a representative body which is responsible
for faculty participation in University planning and governance.
Full Senate meetings are open to the public. For upcoming
meeting dates and other information, go to http://www.virginia.edu/
By Matt Kelly
Grainger is glad to be back at his research.
53, has returned to his biology
lab after a year as chair of the Faculty
Senate. During his tenure, that body addressed undergraduate
research and graduate students concerns.
are certain traditions, and one is that the Senate do something
to enrich the intellectual life of the University, Grainger
year, the Senate was a driving force in creating the Office of
Undergraduate Research, originally conceived by Grainger and undergraduates
Shadi Kourosh and Lauren Purnell, who helped create the Undergraduate
of Arts & Sciences Dean Ed Ayers and Vice
President and Provost Gene Block, Grainger brought the idea
across the finish line, combining it with the College Fellowship
Office under the direction of Nicole Hurd.
wanted a permanent office for undergraduate research. It seemed
that every door we went through people said it was a great idea
and something that we must do right away, Grainger said.
He praised Block and Ayers for their support and willingness to
find money in their budgets, along with some money from President
John T. Casteen III.
was a logical extension for the Senate since it screens applicants
for the prestigious David A. Harrison III Undergraduate Research
a pleasure to read those applications, Grainger said.
Senate also focused this year on the plight of graduate students,
many of whom teach and perform research.
the out-of-state tuition question, and then theres the stipends
that do not compete with what [other universities] are offering,
Grainger said, noting that the quality of graduate students the
University is able to attract has a major effect on faculty research.
If you have one exceptional graduate student, that can propel
your research. But if you have a poor one, that steals time.
graduate students are charged higher tuition than in-state graduate
students. The Senate was able to award 11 dissertation-year fellowships,
at $17,000 each, but Grainger fears budget woes may hamper future
endowment of $100 million is needed to generate the money needed
to pay graduate students, said Grainger, who said he now better
understands the effort that goes into raising private money for
Senate was also active in generating the Science and Society Lecture
Series, sponsored jointly with the Institute for Practical Ethics,
to make complex ideas and problems more accessible.
series featured Nobel Prize winners, biotech specialists and speakers
on global health. While much of the series was scheduled before
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with topics such as exploring
stem cell research, later lectures featured speakers on bio-terrorism
and global health.
conjunction with the lecture series, an undergraduate course on
science and society expanded the audience to about 150 students
The College also created a human biology major during Graingers
watch, addressing many of the science and society areas. This
helps satisfy the Jeffersonian mandate of building the sciences
at U.Va., he said.
from the intellectual issues, the Senate also handled two governance
matters. It approved a revised grievance procedure and worked
out a policy on terminations and suspensions. The policy is now
being reviewed by the provosts office.
his year in office, Grainger can better appreciate the complexity
of running a university the size of U.Va. and how well some people
are doing it. It is easier for faculty to criticize the administration
than see the challenges it faces, he said, adding that he is grateful
for the response he has gotten from administrators.
Even with the budget cuts, we said we needed raises for
the newly promoted faculty members, he said. And he got
chairs post is a three-year term, with the first year as
chair-elect, learning the ropes, and the third year as past chair,
giving advice to his or her successor. Grainger credits his predecessor,
Patricia H. Werhane, with guiding him and hopes he can provide
valuable advice to Michael Smith, the current chair.
the one-year preparation, Grainger was surprised how much time
the job took. There were requests from so many directions
that it took a good fraction of my weekly schedule, he said.
Ill be very happy to have no more 7:30 a.m. cabinet