Sept. 26-Oct. 9, 2003
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Papers of civil rights pioneer who was denied admission come home to U.Va. Library
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Work begins on new engineering building

Search under way for Engineering School dean
Medical Center opens ‘symbol of creation’
Library now offers inviting ambience for scholarship
Nursing students expand their borders
Trailblazing against tradition: Web archive offers history of U.Va.’s first African-American students
General Faculty Council strengthening lines of communication
Shenandoah Park over time
Register now for sports field day
Economic Engine Part 2: Steady growth means steady work for construction firms

General Faculty Council strengthening lines of communication

Lotta Lofgren By Matt Kelly

Lotta Lofgren knows how to listen. She is a court-certified mediator skilled in handling conflict resolution —training that will prove valuable in Lofgren’s new role as chair of the General Faculty Council.

“It helps me to hear what the group wants and respond,” said Lofgren, a part-time lecturer in the English department. “I think it helps me understand people and be more diplomatic.”

Communicating is essential to addressing the council’s numerous issues, including developing a stronger relationship with the administration, improving communications with the general faculty itself, advising the provost on the General Faculty Policy and securing health care benefits for faculty and staff who work more than half time.

The council’s authority is solely advisory, so Lofgren says she needs to maintain good relations with the administration to properly represent the members. 

The council advises the provost on the General Faculty Policy, which relates to hiring, promotion, retention and causes for dismissal of general faculty, among other items. A proposed overhaul of the policy, last amended in 1996, has been drafted and is being circulated for review among administrators.

MIXED BAG

The General Faculty Council represents a mixed bag of non-tenure track administrative, teaching and research faculty, said Lotta Lofgren, the council chairwoman. 

The council, created 10 years ago by the now-dormant Women’s Faculty and Professional Association, “is an ‘others’ type of concept,” Lofgren said. “A lot of classified staff moved to general faculty, so we have administrative, professional, research and teaching general faculty, and then some in health sciences.”

Eighteen councilors represent about 1,650 general faculty members. Representatives are elected for three-year terms via annual Web-based elections. The council’s mission is to serve as a liaison between the administration and the general faculty.

While there is overlap between the Faculty Senate and the General Faculty Council, Lofgren said “there are concerns of the general faculty that are different from the tenure-track faculty.”

The council meets on the second Tuesday of each month, usually in Newcomb Hall, and its meetings are open to all general faculty.

More information is available at www.virginia.edu/genfac

“I am very concerned about some specific matters in the policy document, in particular the ‘expectation of continued employment’,” she said. “The provost’s office has been very open about sharing the policy document with us and listening to our advice and suggestions and incorporating them.” 

The council is also seeking better communications with its own constituents, who include administrators, professors and researchers. How many of each are on the payroll is uncertain, however, nor is everyone in the general faculty category aware of it.

The council has been seeking a definitive list of general faculty members from Human Resources, and she said with Oracle, a financial and human resources planning system, it may be more accessible.

“We want to maintain a good and Productive relationship with the administration and assist, as we can, to disseminate information [to our members],” she said. “We want to improve our communications and make the general faculty feel it is truly represented.”

To help meet constituents, the council planned to have a table at the University’s Art Museum on Sept. 19 during the opening reception of “Tim Rollins + K.O.S.” exhibit.

Under Lofgren, the council will continue to seek health care benefits for employees who work more than half time. Currently, general faculty members and staff who work between half and full time receive retirement, disability and group life insurance benefits, but not health care.

Robert E. Davis, chairman of the Faculty Senate, said the two bodies have mutual concerns.

“It is important that all the faculties at the University work together in our common interest,” Davis said. “I look forward to working with the General Faculty Council on issues of overlapping interest.”

While she pushes to advance the council’s goals, Lofgren has no illusions about how much will get accomplished.

“A lot of the goals we have will not get done this year,” Lofgren said. “A lot of them are information-gathering, rather than advocacy. The policy document we have been working on with the administration for seven years now. That is hardly a quick thing.”

She is optimistic about the future of the council.

“One of the really exciting things for me about being part of the council right now is that the council is so focused and has members that are really tremendously dedicated,” said Lofgren. “They have a real sense of mission in a way that I don’t think was the case two years ago.”


Who Are We?
Spotlight on the General Faculty
general faculty council

Since 1992, the General Faculty Council (GFC) has been working to represent the interests of the roughly 1650 members of the general faculty. Though members of the general faculty hold prominent and key positions in the University, our multifaceted profile keeps us largely invisible. We encompass non-tenure track teaching and research faculty, administrators, and professionals ranging from development officers to technical and scientific experts in engineering, medicine, the basic sciences, and libraries. Because our activities and funding sources are so varied, we are neither tenured nor considered part of the Commonwealth’s classified staff system. We therefore formed our own council to represent the unique interests and needs of our constituents.

One of GFC’s first and ongoing, challenges is identifying members of the general faculty. If you are a member of the general faculty, or think that you might be one, please contact your area representative (see list below) for more information about the GFC.

The GFC is addressing a number of important issues this year, including:

continuing to encourage the University to grant part-time employees access to group health insurance; working to develop a constructive dialogue with University administration on administrative policies such as grievance and termination procedures; and forming a joint committee to work with the Faculty Senate to draw attention to areas of mutual concern.

The 2002-03 representatives to the GFC from the various segments of the University are listed below. Please contact your representative with any questions or concerns that pertain to your role as a general faculty member. This year, Robbie Greenlee, Robin Kuzen and Prue Thorner represent general faculty in administration, Phil Gates represents Athletics, Bill Keene, Lotta Lofgren who is also the chair of the GFC, together with Donal Day represent the College of Arts and Sciences, Lynda White represents the Libraries, Jann Balmer and George Hashisaki, Elaine Attridge (who will be next year’s GFC chair) and Greg Strickland represent health professionals, Mary Abouzeid represents the Curry School of Education, Derry Wade represents the professional schools (Law, Darden, Commerce and Architecture), Chris Milner represents general faculty in the School of Engineering, and Jennifer Bauerle represents Student Affairs. There are also two at large representatives, Jean Collier and Nancy Gansneder. You can find the names and email addresses of your representatives on the GFC web site at http://www.virginia.edu/genfac/. The Web site also provides other information about us, our meetings, our other activities, and general faculty in the news, in addition to links to other sites pertinent to the general faculty. Please visit us there.


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