April 23-May 27, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 8
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
‘We want to see results!’
Board of Visitors calls for progress on diversity issues
Adams sees program review as an engine of progress
Senate to students: Reject lying and cheating in your midst
Headlines @ U.Va.
Faculty Actions
U.Va. digital history center reaches out to Virginia schools
It’s Personal: An aspiring group of teachers makes learning meaningful
Casteen: Budget stalemate won’t close University
Wise leadership
WHTJ marks Brown anniversary
Feast for the soul: Sufi devotional music of Pakistan
Talk to cover Health System’s master plan
Bowen urges ‘class-based affirmative action’
Adams sees program review as an engine of progress
‘It’s an opportunity to plan for where we’re trying to go’
J. Milton Adams
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Biomedical engineering professor J. Milton Adams, the new vice provost for academic programs, is a busy man. In addition to his day-to-day involvement in academic planning, ongoing reviews of academic programs and accreditation, Adams continues to teach and conduct research in the field of cardio-pulmonary transport.

By Charlotte Crystal

In some ways, J. Milton Adams is like a railroad engineer. The new vice provost for academic programs is concerned both with keeping the University’s engine moving forward, and making sure it’s on the right track.

Since signing on for a five-year stint in September, the professor of biomedical engineering has taken over supervision of the Teaching Resource Center and the University Seminars program. He also helps out with the day-to-day work of the Office of the Vice President and Provost, including helping with recruitment, promotions and tenure. And he will continue his research and teach one class each semester, biomedical engineering in the fall and electrical engineering in the spring.

But with the Teaching Resource Center thriving under the supervision of Marva Barnett, professor of French and director of the center, and the vast majority of the more than 40 University seminars consistently
receiving excellent student evaluations, Adams expects to spend most of his time in the coming years on the University-wide program review, slated to begin in September.

“It’s an opportunity to plan for where we’re trying to go,” Adams said. “Are we making progress as we thought, or do we need to re-orient?”

To meet the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, U.Va. undertakes a review of all its programs every five years. The next review will begin in the 2004-05 academic year and continue for a number of years, Adams said.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits more than 12,000 schools and universities in 11 southeastern states and Latin America. To be accredited, the institutions must undertake reviews, which serve the dual purposes of providing information for self-improvement and assuring the public of the institutions’ quality.
Adams believes the last review brought a number of benefits to the University.

“It showed that we’re on the right track and led to some major gifts,” he said.

The review will touch on many different aspects of the University’s academic responsibilities, including undergraduate teaching and curriculum, research opportunities for undergraduates, progress in internationalization, engineering and the sciences, and the performing arts.

“It offers the opportunity to look at the progress we’ve made toward the goals outlined in the University’s 2020 planning process,” Adams said. “What have we done so far? What do we still need to do? We want to make sure we’re working on the right things.”

Professional schools — such as engineering, commerce, nursing and architecture — have to meet the requirements of other accrediting boards as well as SACS, Adams said.

“We want to let those reviews stand and to use them, especially if there is a way to do that across departments and encourage collaboration among schools,” he said.

The provost’s office also is working to make the process as painless as possible.

“How can we respond to criticism of how this program review has been done in the past?” Adams asked. “We’re looking for the best ways to coordinate our review with faculty planning and program planning. We want to make it more effective, to serve the needs of the departmental degree programs and schools, to streamline the process and avoid repetition.”

By the time Adams’ term draws to a close in 2008, the University will be in the midst of its next capital campaign.

“We will have completed the program reviews by then,” Adams said. “Our faculty’s ideas and vision are what will make the next capital campaign a success.”

For now, Adams is working to make sure that everything is ready to roll in September.


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