‘We want to see results!’
Board of Visitors calls for progress on diversity
its three-day meeting last week, the Board
of Visitors examined
topics as wide-ranging as tuition and pollution control. However,
the discussion that generated the most adamant call to action
was the one that occurred during the April 16 meeting of the
board’s Special Committee on Diversity.
their report to the diversity committee, Vice President and
Provost Gene D. Block and Arts & Sciences Dean Edward L.
Ayers outlined their offices’ activities to increase
the numbers of women and minority faculty at U.Va.
of my top priorities has been to increase the number of women
and minorities in top positions at U.Va.,” Block said. “It
is critical that our faculty be a diverse, creative group that
represents the best of teaching and scholarship today. I believe
there is a relationship, not a choice, between excellence and
diversity, and we will not compromise in either.”
encouraged by the reports, rector Gordon F. Rainey Jr. said
the board wants to see goals and progress in recruitment and
be crystal-clear; we want to see results,” Rainey said. “The
board has a deep engagement with this issue. I’m encouraged
that we’re starting to get traction with more leadership
in this area.”
With respect to full professors, Block said 2 percent are
African American and 13 percent are women — numbers that have stayed relatively flat since
not happy with the numbers,” responded Warren Thompson,
chairman of the diversity committee. “If any other area
had those flat lines for five years, we’d address it.
We owe it to the University to improve that.”
to the budget problems of the past two
years that resulted in hiring freezes, Block said the University
now has the opportunity to move ahead, with 250 faculty searches
initiated since July 2003.
a diverse pool of applicants has been part of the process,
he said, adding that he plans to bring details to the board’s
June meeting on the newly hired faculty.
supplied details on Arts & Sciences’ efforts to expand
the pool. He said 41 offers have been made for some of the
55 openings so far, including 23 to women and 10 to minorities. “That’s
a sea change,” Ayers said.
member John O. Wynne asked the administrators how they were
addressing the climate and if they might consider a more family-friendly
tenure process. “It’s the culture that has to be
changed,” Wynne said.
and Gertrude Fraser, the new vice provost for faculty advancement,
described one of her initiatives that will address retention.
She is forming faculty focus groups across schools to discuss
what types of mentoring programs work best, as well as other
diversity-related issues, including those related to climate.
pointed out that the University’s culture carries the
burden of its history, and it should not only be acknowledged,
but also turned into an advantage. He decided to build on the
College’s strengths in American Studies and challenged
departments to create the most diverse pool of applicants for
a more diverse group joins the faculty, it will bring a critical
mass to the University that will help change the culture, he
Block added that his office is working with Equal Opportunity Programs to develop
on online training module for search committees on the best ways to create
a more inclusive applicant pool. They are also working with Human Resources
on a protocol for spousal hiring.
its April 15 session, the Finance Committee of the Board of
Visitors set new rates for tuition and fees for the upcoming
academic year. In-state undergraduates at U.Va. will pay $636
more in tuition and fees next fall, for a total of $6,600 per
year, while non-Virginians will pay an additional $716, for
a total of $22,700.
new figures represent a 10.7 percent increase for in-state
students over last year’s tuition and fees, but only
an 8.7 percent ($1,006) increase when the total cost of education,
which includes room and board, is used as the basis for comparison.
will see a 3.3 percent rise in tuition and fees over last year’s
cost, and a 3.9 percent ($1,086) rise in the total cost of
increase comes at a time when the state budget has stalled
in the General Assembly, and state agencies, including colleges
and universities, are being required to make financial decisions
without the benefit of knowing what their state appropriations
Committee member John O. “Dubby” Wynne suggested
pursuing a more aggressive boost in out-of-state tuition, arguing
that the market could support it and that the extra revenue
generated would address several institutional needs. His suggestion,
to match the percentage increase of in-state tuition, would
have more than tripled the dollar value of the proposed out-of-state
W. Sandridge Jr., executive vice president and chief operating
officer, countered that a more drastic rise in out-of-state
tuition would erode the University’s competitiveness
for the top national students, would come as a shock for current
students, and would likely exceed the parameters outlined in
at least one of the state budget proposals.
dropped his proposal and moved for the adoption of the recommended
issues in the form of state-mandated tuition rollbacks and
consecutive years of tuition freezes have dogged higher education
in Virginia for much of the past decade. As a result, the 2003-04
tuition at U.Va. is actually less than inflation-adjusted 1995-96
In February, the University launched a groundbreaking financial aid program
called “Access UVa,” through which all eligible undergraduate students
will be offered financial aid packages that meet 100 percent of their demonstrated
need. Students whose family income is at or below 150 percent of federal poverty
guidelines will receive grants in place of student loans and thereby graduate
free of debt. Beginning in fall 2005, all other students receiving need-based
aid will have their loans capped at 25 percent of the total cost of an in-state
education in order to reduce the debt they carry at graduation.
$2 million of the $11.6 million in additional revenue yielded
by the tuition increases will augment the funding for Access
UVa. The new tuition revenues also will fund additional salary
and benefit increases for faculty and staff ($7.6 million),
and increased utility, lease and operating and maintenance
costs ($2 million).
board also raised graduate tuition and fees by $1,344, to $9,200,
for Virginians, and by $236, to $20,200, for non-Virginians.
Costs will also increase by $1,980 for all Darden students,
to $30,300 for Virginians and $35,300 for non-Virginians, and
by $1,900 for all entering medical students, to $26,074.
the committee approved a 3.6 percent increase in the rates
for contract meal plans, attributing the increase to increased
food and labor costs. Aramark, the company under contract with
the University to run Dining Services, will increase its minimum
wage to $8.37 per hour to bring it in line with the University’s
Building & grounds
Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee approved on Thursday
a $51.8 million renovation to the University’s central
The plan, which calls for two new boilers, additional coal- and oil-storage
capacity, and more pollution-control equipment, will bring the plant into compliance
with federal and state environmental regulations into the foreseeable future
and allow it to run at full capacity.
University heats all of its medical facilities and most of
its academic facilities with steam and hot water from the central
plant, which was built in stages over the past 55 years. The
expanded and modernized plant will also supply heat to many
of the proposed building projects, including the South Lawn
project and the new McIntire School of Commerce building.
controls at the plant will be enhanced. Two existing bag houses,
which filter particulate matter from the boiler exhaust, will
be modified and a new bag house added.
second railroad siding for coal cars and a fifth coal silo
will also be added, increasing on-site coal storage to a maximum
of nine days. Existing underground oil storage tanks will be
replaced with larger ones.
plant will continue to operate with three fuel sources — coal,
gas and oil — to assure uninterrupted service, on the
chance one of the fuel sources fails, Robert P. Dillman, chief
facilities officer, told the committee.
who presented the plan to the board, said planning for the
project, which should be completed by 2008, began in 1996.
Board members also asked about plant security. Dillman said the building is
closed, and the staff, which mans the facility 24 hours a day, is alert to
strangers on the premises. Committee chairman Mark J. Kington said he wants
further discussions about security at the plant.
April 16, members of the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee,
meeting in the new Kaleidoscope Center for Cultural Fluency
in Newcomb Hall, heard reports on the new center, student housing
and student-athlete recruitment.
chairman Thomas F. Farrell II called on committee member Susan
Y. Dorsey to give a brief summary of an open forum the two
hosted with students the prior Monday evening. Topics raised
by students included housing, faculty hiring, the Student Activity
Fee and related appropriations, and pedestrian safety. Citing
the forum’s success, Farrell said he looked forward to
similar meetings in the future with different cross-sections
Sissson, senior associate dean of students, reported that between
its Feb. 26 opening and the end of this semester, the Kaleidoscope
Center will have served as the venue for 39 programs, including
a World of Tea lecture series, a Native American Student Union
reading group, and a program on “What is Whiteness?” The
latter, Sisson elaborated, resulted in a substantive, post-program
discussion among a small, diverse group of students — an
example, she said, of the center’s potential to bring
different groups together in meaningful dialogue.
plans for the center, she said, include collaborating with
the International Studies Office on a film series, hosting
art exhibitions, continuing a variety of programming and lounge
nights, and expanding the center’s resources to include
who was in attendence, announced that this fall the University
will begin to guarantee on-Grounds housing to all first-year
students who want to live on Grounds in their second year and
who make application by Nov. 1. Transfer students entering
the University in the fall who want to live on Grounds, he
said, will receive offers housing offers beginning in June.
Both guarantees are intended to alleviate the uncertainty and
stress that many entering students experience over housing.
Director Craig Littlepage reported on the recruitment of student-athletes,
a subject that has drawn intense scrutiny at other institutions
in recent months. He described NCAA regulations that govern
an athlete’s “official visit,” and noted
that U.Va.’s official visit for its prospects meets NCAA
out its three-day meeting on Saturday morning, the Board dove
into a lively, free-ranging policy discussion on the University’s
physical planning process.
laid the groundwork, noting that successful university campuses
were not accidental. “Planning in all areas of resource
management is necessary both to achieve and to sustain excellence
in universities,” he said. “Academic, financial,
and physical planning must work in close harmony in order to
develop workable strategic plans that can accomplish institutional
goals within the time and budget allotted.”
turned to David J. Neuman, architect for the University, to
walk the board through a new physical planning process that
might accomplish several goals, including designs that better
accommodate academic needs and planning that is more comprehensive
and efficient. “While much of our growth has been carefully
planned in the past,” Sandridge said, “much has
also been episodic in nature. … This is a renewed effort
to plan more fully and comprehensively.”
outlined his plan, which included a series of board checks
and balances, but was cautioned by several board members not
to ask for too much input. “It is not our job to micromanage
this process,” Farrell said.
should set policy and framework,” Saunders added. “Not
tell you what goes into each building.”
said that all planning should be driven by the mission of the
University and that all decisions should be informed by academic
planning, physical planning and a capital needs plan. “We
will look at space needs on a regular basis and benchmark how
we use our resources.”
that end, Neuman laid out a proposed process time line for
all building projects than included intermittent board involvement.
It “put logic” back into the process, Sandridge
said, adding that at times programmatic needs of a building
came mid-way through the building process instead of at the
beginning and that some key issues, including fund raising,
were left to the end.
believes that the recent creation of a capital development
executive committee, charged with a rigorous vetting of every
project, will transform the process and help avoid future missteps.
Its members include Neuman; Sandridge; Block; Colette Sheehy,
vice president for management and budget; and Robert D. Sweeney,
senior vice president for development and public affairs.
project will go to the president or board without going through
this committee,” Neuman said.
summed up board members’ enthusiasm for the changes that
included a strong focus on fiscal responsibility and a recommendation
that might require that an operating endowment be confirmed
before a new capital project is approved.
is good work,” Rainey said, “and we look forward
to your bringing back to the board a final proposal.”