June 25-July 8, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 12
Back Issues
Boldness: Characterizes diversity, fund-raising goals
Heating plant gearing up for growth
Faculty Actions from the June Board of Visitors meeting
Back to the Books: How to be a successful adult college student
World War II Revisited
Workshops to improve supervising and other skills


Characterizes diversity, fund-raising goals

President’s Commission on Diversity and Equity recommends creation of chief officer for diversity and equity; Ca steen discusses $3 billion initial campaign target

Staff Report

Despite warnings that a tornado might be heading toward the University the afternoon of June 11, President John T. Casteen III and members of the Board of Visitors’ Special Committee on Diversity gave their complete attention — and full support — to a plan to establish a chief officer for diversity and equity and to develop bold initiatives that will quickly position U.Va. as a leader among public institutions in these areas.

Angela M. Davis and Michael J. Smith, co-chairs of the president’s Commission on Diversity and Equity, presented the plan. Their report represented the first public announcement of the commission’s findings, and kicked off a lively discussion on the complex issues at hand.

In his opening remarks, Smith said, “We believe that only by embracing diversity in the global village of the 21st century can we hope to cultivate and improve our minds; the alternative is an increasingly irrelevant defensive crouch as the world moves on. We can and we must do better than improve compliance with existing federal government regulations. … We can lead in the study — and in the achievement — of genuine diversity in all components of our collective life.”

“We have no wish to write another well-crafted, well-meaning report to be added to the long history of such reports,” Davis stressed. Success in diversity and equity requires that several key factors be in place, including a “commitment to change and success at the highest levels of University leadership,” which she said she believes exists in the president’s office and within the Board of Visitors.

A chief officer for diversity and equity

As both a reflection of that commitment, and in support of it, the commission’s “overarching recommendation” was the creation of a chief officer for diversity and equity.

“We need someone who wakes up thinking about this,” Smith said of the commission’s rationale for recommending this position. “We need someone to ask, ‘Are you doing it? Is it done?’”

University to Launch Largest Campaign in Higher Education

Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs, came to the June 12 board meeting to lead a policy discussion on philanthropy and laid out his strategy and vision for the University’s next campaign.

He said that he hoped the campaign would help the University stake its claim as not just a great public, but as one of the nation’s great universities intent on creating a new model of education.

“ This campaign is now the largest campaign of any university at any time,” Sweeney said, adding that because it was so ambitious, strategic planning on how to achieve success needed to be equally ambitious.

To that end, Sweeney said he and his development colleagues recently had completed a plan that included breaking down the campaign minute by minute.

“ The duration of the campaign will be eight years. … That’s 2,921 days; 70,104 hours; 4,206,240 minutes,” he said to the surprise of board members. “It will require us to raise $1,027,045 a day. That’s working 24-7, 365 days a year!”

Sweeney indicated that his staff of approximately 150 development officers would have to make 10,400 solicitations over the next eight years. “This is serious business,” Sweeney said.

While the campaign, which began its quiet phase in January, went public at the meeting, the official kickoff date has not yet been set. President John T. Casteen III and Sweeney are looking at sometime in 2006.

Between now and the kickoff, University priorities are being discussed and vetted. However, a number of priorities already have been identified and will be key in the campaign. They include: Virginia 2020 initiatives in the arts, sciences and technology, international activities, and athletics; the South Lawn and the Commerce Back to the Lawn building projects, as well as art facilities and the completion of the arena; a cancer center; and a children’s medical center.

“Over a decade ago, John Casteen committed that the University of Virginia would be the finest public university in the nation. We have fulfilled that vision,” Sweeney said.

“Now . . . this board and this president have laid out an even more ambitious plan for the University’s future. From today forward, the word ‘public’ simply indicates our most precious core value and signifies a mandate for action in service to the people. No longer will the word be used as a crutch to justify an imaginary dividing line between U.Va. and the most important American institutions. These are unprecedented expectations and will require unprecedented performance. Clearly, philanthropy will be the X factor in achieving our aspirations.”

In signifying his support for the idea, board member Terence P. Ross said the value of hiring a chief officer for diversity and equity was not just in that person’s ability to spearhead U.Va.’s diversity efforts, but also in that person’s ability to serve as a sustainable “repository” of U.Va.’s goals. “We need an institutional memory regarding diversity and equity” that extends beyond the term limits of board members, or the appointments of key administrators, he said.

A call for bold initiatives and quick action

While board member John O. “Dubby” Wynne supported the creation of a chief diversity officer, he challenged the commission to think even bolder. He said experience has taught him that change in the areas of diversity and equity need to come quickly. “Slow and steady progress can often lead to frustration. You need to develop a couple of highly visible initiatives that people can get excited about.

“We came up with that kind of bold initiative in financial aid,” he said in reference to Access UVa, the $16 million plan approved by the board in February to keep the cost of higher education affordable to all students. “How do we encourage change here?”

Warren M. Thompson, chairman of the Special Committee on Diversity, also favored quick, decisive movement. Without a dedicated chief officer driving the process, Thompson predicted, “Two years from now, we’ll still be where we are now.”

Casteen agreed, noting that money had been set aside in the budget to fund the position.

Sampling of diversity and equity initiatives

Before concluding their presentation, Davis and Smith highlighted a few specific initiatives — for example, regular student and faculty exchanges between U.Va. and historically black colleges and universities — that were part of a “whole raft of ideas” they said had been generated by the commission’s four subcommittees and that they believed would “give this officer … a good start.”

The next morning, the board passed a unanimous resolution praising Casteen for his leadership on diversity issues thanking the commission for its work, and stating that it looked forward to receiving the commission’s final report this fall and to working toward the implementation of the recommendations.

Budget receives formal approval

The $1.73 billion budget for fiscal year 2004-2005 was formally approved at the June meeting.

The budget not only includes a state-authorized 3 percent raise that will take effect Nov. 25, but a 2 percent, merit-based salary
increase for teaching and administrative faculty, a $250,000 salary pool to “address critical market and retention needs,” and $200,000 for bonuses and other one-time compensation.

The board’s supplemental increases are part of a four-year effort to raise compensation for faculty and staff. A year ago, board members identified compensation as one of the key issues facing U.Va., and launched the plan to increase compensation levels among all University employees, including bringing faculty salaries up to nationally competitive levels.

In November, the board supplemented the state’s 2.25 percent salary increases with an additional 1.75 percent — again, targeted, merit-based increases — for teaching faculty, plus a pool of funds for classified staff salary adjustments. As a result, U.Va. jumped from No. 30 to No. 24 in faculty salaries among its national peer schools in the American Association of Universities’ rankings.

During its May work session, the Finance Committee approved a resolution targeting an AAU ranking of between 15 and 19 by 2006-2007 — approximately the same ranking the University held in 1989-1990, before vigorous state budget cuts.

Besides the salary initiatives, the spending plan also provides support for the innovative Access UVa financial aid program and the continuing implementation of the Health System’s Decade Plan.

The overall budget’s $1.73 billion price tag represents a 7.5 percent increase over the current spending plan. It takes effect July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.

“This is a good budget,” declared Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We’re building and investing in ways to further this institution.”

Other board business

• The board established two new endowed chairs: the Samuel Braley Gray Professorship in Mathematical Education, to be held in the Curry School of Education, in honor of the memory of A. Vincent Shea, and the United Technologies Corp. Professorship in Business Administration in the Darden School. These actions bring the total of endowed chairs to 435.

• In response to a few violent incidents involving a small number of students this past academic year, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will put new programs and training into place to help prevent future episodes from occurring. Students participating in this summer’s Leadership 2004 program, for example, will attend a session on conflict management.

• The Honor Committee has set three goals: greater outreach to international students; strengthening its fall education program to include discussions of student accountability; and working closely with faculty members to explore the role of the Honor System.

• Schematic designs for a proposed studio arts building were approved. Current projected cost: $16.7 million.

• $7 million budget for Fayerweather Hall renovations also approved.


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