University of Virginia President's Report 2001-2002 Report
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2001 - 2002 Report
The University Today
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Caring Students Reach Across Boarders

an Sebastián, a town of 15,000 in the mountains of El Salvador, is well known for its beautifully woven textiles. But it has few doctors and nurses, and its citizens often suffer from a variety
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of conditions-- skin infections, diabetes, and cervical cancer-- that could be prevented or controlled with education and early detection. Nursing Students Without Borders, a student organization formed at the University, makes regular trips to San Sebastián to help alleviate the problems of this underserved community, focusing most recently on prenatal care.

This past year NSWB expanded its activities to a new continent, launching a health education initiative in a small town about an hour north of St. Petersburg, Russia. Closer to home, the students offer education and aid to migrant farm workers, helping this population overcome health issues made worse by language barriers, cultural differences, a transient lifestyle, and multiple work-related risks.


Students Have Their Day in the Sun

ore than sixty engineering and architecture students combined forces and expertise to take part in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, a competition designed to demonstrate that solar living can be affordable, practical, and comfortable.

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Students in the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering and Applied Science collaborated on the University's
entry in the Solar Decathlon, which won first place for design and livability.

 

The students constructed a portable, 800-square-foot solar home, much of it made with recovered and recycled materials, and transported it to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There it was judged, along with entries from thirteen other universities, in such categories as energy consumption, material selection, and the use of innovative technologies.

The University team won second place overall in the competition, and a panel of renowned architects awarded the house first place for its design and livability. The solar decathletes also received the BP Solar Progressive Award for the most forward-thinking entry. John Quale of the Architecture School and Paxton Marshall of the Engineering School served as faculty advisers for the project, which received generous support from the Elwood R. Quesada Foundation, Martin Horn General Contractors, and an anonymous donor.

Our Vision | The Faculty | The Students
Bricks & Mortar | Health System| Athletics


Great Expectations
how we enrich the student experience


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In today's global environment, students are outward looking, eager to learn about world events, and open to diverse points of view. They seek out courses that offer broad cultural perspectives, and they are enrolling in foreign language classes in unprecedented numbers.

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With an award from the new Kenan endowment, Nia Rodgers (Architecture '02) used mapping techniques to reveal the role of African Americans in shaping the University.

And of course, they have an intuitive grasp of information technology. This is a generation that was born with the IBM PC, and they expect to work in an environment in which the technology for acquiring and presenting information and for working collaboratively is readily available. We provide such an environment. Indeed, Yahoo! Internet Life has ranked the University as the ninth most wired institution in the nation.

New Options for Learning

Meeting the very real -- and worthy expectations -- of our students is one of the driving forces behind our Virginia 2020 and Envision planning processes. We can already see the results of our efforts across the Grounds. In 2001-2002, the University introduced educational programs that reflect the emergence of new areas of study, that tap into the unique strengths of our faculty, and that involve multiple disciplines. An example is the new interdisciplinary major in Environmental Thought and Practice, an area of growing student interest as concerns about population growth, sustainability, and climate change move environmental issues to the fore. This program draws on faculty expertise in the Institute for Practical Ethics, the Law School's Center for Environmental Studies, and the College's Environmental Literacy Program.

Another new interdisciplinary major, Human Biology, takes advantage of the University's outstanding faculty in law, medicine, bioethics, public health, health policy, and health evaluation. Likewise, the new major in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law combines courses in history, economics, philosophy, law, politics, and foreign affairs. Generous gifts from Charles R. Cory (College '77, Law '82, Darden '82) and from an anonymous donor will endow new faculty chairs in this cross-disciplinary field. In the Engineering School, the state has approved a new B.S. degree in Computer Engineering, in which students will grasp the fundamentals of computer science, electrical engineering, and other relevant fields. As one would expect in the digital age, undergraduates are flocking to the program.

The Firsthand Pursuit of Knowledge

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To fulfill our students' desire to pursue learning beyond the classroom, we are determined to make independent research, conducted collaboratively with faculty mentors, the hallmark of our upper-division programs. The Faculty Senate's research awards have given undergraduates the opportunity to take on such scholarly projects under rigorous academic standards. Made possible by the generosity of the late David A. Harrison III (College '39, Law '41), grants of up to $3,000 have been awarded to second- and third-year students based on the quality of their research proposals. In recent years, projects have ranged from an analysis of soil respiration in the rain forest to an examination of taste bud structure to an investigation of the molecular properties of nanoparticles. Some projects take place in laboratories on the Grounds; others involve field work in this country and abroad. Complementing the Harrison Awards, the Office of the President funds undergraduate summer research fellowships, and the College has created an office devoted to undergraduate research. It will act as a clearinghouse for research opportunities, both at the University and around the country, and it will help students develop grant proposals and to showcase their work. Students have established an undergraduate research network and have begun publishing their own scholarly journal, The Oculus, which takes its name from the skylight in the Rotunda. Another program, sponsored by the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund for the Academical Village, offers competitive awards of up to $4,000 for student research on the history of the University. The first round of awards supported projects on such topics as the role of African Americans in University life over time, the history of McCormick Observatory and Jefferson's plans for the study of astronomy, and the recollections of former Lawn residents.

Broadening Our Global Perspective

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New study-abroad programs have taken students to Shanghai, above, as well as to Rabat, Morocco; Lyon, France; St. Petersburg, Russia; and other cities overseas.

The Virginia 2020 Commission on International Activities set an ambitious goal of boosting student participation in study-abroad programs from 15 percent to 80 percent over the next two decades. To meet this target, the University has reinvigorated the International Studies Office and has begun to create a study-abroad program for every undergraduate major. These programs will be intellectually rigorous, will be aligned to the University curriculum, and will carry full University credit. This is an important issue, for there is little room in most students' schedules for pass/fail transfer credits that cannot be applied to the requirements for a degree.

The fruits of these efforts were evident this past summer, as groups of students traveled to Russia, Morocco, France, China, and South Africa for courses taught by University faculty. The summer programs in France and Russia are outgrowths of successful exchange programs already in place, while in Morocco, China, and South Africa, the summer programs represent the first steps in a process that could lead to semester- or year-long initiatives. They join a host of existing programs in locales as diverse as Jodhpur, India; Valencia, Spain; and Kyoto, Japan.

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A new exchange program established in 2001 pairs the School of Architecture with Bradenburg University of Technology-Cottbus, one of Germany's premier institutions in the study of architecture and planning. And in the fall 2002 semester, our students began taking part in a full-credit University of Virginia program affiliated with the New York University Center in London.

Technology for Learning

The University has earned an "A" from Yahoo! Internet Life for its technological capabilities. It received its highest ratings in infrastructure, student services, and e-learning, but was judged only adequate in wireless capacity. This is about to change. The Department of Information Technology and Communication installed 200 wireless access points in areas where students work and study, including the Lawn, Alderman and Clemons Libraries, and most of the classrooms on Grounds.

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A number of faculty members have already capitalized on the educational advantages of this network. Economics professor Charles Holt has devised a series of classroom exercises that lead students to an understanding of specific economic theories. As part of a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, he purchased a set of wireless handheld computers so that all the students in a class can log onto the Web, complete these exercises, and compare results, whether they are sitting in a classroom or in the shade of a tree along the Colonnades.

The Importance of Graduate Life

The University's graduate students play a triple role at the University: they are here to learn, to assist in learning, and to advance research. Graduate students, working closely with faculty members, collaborate on research projects that set the stage for their own scholarship. At the same time, the quality of our graduate programs and the quality of students who enroll in them are key factors in our ability to attract and retain the best faculty.

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Composer Peter Swendsen is one of the first students in the new Ph.D. program in music.
 

This is why support for graduate fellowships is vital to the academic enterprise. Donors such as John H. Birdsall III (College '66), who recently endowed Jefferson Scholar Graduate Fellowships in music and art history and a graduate support fund in drama, are making a profound impact on the University's academic programs. Named for former University President Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., Mr. Birdsall's fellowships have helped attract students like composer Peter Swendsen, who turned down Northwestern to enter the McIntire Department of Music's new and innovative Ph.D. program, the first of its kind in Virginia. In art history, the Shannon Fellowship, combined with the opportunity to work with American art specialist Maurie McInnis, persuaded doctoral student Jennifer Van Horn to choose the University over Yale.

Clearly recognizing the importance of graduate support, the Faculty Senate this past year awarded $17,000 dissertation-year fellowships to eleven graduate students who have shown outstanding promise not only as scholars but also as teachers.

Writing a dissertation is an intense and difficult process. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, English professor Herbert "Chip" Tucker helped place the dissertation in context for twelve graduate students in an eight-week summer seminar. Entitled "Proving Grounds: Hypotheses and Humanities," it examined the diverse assumptions and methods that shape the way arguments are formed and pursued in the humanities.


Students Win Prestigious Scholarshipts

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Ryann Collins

he quality of our students is abundantly evident in the prestigious scholarships and fellowships they have won this past year. Ryann Collins, a foreign affairs major in the Class of 2002, is one of eighteen young Americans supported by the Henry Luce Foundation to live and work in Asia. The award allows her to go to Cambodia, where she is studying the lingering impact of the Khmer Rouge atrocities. Ms. Collins, who lived at the new International Residential College in her fourth year, served as an intern with the United Nations' War Crimes Tribunal in Rwanda. With a Harrison Undergraduate Research Award, she conducted a photographic survey of the devastating effects of the genocide there. When she returned, her disturbing but stunning photos were exhibited in the Art Department's Fayerweather Gallery.

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Kurt Mitman

 

Three under- graduates --
Kurt Mitman (College '04), Daniel Haspel (College '03), and Shetal Patel (College '03) -- were among 309 students chosen nationwide to receive Goldwater Scholarships, named in honor of the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The scholarships are designed to encourage outstanding second- and third-year students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

Six students received Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships, which award up to $50,000 for graduate studies. The recipients are

Anita Gupta (College '02), who will attend medical school at Vanderbilt. As an undergraduate, she was a member of Resident Staff and chief of staff of Student Council. A trained EMT, she was also a triage worker for the Charlottesville Free Clinic.

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Sarah Hobeika

Sarah Hobeika (College '02), now a student in the School of Law. A Jefferson Scholar and an honor adviser as an undergraduate, she helped five Afghan women resettle in the United States after fleeing the Taliban.

Esther Huang (College '02), a Jefferson Scholar who taught in mission camps in Taiwan before heading to Harvard Medical School. As an undergraduate, she conducted medical research in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Carey, then dean of the School of Medicine.

Bryan Maxwell (College '02), a student in the B.A.-M.A. degree program in English. He has conducted research on the ethical issues surrounding AIDS treatment, and he intends to enter Stanford Medical School.

James Puckett (College '02), who is attending law school at the University. Interested in public interest law, he graduated a semester early to travel in Europe. He has helped Serbian refugees by tutoring them in English.

Danna Weiss (College '02), now one of three Americans in Notre Dame's international master's degree program at the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies. Her research interests include religious conflict in the Middle East and North Africa and prospects for international conflict resolution in these and other regions.

Other students winning honors this past year include James Meyerle (College '02), the first student from the University to receive a fellowship from the St. Andrew's Society to attend St. Andrew's University in Scotland. A political and social thought major, he intends to pursue a degree in literature, concentrating on philosophy.



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larke Murphy (College '84) and Byrne Murphy (Darden '86) know firsthand how valuable exposure to other countries and other cultures can be. They both
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Clarke and Byrne Murphy: Fostering a global perspective

spent time in Europe before attending the University, and they returned to Europe after graduation. Together, the two Murphy brothers have established an endowment to give other students the opportunity to live and study abroad.

"Both our personal experience and the demands of our businesses have impressed upon us the need for people who can work across borders," Clarke Murphy says. "By adding direct exposure to other cultures to the rich educational experience offered on Grounds, students will graduate from the University with a global perspective that's become increasingly critical, not simply for success in their careers, but in understanding the world around them."

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