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Virginia 2020 PhotoWhen Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, he bequeathed to succeeding generations the ideal of higher education in America. His Academical Village is as much a model of the way we create and share knowledge as it is an assemblage of beautifully proportioned and instructive buildings. Even today, we are just beginning to understand the full power of his conception, and we have raised our aspirations accordingly. We now understand that a university based on Jefferson's vision, with the proper resources and leadership, has the potential to take its place among the finest universities, public and private, in the United States and abroad. As it does, it will enrich the educational experience it offers its students while expanding its capacity to make contributions to scholarship and to improve the quality of life of the citizens it serves.

Invigorated by its progress over the past decade and the success of its recent capital campaign, the University has been engaged in a long-range planning process known as Virginia 2020. Its aim is to establish strengths in new areas as the University enters its third century in 2019. Thanks to these efforts, students in the entering class of 2020 will arrive at a University as strong in the sciences and engineering as it is in the humanities, and one in which the arts are an integral part of our intellectual life. It will be a University that serves as a prominent agent of enlightenment in the global community, and an institution adept at marshaling its resources and its expertise to serve the common good. Student-athletes arriving in 2020 will take part in a winning athletics program that maintains the highest standards of integrity and fiscal responsibility, and all students will be shaped by the core values that define the student experience in our time and in future generations.

At its annual retreat in July, the Board of Visitors approved in principle the reports issued by the Virginia 2020 planning commissions on science and technology, international activities, public service and outreach, and the fine and performing arts. Now comes the process of setting priorities for achieving these goals, the product of more than two years of research and deliberation. The approval of the Virginia 2020 reports represents an important milestone in the history of planning at the University, a history that extends to the bold aspirations of our founder. The board's action reflects the sober realization that the University must address its areas of relative weakness if it is to advance to the top tier among all universities.

Broadening Our Horizons

The University is beginning to act on the commissions' recommendations, and these efforts are already touching the lives of our students and faculty. In the international sphere, we are forming new alliances with universities around the world while creating programs here that will attract scholars from abroad.

Seeing Big Breakthroughs In A Small World

Robert Hull Photo
Robert Hull

When materials science and engineering professor Robert Hull talks about the fine points of his research, it's more than a figure of speech. The unit of measurement in his field is the nanometer, that is, one-billionth of a meter. At this scale, he is working on materials just a few atoms or molecules at a time.

If scientists like Mr. Hull can learn how to manipulate atoms and molecules with precision, they can begin to understand the relationship between the nanoscale structure of a substance and its macroscale properties. This may enable engineers to create special characteristics in steels, plastics, and virtually any other material. They can also learn how to make nanoscale structures that are virtually perfect, a breakthrough that can help satisfy the demand for ever smaller and more powerful devices for telecommunications and computing. "If we can control nanoscale structure and defects in electronic devices, we can vastly increase their power and efficiency," he says.

Last year, Mr. Hull assembled a team of researchers from the University and other institutions who won a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design. As Mr. Hull sees it, "Nanotechnology is the intellectual prize of the twenty-first century. It will define the leading research universities, it will distinguish the preparation we provide our students, and it will be the driving force in economic development. Our goal is to make sure it happens in Virginia."

Signaling this new emphasis at the University, the International Residential College opened in the fall of 2001 with Brad Brown, associate professor at the McIntire School of Commerce, as its principal. Housed in the Munford, Gwathmey, Lewis, and Hoxton dormitories on Sprigg Lane, the college is a community of 323 American and international students seeking new opportunities to expand their cultural horizons.

Ambitious international activities are being coordinated across the Grounds and around the world. William B. Quandt, an authority on the Middle East who occupies the recently created position of vice provost for international affairs, is establishing multidisciplinary academic centers in Lyon, France, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The School of Architecture, which has long emphasized study abroad, has created a new exchange program with the Brandenburg University of Technology-Cotbus in the former East Germany, and the School of Nursing has inaugurated a new exchange program with the University of Ballarat in Australia.

Faculty members in the Global Environmental Exchange Program in the Department of Environmental Sciences have been working with their counterparts at a number of universities in southern Africa. The result: a live, interactive course delivered over the Internet in fall 2001 is being attended by U.S. and African students simultaneously. The University is one of eighteen institutions in Universitas 21, an international consortium that is working with Thomson Learning to develop degree programs over the Internet, initially in Asia. Law Professor Peter Low, former vice president and provost, is spearheading the University's participation in this new venture in distance learning.

A Commitment to the Common Good

Forming alliances with organizations that can benefit from our expertise and intellectual capital is also a strategy the University is pursuing in its public service initiatives. The University has joined forces with the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council and a broad cross section of local high-tech businesses to open the Connected Community Technology Center. The center hosts the Computer4Kids program and the Biotechnology Training Center, a partnership combining the resources of the University with those of Piedmont Virginia Community College and the City of Charlottesville to ensure the availability of a well-trained workforce.

In systems engineering, students in the executive master's degree program worked with the City of Charlottesville to analyze its voting systems in the wake of the disputed presidential election. Charlottesville uses the same Votomatic punch-card system that caused so much controversy in Florida. The city has already adopted the students' recommendation for using optiscan technology and is in the process of purchasing new equipment.

A much broader study of the electoral process was conducted by the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, convened by the University's Miller Center of Public Affairs and the Century Foundation. The commission issued recommendations aimed at improving voter participation and at establishing uniform standards of equipment and procedures that will help to achieve fair election results. President Bush endorsed the key principles drawn from the report and recommended them to Congress.

The University is collaborating with schools and schoolteachers across the state to strengthen K-12 education. Information on these and similar initiatives can be found on OutreachVirginia, a searchable Web database that offers information on more than 300 University programs that are available to the public. The site can be found at

Arts Photo

A New Environment For The Arts

The Virginia 2020 Fine and Performing Arts Commission urged the University to move forward with the Arts Grounds, a proposed complex of new and expanded facilities that will bring all arts programs to the area around Carr's Hill.

New Opportunities for Discovery

In science and technology, the Virginia 2020 commission offered an action plan for across-the-board improvement while also urging the University to focus attention and resources on three multidisciplinary areas: biodifferentiation, computer and information science and engineering, and quantum and nanoscale science and engineering. Significant funding already has been awarded to researchers in one of these fields. University faculty, competing against some of the leading researchers in the country, received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design. The center will occupy a materials science and engineering building to be financed in large part by a generous gift from Gregory Olsen (Engineering '71).

Where the Arts Will Thrive

In the fine and performing arts, the University has completed the master plan for the Arts Grounds, a complex of new and expanded facilities on and around Carr's Hill. In addition to helping artists and scholars on the arts faculties to do their best work, these structures will allow more students to make the arts a prominent part of their college careers. A new studio art building already has entered the design phase. Feasibility studies have been completed for a new home for the University of Virginia Art Museum as well as for a new music building, a new performing arts center, and a new comprehensive arts library, additions to the drama and architecture buildings, and restoration of Fayerweather Hall, which will be devoted to the art history program.

Global Health Photo

Combating The Diseases Of Poverty

In the developing world, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the population on the globe, gastrointestinal and parasitic diseases kill millions of people annually and prevent hundreds of millions of others from achieving their potential. In other words, they weaken those who live in the weakest societies. To improve health and health education in these regions, Dr. Richard Guerrant, center, and colleagues in the University's international medicine program have formed the Center for Global Health. Clockwise from the right of Dr. Guerrant are program members Alex Dwusu-Oifori, M.D., of Ghana; Gerly Anne Brito, M.D., Ph.D., of Brazil; Cirle Alcantiara, M.D., of the Philippines; Zhang Hong, a postdoctoral fellow from China; and Patrick Ayeh-Kumi, M.Phil., of Ghana.

Enriching the Student Experience

The Virginia 2020 Student Experience Task Force, led by Patricia M. Lampkin, interim vice president for student affairs, is envisioning future student academic and extracurricular life on the Grounds. She and her colleagues will recommend ways to enhance the student experience by building on four core values: academic rigor, honor, self-governance, and public service.

The task force, which is on track to complete its report this fall, is considering a number of improvements, including a better structure for academic advising, a more coherent and open facilities use policy, and expansion of the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards program to involve more students in the process of scholarly inquiry. Additional reports on honor, student organizations and programming, student self-governance, academic advising, and student services will be forthcoming during the next year.

New Structures and New Leaders

Instituting the changes emerging from Virginia 2020 will require considerable leadership and coordination. In 2001–2002, we will create a University Planning Council, chaired by the provost and reporting to the president.
Its primary task will be to establish the guidelines for building school-based strategic plans that cover academic programs, resource needs, fund-raising goals, and joint ventures with other schools.

In carrying out the recommendations of the Virginia 2020 commissions, the University will be relying on the energy, enthusiasm, and experience of a number of new leaders.

Edward L. Ayers has been appointed the new dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Mr. Ayers is an award-winning teacher, a nationally acclaimed expert on the history of the South, and a pioneer in the use of technology in humanities research and teaching.

John C. Jeffries, Jr., became the tenth dean of the Law School in time for its 175th anniversary celebration in fall 2001. An authority on criminal law, constitutional law, federal courts, and civil rights, Mr. Jeffries is the former academic associate dean of the Law School.

Robert S. Harris, a faculty member in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration since 1988 and chief learning officer for United Technologies Corp. since 1998, is the new dean of the Darden School. He was Darden's associate dean for faculty from 1990 to 1993.

Steven Kaplan, former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis, was named chancellor of the University of Virginia's College at Wise.

Other leaders have moved into posts of greater responsibility.

Gene D. Block, former vice president for research and public service and an internationally respected biologist known for his research on biological rhythms, was named vice president and provost, the University's chief academic officer.

Dr. Robert E. Reynolds, former vice provost for health sciences and a noted authority on health information systems, has assumed the post of vice president and chief information officer of the University.

Craig Littlepage, senior associate director of athletics and a member of the athletics administration since 1990, has been appointed director of athletics.

Dr. R. Ariel Gomez, professor of pediatrics, was appointed interim vice president for research and public service.

Robert D. Sweeney, vice president for development since 1991, now has a broader portfolio of responsibilities as senior vice president for development and public affairs.

William W. Harmon, vice president for student affairs since 1994, has become senior vice president and is a key member of the team planning a new basketball and special events facility.

The Challenges Ahead

Thanks to the leadership of the Board of Visitors and the support of alumni and friends, the University has made great strides during the past decade in increasing its self-sufficiency. Nonetheless, significant challenges lie before us. As a public institution dedicated to serving the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the University still relies on state appropriations and tuition dollars for its core support. We can anticipate no significant growth in either of these sources of funding. The success of the recently completed campaign demonstrates what can be achieved if we have well-defined goals and the determination to pursue them. Despite the recent contraction of the economy, the University must continue to find new means to support the people, programs, and facilities needed to reach its full potential.

PALS Photo
The PALS team, from left: Jenni Ballow, Amie Sullivan, Heather Partridge, Joanne Meier, and Marcia Invernizzi
Good PALS For Young Readers

As they envisioned new ways to serve the Commonwealth and the nation, the Virginia 2020 planners cited K-12 education as an area in which the University can make significant contributions to the public good. The University is already benefiting schools and schoolchildren with a wide range of programs, but few touch as many young students as PALS, or Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening.

Developed by Marcia Invernizzi, Joanne Meier, and Connie Juel in the Curry School of Education, PALS is part of a statewide effort to address reading problems through early intervention. PALS is based on proven measures of children's reading skills, such as the ability to recognize beginning sounds, rhyme, letters and letter sounds, and full words. With support from the Virginia Department of Education, children in kindergarten through third grade now undergo PALS screening, and soon preschool programs such as Head Start will be included.

PALS makes effective use of the Internet, providing interactive Web pages where a teacher can submit scores and receive immediate analysis and where a principal can obtain a summary of his or her school's performance. This technology allowed the PALS team to process the scores of 213,500 students in 128 school districts during the 2000–2001 academic year. The PALS Web site also offers more than 100 instructional suggestions for helping children overcome their reading difficulties.

For more information on PALS and other public service activities at the University, visit OutreachVirginia, a new interactive Web site with links to some 300 programs around the Grounds. The address is


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