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Board Committee Backs Supplemental Raises; Building Plans Discussed

From staff reports

May 27, 2004 — The University intends to keep and recruit top-notch faculty and staff, and it’s committing the resources to do it.

The Board of Visitors’ Finance Committee, meeting Tuesday in Newcomb Hall’s new Kaleidoscope Center, gave its blessing to a $1.73 billion budget for the 2004-05 fiscal year. Included in its provisions: a 2 percent, merit-based salary increase for teaching and administrative faculty, on top of the 3 percent raise approved by the state earlier this month.

For classified staff, the budget also calls for a $250,000 salary pool to “address critical market and retention needs,” plus $200,000 for bonuses and other one-time compensation. Classified staff will also receive the statewide 3 percent raise, which takes effect Nov. 25.

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 the University, 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.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Finance Committee approved a resolution targeting an AAU ranking of between 15 and 19 by 2006-07 — approximately the same ranking the University held in 1989-90, before vigorous state budget cuts.

“This salary support from the BOV has been a big help to us,” said Jeanette Lancaster, dean of the School of Nursing. The school — which must compete with health-care agencies as well as other nursing schools for faculty members — has already been able to fill three of its four tenure-track faculty vacancies this year, and has an offer out for the fourth, she said.

Arts & Sciences dean Edward L. Ayers said the board’s action is welcome news. “I visited with almost 20 departments in Arts and Sciences in the last couple of weeks,” he said. “Along with hiring, the issue of raises was most on people's minds. The determination by the BOV to get us where we need to be on faculty salaries is some of the best news we have heard in a long time.”

This year’s round of supplemental salary increases are expected to cost about $2.2 million. Budget officials had set aside $1.3 million from this fall’s tuition increase for compensation, and plan to use another $900,000 in private funds to cover the balance this year before replacing it with additional tuition funding next fall.

The overall budget’s $1.73 billion price tag represents a 7.5 percent increase over the current spending plan. It must be approved by the full board at its June 11-12 meeting, and takes effect July 1, the beginning of the University’s fiscal year.

The budget includes $990.3 million for the academic division (a 6.5 percent annual increase), $720.1 million for the Medical Center (an 8.8 percent increase), and $21.7 million for the University’s College at Wise (a 7.1 percent increase).
Health System patient revenue accounts for 41.5 percent of the University’s projected total income, followed by 16.9 percent from research grants and contracts, 15.1 percent from tuition and fees, 9 percent from auxiliary enterprises, 8.1 from state taxpayers, 7.6 percent from endowment income and gifts, and 1.8 percent from other sources.

“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.”

On the revenue side, the budget includes new state support of $3.8 million for the academic division and $465,000 for the College at Wise, approved by the General Assembly on May 7; and additional tuition revenue of $7.2 million at U.Va. and $271,000 at the College at Wise.

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, a joint strategic plan that sets specific goals in several areas and the timelines in which they will be accomplished. It anticipates a 5 prcent operating margin of revenues over expenses in the Medical Center.

Buildings & Grounds

Also on Tuesday, the board’s Buildings and Grounds committee approved the schematic designs of a proposed studio arts building, with increased cost projections, and OK’d a larger budget for renovations at Fayerweather Hall.

Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, told the committee the design for the Ruffin Hall Studio Arts Building, to be built next to the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, is estimated to cost $16.7 million — $4.7 million more than originally planned.

She blamed an approximately 17 percent hike in construction material costs, adding landscaping costs in the project, and additional foundation work due to weaker than anticipated soil at the site. Delays in state funding stemming from the state budget impasse earlier this month were also responsible, and Sheehy said the University might approach the state for more money in the project.

The Ruffin Foundation had pledged $3 million toward the original $12 million construction budget, as well as $2 million for programs in the building, Sheehy said, with the remainder of construction costs coming from the state. The University is now taking with the foundation about transferring that $2 million into construction. The project cannot be scaled back to reduce the cost by the additional $4.7 million, she said.

University architect David J. Neuman presented the designs of the three-story building, by architect Schwartz/Silver of Boston. He called attention to the brick exterior with white trim that picks up the lines from surrounding buildings, and noted the northern light entering the studios, the wide corridors for students to display and critique their work, and the outdoor spaces where students can work. He displayed drawings for the committee that showed how the building related to surrounding structures and how it opened on to the central arts grounds.

“I think we should proceed and trust that we will find the money,” said committee member Thomas F. Farrell II.

Studio arts has been struggling with terribly inadequate space for a long time and has now been placed in temporary buildings, Farrell said.

After unanimously approving the studio arts plans, the committee increased the budget for renovations to Fayerweather Hall by $2.3 million. While the project costs were originally slated for $5.4 million, to be paid by the state, the lowest of three recent bids for the construction portion came in $1.6 million higher than planned.

Sheehy said the project scope was the same, and the overage includes increases in the cost of construction materials, delays from the state budget impasse and complications stemming from the historic restoration portion of the project.

“This a retrofit of a historic building in a defined area.” said Leonard Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “It is very hard to do an estimate in such a tight, prominent location.”

The University could approach the state for more money, Sheehy said, or cover the increased cost from the University’s endowment.

While committee members approved the increase in the renovation budget, they were concerned about increased construction costs. Sheehy noted that the cost estimates for studio arts are still estimates, while Fayerweather expenses were based on actual bid prices. She noted that studio arts construction does not begin until 2005 and that prices may have dropped by then.

The committee also heard reports on building security, the historic preservation master plan and the outcomes of planning workshops.

Student Affairs and Athletics

The Student Affairs and Athletics Committee heard a report from Patricia M. Lampkin, vice president for student affairs, on violent incidents involving a small number of students this past academic year. Lampkin cited several factors that may be contributing to such behavior that, while perpetuated by a few, poses safety concerns for the larger community.

“The current generation of students has grown up both protected and exposed,” she said. “Their parents – mostly from the Baby Boomer generation – are fierce protectors, yet their children have grown up surrounded by real and fictionalized violence. … They also have regularly witnessed breakdowns in the government, corporations, the Roman Catholic Church and now the military.”

As a result, some of today’s students have become inured to wrongs that occur around them and do not involve themselves or assume ownership. Students may be hesitant to use systems that are available to them, whether the police or student judicial systems, she said.

Technology, Lampkin said, has been part of our students’ world forever, and the negative effects of instantaneous communication often has meant students have not learned to communicate, negotiate and deal with conflicts face to face.

“I often say that high IQ may not equal high EQ, or emotional quotient,” said Lampkin, who explained that some students, while extremely bright, may not have developed basic skills to deal on their own with daily instances of conflict or negotiation. Some students, too, come to college with more complex emotional issues stemming from family and personal difficulties. As a result, college counseling centers nationwide, U.Va.’s included, have seen an increase in the number of students seeking services and using antidepressants or other medication.

Lampkin said she and her staff will continue to continue to be proactive in responding to these issues and will put some new programs and training in to place. Students participating in the upcoming Leadership 2004 program, for example, will have a session on conflict management. Lampkin also expects a review of student judicial systems to ensure that maximum coordination is occurring and that students are encouraged to use them.

Meghan Sullivan, incoming chairwoman of the Honor Committee, reported on the work of the past year and goals for the coming academic year. She outlined three goals: greater outreach to international students; strengthening the Honor Committee’s fall education program to include discussions of student initiations in response to a concern that students are not willing to hold their peers accountable; and working more closely with faculty members to explore the cultural and pedagogical role of the Honor System.

Noah Sullivan, the new president of Student Council, also spoke to the committee. He said next year would be an ambitious one for Council. Plans include carrying through and moving forward in establishing an off-Grounds housing office, studying the appropriations process for student organizations, supporting efforts toward diversity and equity within the student body, and working with University administrators to advocate for rechartering legislation within the General Assembly.

U.Va. women’s lacrosse head coach Julie Myers drew at least two rounds of applause as committee members congratulated her and her team on winning the NCAA championship just two days prior in Princeton, N.J.

Committee members also applauded Mark Bernardino, head coach for men’s and women’s swimming and diving, for both teams’ ACC championships this year. The men’s team racked up its sixth consecutive ACC title, while the women’s team topped the season with a second consecutive ACC banner.

Six U.Va. teams have won ACC championships this past year, announced Athletics Director Craig Littlepage. “We are one and counting as far as the NCAA,” he noted in referring to the women’s lacrosse victory and the possibility of the baseball team progressing in the NCAA championships, which begin later this month.

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