Virginia 2020: Agenda for the Third Century
Public Service & Outreach Commission Report
Rebecca Kneedler, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 804-924-6749
This working report reflects contributions of 40 faculty, staff, and students who came together ten months ago when the commission was formed (see list in Appendix A). First, commission members have identified a common, operational definition of public service as "the application of scholarly knowledge and professional or academic expertise to the economic, health, and educational needs of the public." In addition, we have agreed upon the following vision for the role of public service at the University of Virginia:
We have organized our initial work around five Exploratory Groups:
These subgroups have involved additional individuals and focus groups to inform their study. The most recent draft reports from three exploratory groups are provided in Appendix B.
Through surveys, interviews, literature reviews, and visits, we have identified the key benchmark institutions and their areas of excellence (see "Top Ten Benchmark Findings" in Appendix C). We are continuing to study and visit these aspiration matches.
Through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Public, we are creating the first University inventory of public service programs and the first public service web gateway with a searchable database organized around geographical regions, interest areas, and special audiences. "Public Service & Outreach" has been added to the University of Virginia's Web Home Page with a list of links to programs and offices with public service initiatives:
The most astounding finding to date is the magnitude of public service and outreach efforts already in place at the University of Virginia. Every school is engaged and every county in the Commonwealth of Virginia is served directly by University of Virginia programs. An initial, quick survey identified over 300 established programs, many of them serving over 1,000 citizens each. In addition to these programs are library and electronic resources, exhibits, special community events, athletic events, museums, theaters, and others resources available to the public, usually for little or no cost. We compare well to institutions far better known for meeting public needs and for their role within their state.
In addition, commission members have come to understand that this University already has taken a number of noteworthy actions with regard to outreach, such as the creation of a vice presidency for Research and Public Service. The University's renewed commitment to continuing education is evidenced by a 1996 Provost Task Force Report and the proliferation of degree, certificate, and enrichment programs available to part-time students throughout the Commonwealth. Further, the 1999-2000 University of Virginia Statement of Purpose and Goals includes six specific goals articulating the centrality of public service to its overall mission:
University Mission Statements.
Through our work thus far, we have identified the Emerging Recommendations, as well as the Tasks for Spring 2000, both of which follow.
Emerging Recommendations of the Commission
Centralize and standardize the reporting of public service achievements from deans, department chairs, and faculty.
Reward faculty achievements in public service in ways similar to those in research and teaching (merit raises, endowed chairs, awards, sabbaticals, annual performance reviews, etc.). Particular value will be placed on interdisciplinary efforts that invariably require greater work demands, and on service performed within the Commonwealth and with other Virginia institutions.
Identify and coordinate areas of particular strength at this University such as health & medicine; government & law; economic development & business; education; and instructional & informational technology.
Create a centralized office of sufficient stature and resources to provide reporting, accountability, and funding mechanisms for the University's public service activities.
2. Launch a University-Wide Marketing and Communications Plan to Inform Virginia Citizens about UVA's Impact on Public Life.
Continue high quality targeted efforts through the Office of University Relations (media relations, community outreach, web-based communication).
Move strategically into multi-media communication using tools such as PBS and NPR underwriting, newspaper and radio advertising, video streaming, etc.
Designate a person within each school to report public service activities (already in place in some schools and departments) as part of external relations and development efforts.
Provide a Fourth Credit Option to All Undergraduate Students
This will allow undergraduates to add an academically based service learning component to selected courses. Using service as an academic tool to enhance student learning has been effectively demonstrated at peer institutions.
4. Support and Recognize Volunteer Service In Addition to Public Service
The greatest volume of volunteer service to our local and regional community is performed by thousands of University of Virginia staff, faculty and students. The institution can strengthen its contributions as a good neighbor by providing greater coordination and awareness of these opportunities.
University alumni who reside locally and throughout Virginia also perform public service as an arm of the University. Publicizing and honoring these efforts informs our public of available services.
Tasks for Spring 2000
Continue meeting with local and statewide citizens, legislators, alumni, faculty, students, administrators, Board of Visitors members, and staff (additional work with development, technology, and communications staff) to modify recommendations and implement strategies based on constituent needs and University expertise.
Complete in-depth study of benchmark institutions with visits planned for 2-4 Universities.
Complete plan for evaluation of quality and impact of public service achievements. Measures are needed to assess individual service quality as well as programs competing for resources. Include cost basis.
Complete plan for statewide communications and marketing campaign to inform Virginia citizens about University of Virginia outreach services. Include cost basis.
Complete plan for centralized university public service office, including authority, reporting lines, budget and scope.
Create descriptions of current and future public service and outreach projects at this University.
Complete plan for coordination and communication of volunteer services performed by staff, students, faculty, and alumni.
The members of this commission have notable achievements in public service and many have been part of this University community for many years. They bring extraordinary experiences and knowledge to this commission. In spite of this background, we commission members have been surprised by the many unknown activities we have identified.
As we examine barriers and obstacles to service and outreach, we are finding that most of them revolve around problems of ignorance and attitude among members of our University community.
The ignorance is a direct result of not knowing the extent to which this University already engages in public service and outreach. We all carry ideas about the identity of this University -- what it is and what it should be. However, some of these ideas fail to acknowledge the substantial role this institution already plays in improving the life for Virginians and citizens throughout the nation and the world. Because we have done little as an institution to educate ourselves and the public about our numerous outreach opportunities, and because we have done little as an institution to celebrate and recognize these contributions, the citizens of this Commonwealth also fail to appreciate the impact of this University on their towns, their neighborhoods, and their schools. Therefore, the strategic, statewide multi-media communication plan in our recommendations is critical.
The most difficult obstacle to the University of Virginia in the area of public service will be our own attitudes. Too many of us see outreach efforts as separate "do good" activities that some choose to do while others engage in the real work of the University. To the contrary, for many of our most prestigious faculty, public service is an integral part of their research and teaching. It can inform and become their research, as in the well-known example of Ed Ayers' (History) Valley of the Shadow Project. It can also inform and become their teaching, as in the case of Glenn Beamer (Government & Foreign Affairs) who worked with his students in Yonkers, New York, while teaching them urban politics. Hundreds of other examples exist throughout all schools in this University and the potential for more is tremendous, once we begin to understand and value the way service -- that is, the application of scholarship to problems outside the traditional community of higher education -- informs and enhances our research and teaching.
We should assess and reward this application of scholarship (public service) through our assessment and rewarding of research and teaching. Public service is not beyond the scope of our university's central mission; as noted previously, it is represented in over one third of our current institutional purpose and goals. To become a great university that harnesses its intellectual resources to meet public needs will not require significant changes in our actions as much as it will require a change in how we view this University. Already, public service is a widespread activity. Our challenge is to institutionalize this activity and to become self-conscious as an institution about the impact of that activity, not only to public life, but also to the well being and future of this University.
List of Commission Members and Participants
Ben Boggs Maunank Shah
Gene Block Sondra Stallard
Harold Burbach Jack Syer
Richard Demong John Thomas
Louise Dudley Kathryn Thornton
John Echeverri-Gent David Wilkinson
Carolyn Engelhard Les Williams
Betsy Flanagan Karin Wittenborg
Cindy Frederick Ida Lee Wootten
Exploratory Group Reports
Strategic Planning Exploratory Group
Report to the Commission on Public Service and Outreach
The Strategic Planning Exploratory Group of the Commission on Public Service and Outreach believes that the University of Virginia has the opportunity to increase its impact on public life in the Commonwealth in ways that both draw on and enhance its existing strengths in teaching and research. We offer the following set of recommendations to the Commission for consideration, discussion, and further research in developing a strategic University-wide plan.
In order to be effective in its public service and outreach efforts, the University needs to:
Our rationale and action plan for each of these recommendations is summarized below. For those recommendations embraced by the Commission, more specific initiatives will need to be articulated and, where possible, implemented.
Identify and support high-priority areas for public service and outreach as a framework for addressing public needs.
Current public service and outreach activities emanate from virtually every unit of the University and reflect a vigorous and diverse set of initiatives. However, they often do not represent a coherent, coordinated, and sustained program, nor are they publicized sufficiently to receive wide recognition of the ways in which the University serves the Commonwealth. Our group believes that the Universitys efforts to impact public life will be most effective and most visible if concentrated in those areas of particular strength where citizens and community and political leaders want to see University contributions.
Recognizing that there will never be unanimity on priorities for public services and outreach, our exploratory group nevertheless believes that we can identify four broad areas of public concern: economic well-being and workforce training; health; education; and environmental and planning issues. Before endorsing these areas as high priorities for public service, the commission will need to engage our public constituencies and internal audiences in discussion to determine whether the areas reflect the needs of the Commonwealth.
This group has conducted an initial inventory of current public service and outreach activities at the University and grouped them into the four proposed areas. Current examples from each of the four proposed areas begin on page 7. Once high priority areas have been established, the Universitys impact and presence in the major regions of the Commonwealth according to the priority areas will need to be evaluated.
Articulate its mission and desired impact in each of the high-priority areas for each region of the Commonwealth.
The institution must commit to its vision for public service and outreach before any subsequent initiatives can be identified and implemented. We believe the Commission must develop and recommend a University-wide statement on public service and outreach with input from faculty, staff, students, and senior administrators, particularly deans, as to the institutions commitment, its scope of desired impact, and its priorities in each of the high-priority areas for each region of the Commonwealth. Where possible, this statement should incorporate any current strategic plans for each of the schools, including Continuing Education. For example, the Universitys commitment to and desired impact on health care in Southwest Virginia would differ from its commitment in other areas of the state, based on the priorities established by the U.Va. Health System in its strategic plan (citation). This University-wide statement would shape the role of Office of the Vice President for Research and Public Service and serve as a guide for collaborative public service and outreach ventures. Ideally, this University-wide statement would be developed prior to the Commissions final report so that subsequent initiatives could be identified and implemented as part of the Commissions work.
Once the University has developed its statement of priorities and goals for service, it will need to place them in the larger context of what other colleges and universities, governing bodies, and community organizations are doing throughout the state. The University could host a statewide conference with leaders from state and local government, other colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and community organizations, creating a forum for discussion about public needs. Such a conference could serve as a mechanism for shaping a statewide agenda for public service on the part of Virginias colleges and universities, identifying areas for collaborative initiatives among institutions.
Promote initiatives within these areas that extend the best of teaching and research into the public realm.
The University must consider the most effective models for developing priorities and supporting selected initiatives. Examples from other peer institutions may be particularly helpful in this regard.
Although not currently funded, the Universitys Academic Enhancement Program (AEP) provides one example of competitive funding for programs that often involve cross-disciplinary opportunities. A similar incentive program could be designed to encourage faculty to extend their expertise into the public realm by providing seed money for cross-disciplinary projects that incorporate both a high level of scholarship and a strong component of service or outreach. Such a program would encourage collaboration and allow faculty to work together in identifying areas where existing strengths can be extended to benefit public life. Funds invested through the incentive program could be used to leverage additional resources from federal or private sources. Such a program would serve as a powerful incentive for faculty to extend their research and teaching interests into the public realm.
We will also need to identify those ways in which we can best support faculty in their efforts to extend their existing interests to a wider community. Such identification would begin with conversations between the commission and faculty members throughout the University who have demonstrated a clear interest in extending their interests and expertise to the public realm. While additional funds will be required to support faculty outreach activities, these University-wide conversations must extend beyond the need for additional funding and articulate the kinds of additional support most needed by faculty (i.e., release time, administrative staff, materials, simplified administrative processes). These conversations could help shape centralized outreach initiatives in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Public Service.
Within the high-priority areas promote coordination and collaboration in ways that draw on the resources and expertise of multiple units, departments, or schools.
One readily identified obstacle to expanding the impact and visibility of public service programs is lack of collaboration, sometimes a natural consequence of a completely decentralized system and at other times the result of conflicting missions on the part of potential collaborating units.
Leadership is an important issue as we consider a more effective and widely appreciated approach to public service at the University of Virginia. While the traditions of decentralization are strong, there may be important advantages in consolidating responsibility in an office or individual for bringing people and resources together around the institutions stated priorities for public service and outreach. If the Office of the Vice President for Research and Public Service is to be responsible for fostering greater collaboration among units engaged in overlapping or complementary activities, its authority, resources, and responsibilities must be clearly defined. Models for coordinating, delivering, and publicizing outreach services in each of the high priority areas need to be developed.
We believe, for example, that our outreach to K-12 schools has benefited in recent years from closer coordination between the Curry School of Education, Continuing Education, the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, and other units engaged in working on K-12 education. The benefits of closer collaboration among units is clearly demonstrated through the work of the National Center for State and National Programs for Educators based in Continuing Education, which served more than 7,400 public school educators in 199899. The institution must find ways to further support and encourage such collaboration in this area. With the scholarly expertise of faculty throughout the University, a nationally ranked School of Education (13th by U.S. News and World Report), and a network of regional continuing education centers across the Commonwealth, the University is well-placed to become the leading state university to offer advanced training for teachers, assistance with curriculum development, and support in responding to changing educational needs. Indeed, U.Va. already provides more support to K-12 schools and teachers than any other university in the Commonwealth yet weve done little as an institution to promote or celebrate this achievement.
Expand our existing presence across the Commonwealth through more vigorous support of Universitys regional centers.
While Continuing Education has a physical presence in each major region of the Commonwealth, its ability to serve as a conduit for University resources and expertise in response to emerging public needs is severely constricted by its mandate to be self-supporting. The expectations of University faculty and administrators as to the impact the University can and should have in various regions of the state and the role Continuing Education and other units responsible for effecting that impact need to be articulated. This includes defining the authority, responsibility, and resources required by those schools and units to achieve the goals within each region. These components should be included in the University-wide statement described above.
Maximize communication efforts to improve impact.
We believe we must aggressively publicize University contributions to public life within the framework of the high-priority areas. Such communications need to be coordinated through a central office and should take a variety of forms, including print publications, media coverage, web site development, and seminars or town meetings. A thematic approach developed by the Commission should be used consistently in all communications relating to public service and outreach. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Public Service could provide a centralized source for such communications, working collaboratively with other units, such as University Relations.
Review the effectiveness of centrally supported public service and outreach efforts regularly.
We must also provide for ongoing review and evaluation of our public service and outreach efforts as frequently as every five years. Such a review process will ensure that we are addressing Commonwealth concerns as they change. The Commission needs to recommend a process for this ongoing review and the ways in which resources will be tied to the review process. As before, examples from peer institutions will be helpful in this respect.
We believe it is important to permit other public service activities to continue even though they might not contribute to the high impact areas. Public service activities which may appear to be in fringe areas today could become priorities in the next decade. The ongoing review process would ensure that resources are targeted to the areas of greatest impact and that our programs could be flexible as needs change.
Examples of Current Public Service and Outreach
In spring 1999, the full commission adopted as its working definition of public service:
The Strategic Planning Group used this definition to compile a list of current activities that apply the knowledge and resources of the University to improve public life. The parameters for distinguishing public service and outreach activities from other institutional functions are difficult to define. For the purposes of this initial inventory, we included:
This inventory does not include research projects that may be of interest to the public or may have an impact on public life when those projects or their results are not accessible to the general public.
The following examples illustrate some of the Universitys current efforts in each of the proposed high-priority areas.
ECONOMIC WELL-BEING/WORKFORCE TRAINING
Draft Report of the Exploratory Group on Volunteer Service
November 1, 1999
Group members: Virginia Collins, John Echeverri-Gent, Cindy Frederick, Nancy Gansneder, Frank Griffiths, Dolly Prenzel, Penny Rue, Jack Syer, Dave Wilkinson, and Les Williams
I. Rationale for Volunteer Service in the Commission's report
Volunteer Service is a fundamental aspect of the public service provided by the University. Through volunteer service, the University's faculty, staff, and students provide a valuable and remarkably extensive contribution to our community welfare. Each year more than 3000 students and untold members of the faculty and staff contribute volunteer service. Their service gives eloquent testimony to the University's social leadership and commitment. It helps to dispel the misleading elitist image that some attribute to the University. Volunteer service is a sector where a very modest infusion of University funds can make a big difference in University's contribution to the community, the improvement of the University's image in the community, and the learning experience gained by students as part of their comprehensive education.
II. Position of Associate Dean for Volunteer Service
In the proposals below, we elaborate the need for additional staff to coordinate volunteer service efforts at the University. In particular, we contend that additional staff is needed to assist in collecting data concerning the volunteer service of the members of the University community, to coordinate activities with the volunteer service activities of the alumni, to promote and coordinate service-learning, and to provide support for student volunteer service activities. We recommend that the position of Associate Dean for Volunteer Service be established to meet these needs.
III. Collecting Data on Volunteer Service
We need better mechanisms for collecting data on volunteer service at the University. The Virginia Service Coalition, an alliance of students dedicated to coordinating student volunteer activities, along with Madison House, has begun the job of collecting data on student volunteer service. However, there is need to further develop their efforts. For the University faculty, the only available means of data collection are the annual activity reports. As they are now constituted, these subordinate volunteer and community service to research and teaching, and they conflate community and academic service. Furthermore, there is no means to aggregate information about faculty volunteer activities into a comprehensive database. Finally, there is no instrument for collecting and aggregating information about the community service of staff. We recommend:
1) The University provide some staff support to help the Virginia Service Coalition to collect data on student volunteer activities. This support might be part of the responsibilities of the additional staff person recommended below.
Faculty activity reports be modified to more accurately report community service.
3) Some arrangement be made for compiling data concerning faculty volunteer activities into a data base.
The development of an instrument for collecting and collating information about the nature and quantity of staff community service.
IV. Recognition of Volunteer Service
In line with the recommendations of the Exploratory Group on Compensation, we recommend new measures to recognize the community service of the members of the University. In addition to enhancing incentives to participate in community service, many forms of recognition publicize the service provided by the University to the broader community. In particular, we recommend that four forms of recognition be considered:
1) The president of the University give an award for most innovative community service activity each year. The award might be known as the "President's Cup".
2) Holding a public service awards dinner to be hosted by the President with a celebrity speaker renowned for her community service.
3) The University take out an advertisement in the Daily Progress announcing the awards or possibly listing all those members of the University whom have contributed a certain level of community service.
4) The President include a statement about the University's community service in his State of the University Address.
V. Alumni, Development, and Volunteer Service
Promoting community service among the University's alumni offers a great opportunity to advance the University's interests. Community service has the potential to energize many alumni chapters as well as extending the reach of the University into society. There are also possibilities of coordinating alumni community service with that of students and faculty to enhance the efficacy of the University's community service activities. The Alumni Association has already taken the initiative in this regard, passing a resolution on October 9 to incorporate public service as a component of the activities of alumni chapters. We feel that it is important to encourage the Alumni Association's efforts, and we suggest the following actions should also be considered:
1) Create a link from the public service page to alumni page and make certain that the Alumni Association web page has a link to the University Public Service Database. This should encourage coordination among interested alumni, faculty, students, and staff.
2) Promote measures to take advantage of possible synergies between alumni and student activities. For instance, as part of Madison House's Alternative Spring Break students travel to sites across the commonwealth and throughout the world to perform a week's community service. Coordination of such student efforts with local alumni chapters might make the project more effective. Student enthusiasm might energize local alumni. Local alumni involvement would also improve the University's image in these communities. At Notre Dame, local alumni chapters sponsor a student to perform community service over the summer, a difficult transition period for many community organizations that lose their student volunteers.
3) Consider ways to make the expertise of the faculty available to alumni chapters. This might involve either ensuring that the University's speaker's bureau has information on faculty that would be relevant to community service, or possibly creating a separate "volunteer bureau" that would maintain a database on faculty expertise relevant to community service and possibly serve as a clearing house for alumni inquiries. Such an arrangement might be especially helpful in areas such as medical care where the University can contribute practical skills in addition to speakers.
VI. Volunteer Service and the Public Service Web Page
1) Volunteer service is an especially dynamic sector that will require keeping close tabs upon if the inventory of activities is to be kept up to date. As a consequence, we recommend that the advisory board of the Public Service Web Page include at least one representative from the volunteer service sector. Indeed it may make sense to include a student representative who is knowledgeable about student volunteer activities as well as a faculty/staff representative.
2) Since volunteer service is a distinctive category of activity it would be especially useful to have a separate search capacity for volunteer service activities included in the Public Service Web Page.
VII. Service-learning Initiative
A. Service-learning is a pedagogical strategy to augment in class room teaching with experiential learning through community service. Although the Education School has service-learning opportunities and there was a recent initiative in Arts and Science, the University is well behind the leading innovators in this field. Our group recommends that we explore the feasibility of implementing a service-learning initiative. We have formed a sub group to examine this issue. The subgroup will take the lead in completing the following activities by the end of this academic year.
1) Consider how we might coordinate a service-learning initiative with the University related organizations currently involved in community service so as to build on the capabilities that the University already possesses.
2) Identify faculty who are likely to be interested in service-learning including: those who currently use field experience in their pedagogy; those whose fieldwork has focused on under-serviced populations; and those who themselves engage in community service. One way data might be assembled is through examining course catalogues.
3) Conduct an e-mail survey of undergraduate students involved with community service at the University to:
a) Document the level of student interest in service-learning
b) Solicit student suggestions concerning faculty that
might be interested in developing a service-learning initiative
c) Collect other suggestions concerning service-learning especially in regards to how service-learning can complement their learning experience at the University
4) Obtain materials about the development of service-learning syllabi from the American Association for Higher Education. The Cooper Center has agreed to provide the support necessary to acquire these materials.
5) Hold a meeting with interested faculty during the spring semester to ascertain faculty interest, suggestions, and support for service-learning. We plan to ask the Commission and the Office of the President -- which recently has voiced its support for service-learning --to sponsor the meeting.
6) Investigate how to institutionalize a "service-learning credit option," that would grant an additional course credit for supplementary learning exercises involving the experience of community service. We intend to hold individual meetings with the Registrar, Academic Deans, and the President of the Faculty Senate to build support for this initiative.
B. Ultimately, we intend to develop a proposal for administrative supportto implement the service-learning credit and the development of service-learning courses designed to incorporate the experience of community service into their pedagogical strategy. We hope that this proposal would make use of the expertise already in place at the University and minimize the extra administrative duties that service-learning might impose on faculty since these extra responsibilities often serve as a disincentive discouraging faculty from adopting pedagogical strategies based on service-learning. Our recommendations will likely involve:
1) The institutionalization of a service-learning credit
2) The provision of development grants for courses with a service-learning component to provide interested faculty with the opportunity to develop service-learning courses during the summer.
3) Development of a Summer Institute on Integrating Community Service and Curriculum. A primary function of the Institute would to be to convene weeklong conference on key issues in service-learning. Recipients of course development grants along with other interested faculty would be invited to attend. Those faculty who are not recipients of course development grants would be compensated for the time that they spend at the Institute.
4) Allocating responsibility to the new position of Associate Dean for Volunteer Service to assist the faculty with service-learning courses by serving as a resource helping to match demand for experiential learning with community needs.
VIII. Increased support for student volunteer service activities
A. The great success of student volunteer service is one of the hidden secrets of the University. Few outside of the University realize that more than 3000 UVA students contribute to the community through volunteer service each year. This past year has seen the development of the Virginia Service Coalition which serves as a coordinating mechanism for most of the student volunteer service organizations on the grounds. The dynamism and constant infusion of new persons into student organizations creates special needs. This is an area where the University can make a major impact with a minimal investment. We recommend that the University extend support to student volunteer organizations in the following manners:
1) Office space. Student community service groups need office space
on the grounds. It would be especially beneficial if the groups could have their offices together since this would facilitate the potential synergies among the student groups. One idea that has surfaced is to provide student organizations with space by renting the basement floor of Madison House.
2) Tool-shed. Student volunteer service often requires an array of tools but because of student turnover and a lack of interorganizational coordination, tools are often in short supply. A central tool shed would alleviate this problem. The University might donate some tools to fill the shed, but student groups could also solicit donations from the community. If student offices are centrally located at Madison House, then it would make sense to locate the tool-shed there as well. Madison House already has a tool-shed that might be used or expanded if need be.
3) Office Supplies. The University can make a valuable contribution to student community service organizations by providing financial support for their office supplies, especially publicity materials.
4) Staff. Student groups would benefit from the provision for administrative staff at the rank of associate dean to provide them for support. The Associate Dean for Public Service would provide continuity that would minimize the losses that result from the high annual turnover of student organizations. S/he would develop knowledge of and relations with faculty and thus encourage their involvement. The Associate Dean would serve as a liaison between student organizations and the University administration. S/he would promote coordination between the University and on-going student volunteer service organizations such as Madison House and develop contacts within the community to facilitate coordination between student initiatives and community needs.
5) Transportation. The University could greatly facilitate the community service efforts of students by providing for their transportation to community service sites. At Georgetown, student organizations were collectively provided with a fleet of vans. We intend to investigate possible legal complications, such as insurance liability, in order to develop this proposal a proposal for ways in which the University can provide a means of transportation to student volunteers.
Interim Report of the 2020 Public Service Commission
Working Group on Faculty Rewards for Public Service Activities
17th September, 1999
Working group members: Robert Hull (Chair), Rich DeMong, Betsy Flanagan, Jim Kennan, Marcus Martin, Bob Novak, Kathy Thornton
The goal of the subcommittee is to develop an initial set of recommendations for ensuring appropriate faculty recognition and reward for public service activities
The four critical elements of a strategy for encouraging and supporting significant public service activities by individual faculty member are:
Public Service as a Professional Opportunity for Faculty
Public service should be emphasized as an additional opportunity for faculty members to contribute to the overall university mission, in addition to conventional teaching and research activities. It is critical that the concept of public service be clearly defined, and differentiated from university service (committees) and professional service (society membership, conference organization etc).
In most Schools and Colleges, contributions in the public service arena are currently regarded as, at best, a "junior partner" with respect to contributions in teaching and research. This is perhaps inevitable, given the present lack of recognition for public service activities. To combat this, we propose establishing mechanisms for institutionalizing recognition of public service activities. An example of such a mechanism would be the establishment of a dual ladder for faculty professional development. In the traditional ladder, which represents the status quo, faculty members are evaluated primarily according to their contributions to teaching and research activities, with a greatly reduced secondary emphasis on "service". (Note that in many areas of the university "service" focuses upon activities internal to the university, rather than external to the community). In the proposed dual ladder model, an additional opportunity will be offered whereby faculty opt to identify service in combination with either research or teaching as their primary activities, with the remaining activity being of secondary importance in evaluating the individuals contributions. This would offer an exciting (even re-vitalizing) opportunity for many members of the faculty. The choice of which ladder to follow should not be irrevocable, and could change several times during an individuals career according to opportunity and enthusiasm.
Each school would be expected to develop and implement a mechanism for formal recognition of public service activities (either the dual ladder model above, or an alternative system), according to their needs, their strengths, and their mission.
Faculty members will need to be convinced that they will be appropriately rewarded if they devote significant fractions of their time to public service activities. In addition, it is critical that contributions to the public service mission of the university not be (or be perceived to be) detrimental to an individuals success in the promotion and tenure process, but rather that such contributions be regarded as an integral and important component of a successful case. Finally, peer recognition of public service activities is likely to be very important. To ensure that these goals are met, it is necessary that a process be established such that contributions to the public service mission be in the interest of the department and school, as well as the individual.
To achieve the above, we recommend the following measures:
Achievement in public service, by its nature, is more difficult to quantify than contributions to teaching (quantifiable through student evaluations, credit hours taught etc.) and research (overhead dollars generated, number of publications etc.) It will thus require commitment from faculty, department chairs and deans for effective evaluation. We propose that the contributions of faculty within a given school or college who choose public service as a "major" component of their annual activity (i.e. choose the "public service ladder" described above) be evaluated by a faculty committee of that school or college. The mean salary raise given to that group of faculty who adopt public service as a primary activity should be equivalent to that group of faculty who do not exercise that option.
For these initiatives to succeed, it is critical that a significant majority of the faculty approve of the concept of placing public service contributions on a par with teaching and research activities, and that there be broad discussion and opportunity for suggesting improvements to the proposals outlined in this document. There will also need to be support (or, at a minimum, acceptance) by department heads, deans, vice-presidents, the provost and the president. In particular, we believe that it is critical that the senior university leadership affirm their commitment to the public service concept, and demonstrate a willingness to commit resources. We therefore envisage the following process for developing these proposals, and for building support.
We need to emphasize the great opportunities these proposals present to the faculty, departments, schools and the university:
Top Ten Benchmark Findings
University of Virginia Public Service & Outreach
Based on surveys, interviews, literature reviews, and conference visits, here are ten key findings about us in relation to peer institutions. Benchmark institutions of particular note are provided.
1. -- The magnitude of our public service and outreach efforts is surprising. Every school is engaged and every county in the Commonwealth is served directly by University of Virginia programs. We compare well to institutions far better known for meeting public needs and for their role within their state.
2. -- The volume, variety and impact of these projects are not well known to us or to our public.
3. -- We lack the university-wide communication structure and media tools to convey our services to the public (Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech).
4. -- For the purposes of faculty rewards, we separate public service from the categories of research and teaching rather than assess it within those central missions. This practice diminishes its value. We should assess and integrate this application of scholarship (public service) within our assessment of research and teaching (Wisconsin).
5. -- We do not evaluate the quality and impact of our public service and outreach programs although such measures are available (Michigan, Michigan State).
6. -- We do not recognize public service with endowed chairs or other awards the way we do research and teaching (UNC-Chapel Hill, Michigan), although we have chair holders who have distinguished themselves in this arena.
7. -- We should require an academically based service experience for every student at the University of Virginia. Most students in the eight professional schools already have this, and there is growing evidence of the educational benefits of this requirement to Arts & Sciences undergraduates (Georgetown, Penn). The majority of our undergraduate students enters the University with a strong background in volunteer service and would value this professional service experience. In addition, the visibility of this university-wide requirement would benefit external relations.
8. -- We appear to be centralized with a Vice President for Research and Public Service, but the budget, staffing, and reporting lines for this office must be changed to adequately coordinate these activities (Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech).
9. -- We need to do more listening in order to improve our collaboration and needs assessment, especially with our local partnerships and community relations (Duke, Penn, UNC-Chapel Hill).
10. -- Universities are organized by disciplines and public needs are interdisciplinary. An integrated, multi-disciplinary approach runs counter to the governance, organizational, budget, and cultural world of the current model of universities. This is the biggest obstacle for us and all our benchmark institutions.