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Public Service and Outreach Commission
Rebecca Kneedler, Chair
Presentation to the Board of Visitors

October 15, 1999

 

  1. Where We Are
  1. We Have Identified the Following Goals and Needs

1.Broader public awareness of public services available through the University of Virginia, especially locally and throughout Virginia ("awareness" includes increased utilization and stronger partnerships).

2.Removal of internal university barriers to public service. These barriers include "visible" items such as administrative structures, reporting and budget lines. In addition, they include attitudinal changes to view service as an academic tool within research and teaching, and to see it as part of the mission and responsibility of every research university in the next decade.

3.Recognition and support for public service, especially service that is performed within the Commonwealth and in partnership with other Virginia institutions.

  1. We Have Identified a Common, Operational Definition -- "Public Service" is the application of scholarly knowledge and professional expertise to the economic, health, civic, and educational needs of the public.
  1. We Are Studying Benchmark Institutions/Aspiration Groups-- Through surveys, interviews, literature reviews, and visits, we are examining Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgetown, Georgia, Michigan, Penn, Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.
  1. We Are Creating An Inventory of UVA -- Working closely with the Coordinator of Public Service, we have identified over 300 public service projects and programs. We have been surprised at the magnitude, variety, and history of these activities. They are present in every school throughout the University, extend services to every county in Virginia, and many have been operating for a decade or two. Areas of particular strengths have emerged, such as health care; service to local governments and civic involvement; and education, particularly services to K-12 students and teachers. We are well ahead of our public and self-perceptions, and we compare better than we had anticipated to our aspiration group of institutions.

 

  1. We Are Creating A New Public Service Web Gateway and Searchable Database -- Working closely with the Coordinator of Public Service, we are creating a retrievable database of programs, resources, and services organized around geographical regions, interest areas, and special audiences. This will be available to the public in spring, 2000.

 

  1. We Are Working in Five Exploratory Groups -- In order to study in greater depth, we have organized around the following issues. The groups have also been meeting informally with additional individuals and focus groups regarding public needs and these topics.

1. University-wide Strategic Planning
2. Public Relations and Communication
3. Administrative Organizations and Structure
4. Volunteer Services
5. Faculty Rewards and Recognition

 II. Where We’re Going

  1. Fall, 1999 -- Using data collected about our University and the benchmark institutions, we are gathering consensus on recommendations within the Commission and creating implementation strategies. We will continue to meet informally with internal and external groups to assess needs and recommendations.
  1. Spring, 2000 -- The Commission will meet more formally with groups to modify and refine recommendations and implementation strategies. Groups will include local and statewide citizens, alumni, students, legislators, faculty, administrators, Board of Visitor members, and staff in many areas (special tasks with development staff, technology staff, and communications staff).
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