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To: Members of the Public Service and Outreach Commission

We are compiling the phrases and thoughts from the wall sheets of our February 23 retreat. While we are spending time creating language to reflect a vision for public service in the year 2020, I want to inform and remind you of other actions that are running concurrently to inform our planning recommendations. There are numerous examples of related and relevant work being done by members of our commission and others throughout the university. I will omit many important contributions and names in the following statements, but I want to convey some of the progress that is occurring as we all move forward in the final planning stages for public service and outreach.

Individuals such as Louise Dudley, Ida Lee Wootten, Laura Hawthorne, Betsy Flanagan, and Bob Sweeney are exploring ways to position this institution with messages that more clearly convey who we are and what we are doing ("brand" positioning) and with the development of new tools and strategic plans for communication. Individuals such as Jack Syer, Dolly Prenzel, Nancy Rivers, and Sondra Stallard continue to talk to external groups in ways that help our assessment of what various public constituents want and need. In the area of technology, almost everyone is feeling new effects and directions, and folks such as Bob Reynolds, Hal Burbach, Jay Lemons, and Karin Wittenborg are examples of strong advocates for new partnerships and directions. As we enter the final months of this phase of the Commission, our challenge will be to acknowledge and incorporate the progress of these and other areas into our final recommendations.

Meanwhile, within our Commission, two of our exploratory groups -- External Relations chaired by John Thomas, and Volunteer Services chaired by John Echeverri-Gent -- are continuing to move forward with actions that will inform our final report. We will hear brief updates from them at our March 8 meeting.

We continue also to communicate the work of our Commission in many ways in order to broaden our audiences and enrich our final product. Laura continues her excellent work on the database and web site, which will go "live" in a few weeks. Our commission is described in a number of publications, such as the newest issue of Albemarle magazine (February-March 2000) and our own Cavalier Daily and Inside UVA. Many of us are formally and informally talking with deans, faculty, colleagues, staff, alumni, students, neighbors, and others about their views on our recommendations and directions.

Finally, let me report an additional recent action relating to fiscal planning. Last week, I was asked to estimate costs of preliminary recommendations to provide a "placeholder" estimate in the University’s budget process. For the period 2000-2005, I projected recommendations from our exploratory groups and preliminary discussions, including faculty distinguished professorships and awards, venture funds to match private and government funding opportunities, student service learning opportunities, a strategic communications campaign, special events to showcase and nurture community and commonwealth public service, the creation of thematic institutes, and increased staffing and infrastructure to coordinate the University’s strategic approach to public service.

The recommendations from all the commissions were solicited quickly with no time for full commission input, and were viewed as tentative with the understanding that none of the commissions were at a point of consensus and finality. We will not be "held" to any of these precise recommendations. The important point is that the current University planning process is asking for the fiscal implications of our recommendations. Although this request was compiled prematurely and should not be regarded as fixed, the estimated range at this time for public service and outreach was $25-50 million.

If you have any questions regarding these actions, please let me know. I will be happy to elaborate on these and others at our next Commission meeting, Wednesday, March 8 at noon in 389 Newcomb Hall.

I also want to solicit your help. We need two additional volunteers to serve in a subgroup that is designing our final process, and two volunteers to serve in a subgroup for writing/editing the final report. Let me know if you have any time to devote to either of these tasks.

Thanks, Rebecca

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