REPORT OF THE FACULTY SENATE TASK FORCE COMMITTEE ON THE FACULTY'S ROLE IN PERFORMING SERVICE
There are two major sections to this report. The introductory section describes the committee's charge and procedures, a definition of service, and a brief description of many of the service activities at the University of Virginia. The second section presents the committee's recommendations in the areas of recognition and value, documentation and dissemination, and improvements and new emphasis.
Charge and Procedures of the Committee
The Faculty Senate Task Force Committee on the Faculty's Role in Performing service was charged with examining the many ways service currently is being offered and performed by faculty at the University, studying the ways these service activities are being communicated, and making specific suggestions for improvement of both the service itself as well as the methods of communicating that service to the University community, to state government, and to the public at large.
For its review of current service activities, the committee relied on numerous documents and reports. These documents are available in a separate addendum to this report. A few of these reports, although somewhat outdated, were ambitious attempts to survey service activities of the faculty (e.g., the Report of the University Self-Study Committee on Continuing Education, Institutes, and other Outreach Activities (1986); and Resources for Business & Industry (1987) prepared by the Task Force on University-Industry Relations for President O'Neil). The fact that even such comprehensive efforts as these inevitably omit many important service areas clearly demonstrates the difficulties inherent in trying to examine an area with such magnitude and diversity as service efforts by faculty at the University of Virginia.
Members of the committee also interviewed a number of faculty and administrators regarding public service activities at the University. We regret that due to a very tight timeline, we could not conduct a larger sample of interviews, especially since these interviews greatly enriched our discussions.
Finally, our report is the result of our committee discussions. Each member of the committee has a clear and strong connection to public service at the University and brought that history of experiences to bear both on the committee's discussion and in shaping the recommendations in this report.
B. Definition of Service
The concept of service can be defined to include so much that it becomes meaningless. Teaching and research are activities that clearly perform a "service" to the larger community. Faculty efforts in University committee work and administrative positions also are accurately referred to in our annual reports as service. In addition, activities such as conference presentations and participation in professional associations are described as professional service. For the purpose of our charge and this report, however, we believe it is more appropriate to describe service in a way more common to non-university laypersons. To the average Virginian, the tasks of teaching, research, University governance and professional activities are seen as parts of the job we are hired to do. "Service," on the other hand, is typically viewed as the extra outreach efforts members of the University community make to benefit the public. Thus, in spite of the importance of such areas as teaching, research, University committee and administrative work, and professional tasks, we have defined the notion of service as it affects the general public -- i.e., "public service."
C. Amount and Impact of Public Service Activities
It is far beyond the scope of this brief report to describe adequately the quantity and impact of public service activities currently taking place throughout the University community. As described in the Draft Plan for the Year 2000,
A few examples clearly illustrate the breadth and diversity of these current public service activities:
1. Outreach efforts and special projects abound in the important K-12 arena
2. In the area of the Health Sciences, numerous examples of service activities
3. In addition to over 200 special centers and institutes, units within the University conduct a number of service activities so large that they permeate almost all areas of the University but are virtually impossible to count. Faculty and students participate in service activities in a variety of ways as the following examples show.
Recommendation 5: The University should create a Clearinghouse for Public Service to provide central information about the public service activities of all units of the University. Faculty should report service activities using the current Effort Certification Report or similar document.
Recommendation 6: The University should increase the methods by which information about faculty public service activities are communicated to state legislators, other state and local officials and the public. In addition to the methods suggested in this report, every project director should see as part of his responsibilities the task of communicating the project's accomplishments to the area's state legislator and local officials.
C. Improvements in and New Emphasis on Public Service
For many years, the University of Virginia has occupied the unique position of being the premier institution in the Commonwealth with a following of loyal supporters throughout the state unmatched by other Virginia colleges and universities. At the same time, the University, with its national prominence, has directed many, if not most, of its public service efforts and publicity toward national and international constituencies rather than to its state constituencies.
There is no question that the University of Virginia is well established as an institution nationally renowned for its research and teaching. Over the past few years, the University has gained ground nationally as it repeatedly appears on Top Ten and Top Twenty lists of colleges and universities in the United States. Where the University has not gained ground, however -- and, indeed, many would argue has lost ground -- has been within the Commonwealth itself.
Demographics have shifted dramatically over the past decade to change the University's position within the Commonwealth. Other state-supported institutions in Virginia have experienced tremendous growth over that decade, and as they have grown, they have focused a larger portion of their public service activities within the Commonwealth. While University faculty have been directing many worthwhile and highly visible activities to a national and international audience, other Virginia universities have developed large, loyal, and powerful state constituencies, especially in the heavily populated areas of Tidewater and Northern Virginia. This committee is not recommending that the faculty "improve" its public service; the quality and quantity of its public service achievements already are at an extraordinarily high level. Instead, this committee is recommending that we faculty redirect a larger portion of our public service energies toward the Commonwealth and the needs of its citizens. We see a clear need to be much more visible in this area and recommend that senior administrators, deans and department chairs provide greater leadership, guidance and incentives to increase state service than we have seen in the past. The University has a great number of outstanding service programs in which national figures are involved. Some of these same programs should be redirected or modified to include and feature participants from the state or to benefit more directly our nearby citizens. For example, the Mayor's Institute on Design in the School of Architecture could serve as a model for a similar institute for Virginia mayors, councilpersons, and supervisors. The Mayors Institute as it is now constituted, is funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and brings in mayors and leading urban designers from all across the United States. A Virginia Mayor's Institute on Design could invite local government officials to discuss similar issues with the design experts in the Architecture School. The University of Virginia already has outstanding centers and governmental relations personnel to direct service efforts and give greater visibility to such efforts in the Commonwealth. The Center for Public Service, for example, has as one of its main missions public service to the state and its people. The problem lies not with these centers, institutes, and the governmental relations office; instead, the problem rests in the fact that we faculty, for the most part, are not aware or involved with such centers. Faculty should be encouraged to be involved, accessible, or, at the very least, informed about the activities of these centers as well as the changing roles of the Division of Continuing Education (DCE). With regard to DCE, we already have a system of seven regional centers throughout the state which are used primarily to deliver credit courses. Although a number of service activities are provided or supported through these centers, we can increase their efforts to broaden their roles as true "service centers" for the University. Combined with greater use of telecommunications, they could provide a major voice for the University throughout the state on issues of local or regional importance.
Recommendation 7: The President, senior administrators, and faculty should commit the next ten years as a decade of an increased public service focus on our state constituencies. This new emphasis should be on greater visibility, greater publicity, and greater participation in public service activities within the Commonwealth.
Recommendation 8: Faculty should increase their participation on Governor's commissions, General Assembly study commissions, state boards and commissions, and other activities within state and local government.
Recommendation 9: Senior administrators should work with the Executive Assistant to the President for State Governmental Relations to identify areas of need where the General Assembly, state and local governments, and the public of the Commonwealth would benefit from increased public service focus by University faculty.
Recommendation 10: The President should establish a speakers bureau for faculty to be available throughout the Commonwealth to describe relevant research and public service activities to civic organizations and community groups.
Among the five General Assumptions in the University's Draft Plan for the Year 2000 is "That service to the larger community is essential to the University's future vitality." After studying the area of service, this committee applauds the degree to which University faculty and administrators devote their efforts to public service. The main purpose of this report is to suggest ways in which these efforts can be more visible and of even greater value to both the University and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ms. Rebecca Dailey Kneedler, Chair, Curry School of Education
Mr. Robert Collin, School of Architecture
Dr. Sharon L. Hostler, Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center
Mr. Bernard A. Morin, McIntire School of Commerce
Mr. John R. Redick, Division of Continuing Education