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Interim Report from Administrative Structures and Resources Exploratory Group, Carolyn Engelhard

Who We Are

Ben Boggs, Carolyn Engelhard, Ed Kitch, Rebecca Kneedler, Jay Lemons, Sondra Stollard.


To understand how public service and outreach is currently viewed and structured at UVA, and to promulgate recommendations that will align administrative structures with the university’s mission regarding public service.

Guiding Exploratory Questions

  1. How can UVA’s explicit mission statements regarding public service be implemented more systematically and visibly at UVA?
  2. What is the current public service administrative structure? Group reviewed U.Va. organizational chart and highlighted offices/individuals with responsibility for public service activities and their respective reporting lines. Conclusion: the only individual/office central to those reporting lines is the president.

    History of the Office of VP for Research and Public Service

    How does our administrative structure compare with our benchmark institutions?

  3. Are funds currently earmarked for public service in the state budget? What are the impacts of federal or state grants/contracts?
  4. Is public service considered a state budget program or an accounting activity? Current accounting practices make tracking public service funding extremely difficult, if not impossible. While some account codes are labeled "public service" in the accounting system, these do not begin to reflect the scope of actual programs and initiatives.

    Do federal, state, and private grants/contracts drive the content of public service activities?

    How do political variables constrain or encourage public service activities?

  5. What administrative structures exist throughout the institution to support public service, and what activities compete for resources?

Dueling definitions/perceptions of public service Because "public service" can be defined differently in different contexts, making it particularly difficult to discuss and plan strategically. Do we mean promotion and tenure? Fund raising? Public relations? Who are our constituencies? Public service means everything from working with the General Assembly, to student and staff volunteer activities, to faculty contributions of expertise.

Vertical and horizontal fragmentation in reporting lines

Presence/Lack of explicit incentives & support

Communication problems: inconsistent or inadequate messages regarding the importance of public service.

Planned Actions and Deliverables

  1. Define current administrative structures and resources; compare benchmark institutions.
  2. Interface with and collect information from other exploratory groups to the extent their recommendations include administrative and structural changes.
  3. Weave recommendations from other exploratory groups into coherent vertical and horizontal organizational structure as part of the recommendations of the final report.

Discussion of Report

On funding public service:

  1. In estimating the funds we dedicate to support public service, the accounting system wouldn’t be a feasible approach. Instead, we can look at the inventory from the vice president’s office and use that to collect information on budget estimates. We really need approximate figures. Precision not important.
  2. Should the University earmark funds for public service? Could we establish a primary and secondary mission, with the first supported by the University and the second "following the money"?
  3. How are indirect costs distributed? The Commission on Science and Technology has prepared an issue paper outlining the use of indirect costs. Would be helpful if we had access to a copy.
  4. How do we best explore institution-wide funding? Federal relations? Cutting across schools with common themes?
  5. Vice president for research and public service could be logical center for bringing together those individuals or units that are dedicated to public service to talk and compare notes. The exploratory group’s report includes an organizational chart for the University with "public service" individuals highlighted.
  6. The Administrative Structures and Resources Group requests that conveners of the other four exploratory groups identify the action items in their reports which need to be addressed by this group.


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