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Synopsis of S&T Committee Education Report #1

David Allis Biochemistry/Microbiology cda2d@virginia.edu

Janis Antonovics Biology ja8n@virginia.edu

Ian Harrison Chemistry ah8t@virginia.edu

Stephanie Johnson Environmental Sciences (Grad. Student) sej2e@virginia.edu

Gary Owens Physiology/Director M.D./Ph.D. Program gko@virginia.edu

Denny Proffitt Psychology/Cognitive Sciences drp@virginia.edu

Anita Jones' initial summary of our group's subject matter was:


Education -- Undergraduate and Graduate.

Science and technology development is proceeding at a very fast pace. How do we educate students to succeed?

What are we training BS, MS and PhD students for in the 21st Century?

How will the University deliver life-long learning?

How will UVa educate students (independent of major) to be literate in science & technology?



The committee suggested improvements in,


1. Student Recruitment: Enroll higher quality students and increase the number of graduate students. Increase diversity.


2. Training and Education/Scholarly Culture: Facilitate the establishment and maintenance of interdisciplinary programs. Actively encourage graduate enrollment and faculty teaching of advanced graduate coursework. Improve faculty-student scholarly interactions through shared departmental lounges and activities.


3. Undergraduate Research Involvement: Encourage undergraduate research and eliminate cultural barriers towards recruiting UVa undergraduates into our graduate programs.


4. Student Placement and Career Preparation: Establish active feedback between the users of our products, companies, and our faculty to improve the placement and career preparation of our students. Explore development possibilities with the companies involved.


5. Community Knowledge: Establish on the www a searchable index of faculty research interests, expertise, and available specialized equipment or techniques. Publicize student and faculty research successes. Create a searchable S&T alumni database.



S&T Committee Education Report #2


Strategic Areas in S&T Education/Training for the Next Millennium


  1. Information/Educational Technology and Distance Learning:
  2. A key educational challenge will be to determine how we can provide a broad foundation of training in science and technology, as well as outstanding in-depth training in an area of focus in the face of an overwhelming mass of "essential" information.

    An important premise for S&T education in the next millennium is that single modest sized institutions such as our own may lack (i) the capability to teach at a high level in all required areas and (ii) the numbers of students required to justify teaching highly specialized courses. For these reasons we should consider innovative partnerships with sister institutions both within the state of Virginia, and elsewhere to accomplish our educational goals. Consider creating workshops and short courses for students, alumni, and industrial and national lab S&T workers.

  3. Translation of Research Knowledge to a Product:

We are entering an era where the frequency with which basic research findings are translated into a product is rapidly increasing. As such, an absolutely critical skill for our graduates will be to be able to make the bridge between basic research and production of a commercial product. To enhance this we need to create opportunities for more frequent internships in industry, and need to obtain better feedback from industry regarding the quality of our graduates. We also need more involvement with individuals with industrial experience in curriculum design and teaching. We should have new initiatives to try to recruit individuals with industrial experience to our faculty and make better use of our alumni connections. Finally, we believe that our curriculum should incorporate more training in administration, economics, and personnel management than in the past, since science today is a much more complex enterprise than in the past. This should incorporate courses that teach our students fundamentals regarding intellectual property rights, the patenting licensing process, and product development.



Potential Umbrella Tactic:

Establish something along the lines of an,


"Alumni Center for Graduate Education, Outreach, and Distance Learning"

to be housed in a dedicated building with a large and amorphously defined endowment.

We could use the Center to,

° co-ordinate/establish short courses and workshops at the Center & elsewhere.

° sell prospective graduate students on specialized short courses for immediate launching of their research activities.

° bring in visiting teaching faculty/scientists/alumni who would provide a transient critical mass of specialized expertise on grounds or elsewhere on a regularly scheduled basis.

° provide attractive teaching resources and facilities for graduate students. Opportunities to interact with alumni and non-academic S&T workers, here and elsewhere.

°provide funding for: a) Graduate Fellowships, Tuition Differentials, Upper Year Course Tuition, Graduate Student Healthcare, etc.

b) mounting/developing courses on the WWW for distance learning.

c) integration of alumni and industrial S&T workers into our educational programs both as teachers and students.




What is the competition doing? Stanford has funded a $200 million dollar S&T Graduate Fellowship program (http://www.stanford.edu/dept/DoR/Fellows/) which is currently stealing the top students away from the likes of Cornell, etc. We can’t think small if we are to truly succeed in recruiting better students…



Short Term Initiatives:


1) Graduate Student Recruitment through Departmental Web Site Development

Gene Block’s office and Bob Husky have volunteered some funds to establish a pilot program to see how web sites influence graduate student recruitment. Departments interested in participating would provide matching funds to hire a web site developer for several months duration. Bob Burnett would orchestrate the program.

e.g. Chemistry recently hired a graduate student from CS with the aim to make its website more similar in look & feel to that of CS.



2) Enhance Scholarly Community:

"Jefferson Scholars - Sabbaticals on the Lawn"?

The idea would be to bring world class S&T scholars to UVa and house them in a Pavilion on the Lawn. Interestingly, these Pavilions are currently rented out by the Board of Visitors to University Administrators at $700/month for a 4-5 bedroom, 3-4 floor Pavilion. Hence, for very little cost to the University one or more of these Pavilions might be reallocated to visiting faculty "Jefferson Scholars". We’d hope to attract high profile people who would give some public lectures, and be committed to interacting with students and faculty in ways we should define. We’d probably need to offer some stipend money in addition to housing. The idea could be brought up at the next Board of Visitors meeting in mid-August.


3) Healthcare for Graduate Students—Probably difficult in the short term.

A new cost of $1.5 – 2 million per year for TAs & RAs across the University would be difficult to wrench from existing resources. Nevertheless, individual depts. and schools are beginning to do this piecemeal on their own.

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