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Science and Technology Commission Meeting Minutes

February 23, 1999

Attendees: Anita Jones (chair), David Allis, Janis Antonovics, Don Brown, Suzanne Farnsworth, Ian Harrison, John Herr, Jack Hudson, Stephanie Johnson, Bob Jones, Dick Merrill, Gary Owens, Karen Parshall, Sally Parsons, Dennis Proffitt, Tom Skalak, Kevin Sullivan, Gene Block (ex-officio), Erik Hewlett (ex-officio), Dick Sundberg (ex-officio), Haydn Wadley (ex-officio). Staff: Denise Karaoli (VA 2020 project director), Amy Cronin (asst. to the president), Peggy Reed (asst. to Anita Jones).


Meeting Summary:

The commission met with President Casteen, who described the reasoning behind the planning initiatives and the choice of the particular four areas of focus. Mr. Casteen stated that the outcomes of the planning process will help to discipline the University’s spending in the years following the current fund raising campaign. The four areas chosen historically have been underfunded at U.Va. and yet show great promise for advancement. In discussing the charge to the S&T commission, Mr. Casteen noted that he wants the group to identify priorities for both the near-term (five years) and the long-term (20 years). He encouraged the commission not to avoid exploring areas of weakness, and said that he does not view this as a zero-sum game.

Mr. Casteen noted that no other public institution that took cuts in the last decade rose in the rankings as we did. He attributes this to the ability of the faculty to identify and attract resources. Mr. Casteen encouraged the commission to establish benchmarks by looking at peer groups – which programs are one or two tiers above us, and which are in the optimal peer group we hope to reach? He noted that there will be different targets for different programs. Mr. Casteen explained that the commission plans ultimately will be used to set priorities for the budget and for future fund raising, just as the Plan for the Year 2000 was the blueprint for the current campaign. He stated that unless we come up with a unique case to be made to the state, our funding will be driven by average increases for all institutions in future state budgets.

Mr. Casteen acknowledged that science and technology will require substantial funding in order to make incremental changes. He noted that our campaign has been unusual in its emphasis on academic programs, rather than athletics and capital needs. Success in fund raising for priorities emerging from the commissions will depend on our ability to show potential donors that we have planned well.

Mr. Casteen closed his remarks by stating that he does not have a preconceived notion of what the specific outcomes of the commission’s work should be. He encouraged the group to put together a plan that will be tough for the next planning group – ten or more years from now – to pick apart.


Discussion Topics:

  • Remarks by President Casteen on charge to commission; reasoning behind planning process; funding challenges and opportunities for science and technology
  • Open discussion with commission members


Action Items:

  • Explore budget issues, especially use of research overhead (Obtain from Budget Office, H. Wadley).


Next Meeting:

Tuesday, March 9, 7:30-9:00 a.m., Newcomb Hall Room 389

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