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Science & Technology Planning Commission
Meeting Minutes
April 6, 1999

Attendees: Anita Jones (chair), John Bean, Ian Harrison, John Herr, Stephanie Johnson, Bob Jones, Dick Merrill, Sally Parsons, Dennis Proffitt, Tom Skalak, Gene Block (ex officio), Erik Hewlett (ex officio), Dick Sundberg (ex officio), Haydn Wadley (ex officio). Staff: Amy Cronin (asst. to the president), Peggy Reed (asst. to Ms. Jones), Sagé Blaska (Virginia 2020 project assistant), Jeffrey Plank (director of corporate and foundation relations), Fariss Samarrai (science writer, University Relations).

Meeting Summary

The commission completed its review of the Vital Statistics package that provides background information on the status of science and technology activities at the University. Ms. Jones noted that the goal is to look at data wherever possible in the course of the commission’s work. The group had previously examined data on research funding. In review, Ms. Jones noted that such funding is essentially equal among the three schools – SEAS, Arts and Sciences, and Medicine (excluding clinical departments). She also pointed out that the research award per FTE faculty member is low in many areas, noting that in computer science the national standard is $500,000, whereas the average at U.Va. is $250,000.

This meeting’s review focused on enrollments and staff in the various science and technology departments (undergraduate and graduate). There was a marked increase in undergraduate enrollment between 1993-94 and 1995-96, most of which occurred in the biology department. Much of this change is student-driven, perhaps due to a rise in interest in the pre-medical program.

In the discussion of staffing, Mr. Sundberg asked how many of the research staff are dedicated to a particular project, as opposed to those that are generally assigned to a department. This will give a better sense of project funding versus departmental infrastructure. Dr. Herr further suggested that the commission explore issues of productivity (e.g., papers published, patents).

The commission also considered what information is missing in the Vital Statistics package: financial support for graduate students; benchmarking of interdepartmental research collaborations; admission information (especially on graduate level) – quality of applicants, accepts, those who enroll.

Ms. Jones then reviewed the assignment of commission members to subgroups: 1. Models and Opportunities; 2. Education; 3. Information Technology; and 4. Strategies. The subgroups met briefly to review their charges and determine how they will proceed. Each group is to report to the full commission at the next meeting.

Discussion Topics

  • Vital Statistics
  • Subgroup Assignments

Action Steps

  • Acquire additional data for Vital Statistics package (A. Cronin, P. Reed)
  • Subgroups to meet before 4/20/99 commission meeting (subgroup chairs)

Next Meeting

Tuesday, April 20, 7:30-9:00 a.m., Newcomb Hall Room 389

 

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