December 1, 1997
Present: Dave Stetler (for Bob Bates), Landrum Cross, Eileen Hitchingham, Elyzabeth Holford, Janet Johnson, Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Laurie Coble (for Minnis Ridenour), Ray Smoot, Rich Sorensen, Charles Steger, Jack Osborne (for Bill Stephenson), Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Jenne Ginther, Ben Poe, Cosby Rogers, Larry Shumsky, Terry Swecker, Richard Bambach, Norm Marriott, Paul Metz, Frank Gwazdauskas, Bob Benoit, David de Wolf, Pat Scanlon, Rosemary Goss, Bernard Feldman, Kay Burke, Gerri Johns, Carmela Banks, Spencer Allen (for Terry Lawrence), Peggy Rasnick, Marilyn Norstedt, Nancy Phillips, Ningling Wang, Joel Donahue, Steve Schneider, Tekisha Everette, Moya Toohey, Raphael Castillejo, Duncan Neasham, Natalie Wilson
Absent: Erv Blythe, Greg Brown, Peter Eyre, Len Peters, Robert Brown, Sigrid Gustafson, Terry Herdman, Charles Lytton, Deborah Mayo, Kevin Pelzer, Eliza Tse, John Randolph, James Yardley, Tom Head, Curtis Lynch, Rajiv Khosla
Guests: Marvin Foushee and Wanda Hankins Dean from the Office of University Registrar
A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda as distributed. The motion passed.
Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the November 3, 1997, University Council meeting have been voted on and approved electronically. Once voted upon, University Council minutes can be publicly accessed on the Governance Information System on the WEB.
It was brought to the attention of the Council that a quorum may not have been present. Dr. Rogers will determine which are voting and non-voting members, and will report findings at the next University Council meeting. Ms. Dean, who staffs the Commission, assured Council that a quorum had been present.
A question was raised in regard to the University Athletic Committee presenting a report to Council. Dr. Torgersen agreed that a report should be presented, but did not know what time of year this occurs. He also noted that this is not a report submitted for approval, but a report submitted for information. A follow-up report on this question will be given in January.
Computer Requirement Support Task Force Handout
A handout on the computer requirement, prepared and very well done by Ron Daniel, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, was distributed to Council members.
Dr. Torgersen opened the floor to questions directed to himself or Dr. Meszaros.
A question was addressed in regard to the computer requirement. Is it really a requirement? Is it true that it is not enforceable? Dr. Torgersen commented that what we will attempt to do is to persuade every entering Freshman to have a personal computer. It is required in the sense that we do wish it to be part of the financial aid package, and to that extent, it will be stated as a requirement. It is a requirement in the same sense that textbooks are "required," but we will try to make provisions for exceptions. We are very pleased that State Council for Higher Education has recommended a special scholarship fund just for this initiative. This does not necessarily mean it will get through the General Assembly or be a part of the Governor's budget, but these are the kinds of reactions that are very pleasing. Admission will not be denied to a student who cannot afford a computer. There are still questions that have yet to be addressed.
"Do you have a sense or observation of what the upcoming General Assembly Session will hold?" Dr. Torgersen responded that the state has been doing very well economically. There is a nice surplus building. On the other hand, the Governor has promised over a four or five year period to repeal the car tax which is going to drain significant revenues from that projected surplus. Dr. Torgersen's understanding is that Governor Allen is going to include in his budget a recommendation to the General Assembly to initiate the tax reduction rather than wait a year. There are questions about how much money is available, and priorities. Majority in the House is in balance - vote now is 51 to 48 with 1 independent. Independent is senior member of General Assembly, Lacy Putney from Bedford. Included is a democratic seat, George Heilig's seat in the Virginia Beach area, which is being contested because he won by only 8 votes. They will ask for a recount. If this swings the other way, there will be a 50 to 49 majority with 1 independent. The significance is profound. All of the committee appointments, all the chairs (Chair of Appropriations, Chair of Senate Finance Committee), are handled by the Speaker, who is elected by the General Assembly. That vote could be very close. The current Speaker is Tom Moss from Norfolk, a VT alum.
Commencement - December 19 and 20
George Simmons - Alumni Distinguished Professor, will speak at the Graduate
Jack Dudley - Director, Honors Program, will speak at the Undergraduate Ceremony
Students select a faculty member to be the undergraduate commencement speaker. We have had outstanding undergraduate commencement speakers, including Lucinda Roy, Tony Distler, Bud Robertson. All present have agreed that these appearances have been memorable.
Wanda Dean shared information in regard to Presidential Policy Memorandum 177 and the approved 15 minute break between classes on Monday-Wednesday-Friday. As she had indicated during initial debate, the deadline of Fall 1998 could not be met. The Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies wanted to go forward with that effective date with the understanding that we would comply as resources dictated. The policy in its original form was changed, specifics were removed, and implementation left to the discretion of the Office of the University Registrar. Significant input has been received. On November 10, the Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies was reminded that resources to make such a significant change are very slim. The resources needed are still dedicated to implementing the new academic eligibility policy. In addition, resources are dedicated to the conversion to the year 2000. Computer resources are not available. A good new target would be Fall 2000. Some additional factors will emerge between now and the year 2000 that may affect how we implement Presidential Policy 177. State Council is about to direct all institutions in the Commonwealth to use one software package for scheduling purposes. Their intent is not to dictate how we schedule classes; their intent is to have a standardized method for them to extract information, such as classroom utilization. This is a positive for us because the software package they are promoting is Scheduler 25, which we have one part of and are currently using. SCHEV's directing that all institutions use the complete package of Scheduler 25 we believe will give us more power to implement significant scheduling enhancement. We can schedule by zone, which means we can define zones within the university and address the issue of students who have to take classes in the Ag Quad and have to get to the Upper Quad in ten minutes. It will help to make sure students are not in this situation. Another consideration is the impact of the integrated space plan. Classroom space on the Upper Quad will be gained. This will impact where courses are offered. The ACITC (Advanced Communication Information Technology Center) building will impact courses being taught in Lytton-Reaves. By the year 2000 all of these factors will enable us to make the best implementation of Presidential Policy 177. A question was raised about the ultimate need to fully implement Presidential Policy 177. Dr. Torgersen and Ms. Dean commented that there will be time to revisit Presidential Policy 177 if necessary. A comment was made that class scheduling times, bus scheduling, etc. would need to be considered. Dr. Torgersen commented that classroom occupancy is an issue the state always addresses, because they would like to save money on construction costs. Being an 8-5 university, we do not compare as well as the urban universities and we have to make that case. Wanda Dean reported that State Council defines the class day as 8 am to 10 pm. She also observed that zoning will not hamper course offerings. Also, we cannot fix a situation where there is only one course offering. The new software will definitely be implemented, but we are not sure of exact date. Other constraints mentioned: contact minutes, as well as number of classroom days in a term, is a big issue. There was also concern expressed in regard to staff members working past 5:00 in the labs, etc., if we do in fact switch to the 15 minute M-W-F break.
Executive Assistant to the President
Virginia Tech Governance Information URL: http://www.vt.edu/uc/ucm97-12-01.html