February 7, 2000
Present: Bob Bates, Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Eileen Hitchingham, Janet Johnson, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Kim O'Rourke, Len Peters, Jennie Reilly, Lisa Wilkes (for Minnis Ridenour), Ray Smoot, Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Charles Steger, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer, Mitzi Vernon, Julia Beamish, Irene Leech, Sean Blackburn, Jay Sullivan, Joe Hunnings, Richard Bambach, Skip Fuhrman, Paul Metz, Tim Pratt, John Randolph, Rebecca Crittenden, Sam Hicks, Pat Devens, Suzanne Murrmann, John Seiler, Bernard Feldman, Rodney Gaines, Pete Martens, Laurie Coble (for Donna Cassell), Anita Haney, Aaron Hill, Delbert Jones, Ben Poe, Tomoya Ochinero, Drew Lichtenberger Taj Mahon-Haft, Aaron McClung, Scott Wood (for Laurie Steneck
Absent: Erv Blythe, Paul Knox, Terry Herdman, Kamal Rojiani, Deborah Mayo, Eliza Tse, John Hillison, Jovette Gadson, Kimberly DeGuise, Mike Whipple, Shawn Breck, Peter Zippelius
Guests: David Ford, Malcolm McPherson, Joe Merola, Norrine Bailey Spencer
A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda. The motion carried.
Dr. Steger noted that the minutes from the December 6, 1999, 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. (/)
Dr. Steger updated Council members in regard to activities in Richmond. The Council of Presidents has been working on the Governor's proposal of a 2.5% salary increase for faculty. To keep up with the 60th percentile goal for the SCHEV peer group a 4.4% salary increase is needed. Thus an additional $44 million allocation is needed for higher education. There is limited unappropriated money for the General Assembly; however it is anticipated that there will be some revenue revisions. The Council of Presidents is working to see that the $44 million is appropriated to higher education to address the salary questions. There are efforts to secure operating support to get additional capital monies. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education has released its report. One of the key points is the proposal that institutions enter into negotiations to establish an institutional performance agreement between the General Assembly, the Executive Branch, and the University. As soon as the report is on the web, Council members will be notified.
Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:
Carole Nickerson, Executive Assistant to the President, shared with Council members that the March 6, 2000, University Council meeting conflicts with the Board of Visitors meeting. Therefore, the March 6, 2000, University Council meeting will be cancelled. That meeting will be rescheduled if the press of business indicates a need to do so.
Reports from Commission Chairs Regarding Spring Semester Activities
Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs - Representative Pat Hyer
Commission on Classified Staff Affairs -- Chair Cindy Harrison
Commission on Faculty Affairs -- Chair Mitzi Vernon
Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies -- Chair Julia Beamish
Commission on Outreach -- Chair Irene Leech
Commission on Research -- Representative Len Peters
Commission on Student Affairs -- Chair Sean Blackburn
Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies - Chair Jay Sullivan
Commission on University Support - Chair Joe Hunnings
Conflict of Interest Policy - Presented by Len Peters, Joe Merola and Malcolm McPherson
Dr. Len Peters, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, gave background information in regard to conflict of interest issues and how they are addressed in the university today versus twenty years ago. Universities, especially entrepreneurial universities, are evolving into an applied research and development activity. This is where many universities are making contributions, particularly land-grant institutions where the mixes of disciplines are oriented toward applied activities. Four years ago the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies and the Commission on Research put together a joint task force to address the conflict of interest policies being necessitated by NIH and NSF. The task force continued to look at conflict of commitment - conflict of interest issues. Janet Johnson and Joe Merola co-chaired this task force. A year ago the College of Engineering set up a committee led by Malcolm McPherson to look at the area of faculty owned businesses. This past summer a third group, a combination of the previous two groups and others, began talking about the issue of faculty owned business from the university-wide perspective: what does it mean in terms of conflict of interest policies, how does it interface with what is going on in the College of Engineering, is it possible to come up with a policy that is consistent across the university, etc. How do we handle this in the governance system? The Commission on Research, Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, Commission on Faculty Affairs, and the Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs has an interest. These four commissions were involved in discussion. Dr. Peters then shared information from a book entitled Academic Duty by Donald Kennedy and noted that copies were available to Council members.
Joe Merola shared a handout taken from Academic Duty entitled To Reach Beyond the Wall. Dr. Merola shared information regarding putting policy in line with conflict of interest. State law specifies the number of dollars one can put into business. When does a good thing lead to a bad thing in regard to priorities and loyalties. What one person sees as good may not be seen that way by another.
Malcolm McPherson handed out and reviewed with Council members a document pertaining to the Management of Potential Conflicts of Interest and Commitment. This information included background to the Virginia Tech policy on conflicts of interest and commitment, policy and procedures, forms, guidelines for preparation of memorandum of understanding between faculty or staff and the university, and guidelines for review of disclosure documents and memoranda of understanding. Conflicts of Commitment refer to the disproportionate devotion of time and energy to external activities. A Conflict of Interest occurs when a faculty or staff member, any of his/her family, or associated entity, receives personal financial reward. Classifications of Conflicts of Commitment and/or Interest being considered are: Category I consists of activities that, while conflicts in a technical sense, are allowable without disclosure because they are a) accepted practices in academia, and b) generally minimal in their personal financial impact and effect on the university; Category II consists of activities that will ordinarily be permissible following disclosure and, where necessary, the implementation of oversight procedures designed to ensure academic standards, intellectual values, and institutional integrity; Category III consists of activities that may be allowable after disclosure, review and approval; Category IV consists of activities that cannot be permitted because they are illegal. Dr. McPherson then reviewed the summary of procedures when considering an outside activity.
Dr. Peters shared that the goal of the Commission on Research is to draft a proposal in mid-March to present to University Council in time for first and second readings before the end of this semester.
Cindy Harrison, Chair of Classified Staff Affairs, asked if classified staff would be involved. Dr. Peters responded "yes," as would faculty senate.
In response to a question regarding timeframe relative to the process and how to handle serious conflicts, Dr. Peters responded that provisions for appeal would be made. Forms should be completed on an annual basis.
When available, website information will be shared with Council members.
Dr. Steger adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.
Executive Assistant to the President
Virginia Tech Governance Information URL: /uc9900/ucm00-02-07.html