University Council Minutes

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

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda. The motion carried.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of December 6, 1999

    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. (/)

  3. Announcement from the President

    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.

  4. New Business Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1999-2000B
    Resolution Regarding Merger of the Agricultural and Applied Economics and Economics Ph.D. Degrees into a Single Ph.D. Degree in Economics Commission Chair Julia Beamish presented this resolution for first reading. Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1999-2000A
    Resolution Regarding the Membership of the University Athletic Committee Commission Chair Jay Sullivan presented this resolution for first reading. In response to a question regarding the necessity of the racial diversity selection, Norrine Bailey Spencer confirmed that this is a necessity to show that efforts are being made in response to the NCAA Minority Opportunity Plan. Virginia Tech Staff Senate Resolution 1999-2000A
    Revision to the Bylaws Amendment Procedure of the Virginia Tech Staff Senate Virginia Tech Staff Senate President Delbert Jones presented this resolution for first reading. Delbert Jones outlined the current problems with the way bylaws are to be amended. In response to a question, Carole Nickerson stated the problem is that the Senate's current Constitution states that any change must be approved by University Council; Staff Senate's revision is designed to allow By-laws change without recourse to Council action. This change would be in keeping with the Faculty Senate's current mechanism.

  5. On-going Business

    Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  6. Announcements

    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

    1. Reactivating the grievance panels - this Commission has responsibility for recruiting and training members of the grievance panels.

    2. Will be following the faculty owned businesses and intellectual property issues.

    Commission on Classified Staff Affairs -- Chair Cindy Harrison

    1. Following legislation before the General Assembly that affects classified staff.

    2. Support Linda Woodard who is chairing a sub-committee on the pay-plan reform.

    3. Looking at recognition for 15 years service in regard to annual leave.

    4. Concerned about classified staff on special committees. (Kim O'Rourke shared that Karen Cronin is serving on the vice president search committee.) Wishes to explore the possibility of having a classified staff member on the Board of Visitors.

    5. Resolution regarding Bylaws Amendment Procedure of the Virginia Tech Staff Senate.

    6. Realignment of departments and how that has affected the reporting line of staff associations.

    7. Reviewing all bylaws to make sure they are in line with governance and rules are followed.

    8. Virginia Tech Staff and Faculty Dependents and Spouses Scholarship Program Committee.

    Commission on Faculty Affairs -- Chair Mitzi Vernon

    1. Resolution now going before Promotion and Tenure Committee on an issue of clarification.

    2. Following the Conflict of Interest Policy.

    3. Following the Intellectual Property Policy.

    4. Following Changes on Outreach.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies -- Chair Julia Beamish

    1. Get PhD residency requirements through University Council.

    2. Conflict of Interest

    Commission on Outreach -- Chair Irene Leech

    1. Resolutions regarding ex-officio members to be sure individuals who are doing things related to distance learning and projects are officially a part of the Commission.

    2. Work toward changes in the tenure and promotion guidelines toward review of centers that come under our jurisdiction.

    3. Working with strategic plan for Vice Provost.

    4. Work related to awards for outreach excellence.

    Commission on Research -- Representative Len Peters

    1. Taking the lead in dealing with intellectual properties policy.

    2. Taking the lead in dealing with the conflict of interest.

    Commission on Student Affairs -- Chair Sean Blackburn

    1. Continue to define responsibilities in the selection of the Board of Visitors Undergraduate representative.

    2. Continue with speakers list on issues such as diversity and health care.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies - Chair Jay Sullivan

    1. Continue regular duty of approving committee minutes and reports that involve courses approved for the core curriculum, undergraduate curriculum courses and programs.

    2. Sub-committee of academic policies considering the issue of whether minors should be offered in areas where majors are not offered. They will also look at pass-fail requirements, QCA requirements for pass-fail, taking pass-fail courses.

    3. The Committee on Academic Support will be looking at the timetable. They will also reconsider the issue of the fall break. They will probably also have to deal with any fallout associated with the new class schedule. **On behalf of the Commission on Faculty Affairs, Mitzi Vernon expressed interest in being included in discussions regarding fall break.

    Commission on University Support - Chair Joe Hunnings

    1. Meeting with Building Committee, Communications and Computing Resources Committee, and the Transportation and Parking Committee.

    2. Out of the Transportation and Parking Committee will look at measures to take care of chronic parking infractions and incentives for car-pooling.

  7. Discussion

    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.

  8. Adjournment

    Dr. Steger adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President

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