University Council Minutes

November 2, 1998

Present: Joe Merola (for Bob Bates), Richard Alvarez (for Erv Blythe), Landrum Cross, Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Donald Kenney (for Eileen Hitchingham), Elyzabeth Holford, Janet Johnson, Paul Knox, Carole Nickerson, John Eaton (for Len Peters), Minnis Ridenour, Ray Smoot, Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Charles Steger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Richard Bambach, Jim Burger, Clyde Harris, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer (for Charles Lytton), Robert Tracy, Muzzo Uysal, Nicolaus Tideman, Terry Swecker, Wayne Durham, Paul Metz, Kevin Pelzer, Bob Benoit, David de Wolf, Bernard Feldman, Rosemary Goss, Bennet Cassel (for Frank Gwazdauskas), Sam Hicks, John Seiler, Lane Rasmussen (for Anita Haney), Nancy Phillips, Ben Poe, Terry Lawrence (for Peggy Rasnick), Joel Donahue, Janey Miller (for Aashish Jain), Paul Wagner, Jody Olson, Duncan Neasham, Laurie Steneck, Sean Blackburn

Absent: Greg Brown, Peggy Meszaros, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Skip Fuhrman, Norm Marriott, Deborah Mayo, Eliza Tse, John Randolph, Jamaa Bickley-King, Donna Cassell, Curtis Lynch, Pete Martens, Kathleen Knight

Guests: Dianna Benton, Susan Bright, Ron Daniel, David Ford, John Husser, Bill Newton

  1. Call to Order

    Dr. Paul Torgersen called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and announced that a quorum was present.

  2. Adoption of Agenda

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

  3. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of October 19, 1998

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the October 19, 1998, 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.

  4. Second Reading, Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies Resolution 98-99A
    Resolution Regarding Offering of Master of Science in Life Sciences

    Dr. Torgersen noted that it is his understanding that it would be very helpful if this resolution could be brought to the Board of Visitors on November 9, 1998, to meet a SCHEV deadline set for January. Dr. Burger noted that the resolution was deferred back to the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies. The resolution was reviewed and the concerns of the graduate students were addressed. Jim Burger made a motion seeking approval of Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1998-99A by University Council. The motion was seconded. Joel Donahue expressed his appreciation for all those involved in this very constructive process. John Eaton addressed a question concerning the possibility of confusion between biological sciences and life science degree programs. Dr. Eaton responded that this does not seem to have caused problems in the past. Bill Newton added that there has been a merged PhD program for almost 20 years and students do not get mixed up coming into biochemistry or food science versus biology. Dr. Newton thanked Joel Donahue, the Graduate Student Assembly representatives, and the graduate student representatives in each of the four departments for helping in this process. The Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, Resolution 1998-99A, Regarding Offering of Master of Science in Life Sciences passed unanimously.

  5. Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  6. Announcements

  7. Discussion

    Dr. Ron Daniel distributed and reviewed a handout regarding the computer requirement update. The update included: summer orientation, freshman move-in/ResConn, training, computer sales, assessment, and 1998-99 computer requirement committee. Dr. Daniel recognized Greg Kroll, Erv Blythe and Wayne Donald who organized a task force that put together the work teams. Others instrumental in this process are: Dianna Benton, Coordinator of Computer Requirement; John Husser, Music Department Head and Chair of workgroup that coordinated the baseline hardware and software specifications; Susan Bright, AIS, handled the move in. Students (135) were trained to help over 2,600 students get hooked up. This year the Computer Requirement Committee will replace the Task Force and will include six subcommittees: specifications subcommittee, training and support, vendor relations, curriculum and course issues, ownership and access, and communications.

    In response to a question regarding connection issues that will come in the next three years as students move off campus, Dr. Daniel commented that the basic Virginia Tech modem pool has been expanded and that we need to wait and see which way students are going to connect. Ms. Benton commented that many of the apartment complexes are moving to ethernet based connections. Some apartments have connections, some do not. A comment was also made that this is an issue that cannot be ignored. Susan Bright noted that the help desk answered 6,000 questions about modem connections. Ms. Bright noted that we are looking at the possibility of getting residential computer consultants in some of the apartment complexes. One concern is the liability issue of making "house calls."

    Regarding the issue of access, a question was raised about our ability to capture how successful students were in getting scholarships to cover computer cost? Dr. Daniel shared his larger concern about students who may never have applied because of the additional cost. John Husser noted that this was discussed with Financial Aid and agreed that scholarships for computer purchases need to be included in the financial aid package. There is data that can be run to get answers to these questions.

    There was no available information regarding the Town of Blacksburg possibly taking on fiber optics.

    Can we go to Bell Atlantic or some of the internet service providers and let them bid for a student rate? Dr. Daniel replied that the training and support subcommittee would be the group to handle this.

    Will the new building on campus make a difference in the way we do business with students? Dr. Daniel responded that it should have an impact, but not a giant impact.

    A concern was expressed concerning the need for computer assistance for faculty. Dr. Torgersen commented that his best help comes from students. Dr. Daniel shared that Wake Forest has a highly successful program that does not cost them a lot of money where they connect students with faculty, similar to a work-study program. 4-Help is also available for faculty.

  8. Adjournment

    Dr. Torgersen adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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