University Council Minutes

March 1, 1999

Present: Michael Williams (for Erv Blythe), Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Peter Eyre, Elyzabeth Holford, Janet Johnson, Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Minnis Ridenour, Ray Smoot, Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Charles Steger, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Richard Bambach, Jim Burger, Cindy Harrison, Robert Tracy, Muzzo Uysal, Terry Swecker, Wayne Durham, Skip Fuhrman, Paul Metz, Kevin Pelzer, George Simmons (for Bob Benoit), David de Wolf, Bernard Feldman, Joann Boles (for Rosemary Goss), Frank Gwazdauskas, John Randolph, John Seiler, Anita Haney, Pete Martens, Nancy Phillips, Ben Poe, Peggy Rasnick, Joel Donahue, Sean Blackburn

Absent: Bob Bates, Ben Dixon, Eileen Hitchingham, Madonna Mendoza, Charles Lytton, Nicolaus Tideman, Norm Marriott, Deborah Mayo, Eliza Tse, Sam Hicks, Jamaa Bickley-King, Curtis Lynch, Donna Cassell, Aashish Jain, Paul Wagner, Jody Olson, Duncan Neasham, Kathleen Knight, Natalie Wilson,

  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 February 15, 1999

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the February 15, 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. (/)

  4. Second Reading, Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1998-99C, Resolution Regarding Committee Approval of Theses and Dissertations

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies Chair Jim Burger presented Resolution 1998-99C for second reading.

    Chair Burger shared that the resolution changes a policy in the Graduate Catalog that currently appears on page 26. 1) It eliminates a discrepancy in one sentence that states it requires unanimous approval and an additional sentence that states that it does not require unanimous approval. This language is eliminated and new language will be: One dissenting vote is allowable for masters and dissertation committee votes. 2) This resolution removes the existing provision that allows dissenting members of the thesis or dissertation committee to have a letter bound with the thesis or dissertation.

    Chair Burger moved that University Council accept Resolution 1998-99C Regarding Committee Approval of Theses and Dissertations. This motion was seconded.

    A question was raised asking if the dissenting faculty member could be the chair, and if so, do these procedures address this concern? It was agreed that this would be an unusual situation.

    The resolution passed by unanimous vote.

  5. Approval of the Collective Commission Minutes.

    Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

    The following minutes were withdrawn:

  6. Announcements

    Overview of 1999 Higher Education Budget Request Minnis Ridenour, Executive Vice President

    Minnis Ridenour distributed a handout entitled, "Overview of 1999 Higher Education Budget Request." In review of this handout, Mr. Ridenour noted that the information speaks to the total higher education budget, statewide budget, our operating and capital outlay budget, and tuition and fee schedules for next year.

    The current biennium, 1998-2000, $910 million was put forth as our goal for all of higher education -- $400 million for operating expenses, $60 million for student financial aid, and $450 million for capital. In the first year of the biennium, 1998, we received $587 million against this goal. As we started this biennium, we requested funds that were short in the second year of the biennium and requested priority one State Council capital planning monies and shortfalls in capital appropriations. Our request as we started the year was $221.3 million. The Governor included in his budget to the General Assembly $46.2 million for higher education. This left a remaining need for legislative amendments of $162.5. Conference Committee recommended the General Assembly approve $71.3 million additional funding beyond the Governor's budget. From the Governor and General Assembly, we received a total of $117.5 million. The 20% tuition rollback, $75.7 million, for students nets 0 with $75.7 million in taxpayer money coming into higher education for tuition rollback. Some items not in our amendments for higher education include $3.8 million for matching scholars program, professorships, etc. This makes the total amount coming into higher education $121.3 million. In terms of the Governor's Initiatives, what we received from the Governor, we had a shortfall in our ability to collect non-general funds (such as unfunded scholarships), the Governor included an offset of $1.4 million. This does not provide new money, but had this not been included in our budget we would have had a $1.4 million shortfall in our ability to spend.

    The Governor also included the tuition rollback, $11.3 million. We received funding for work in computer science/computer engineering/information technology $977,000. The total amount for all of our initiatives in agency 208 is $2.8 million of new money. Agency 229, we received $100,000 in operating for Plan to Serve Virginia Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources. We received $759,000 in additional scholarship and loan monies for in-state students. $100,000 was received for minority scholarships for all colleges, with the exception of engineering and business. We ended up with $3.76 million in new money coming into our budget.

    In capital outlay, the Governor included $1.9 million to cover a shortfall in Advanced Communications Information Technology Building of $1.9 million. Energy-savings projects and chillers to extend our system throughout campus because of construction is $1.1 million. $500,000 was picked up to continue planning on upper quad conversion of old dorms for faculty and staff offices in accordance of our integrated space plan. We received $2.2 million in support of reserve maintenance. This is on top of about $9 million we already have in our budget to take care of the infrastructure of the university. Before this fund was implemented at the state level, we had to pay this out of our operating budget. $8.4 million in non-general funds to convert Shanks and Shultz on the upper quad to faculty offices. We have $16 million non-general for integrated space plan, we picked up $8.4 in the next year. $3.9 million for the dairy science facility, for a total of $18 million. Hampton Roads AREC emergency project was funded at $1.3 million. $456,000 ($200,000 in General Fund) to continue planning work on agriculture forestry building for a total of $1.8. Grand total of capital outlay of $19.8 (taking out non-general of $11.1).

    Regarding salaries there is a 5.8 percent salary increase for teaching and research faculty, 3.3 percent to 4 percent for administrative professional, and classified will receive 4 percent plus a 2.5 for those who "meet expectations." Mr. Ridenour responded to a concern regarding raises for administrative faculty and teaching and research faculty differential. Mr. Ridenour stated that this is a funding source issue, but that we can internally set the percentage level for faculty and administrative faculty, as long as the increase does not exceed our consolidated salary averages. Faculty and administrative faculty operate on a merit system. This is a policy decision for us. Classified percentages are set by the state at 4 percent plus 2.5 for those who "meet expectations."

    The tuition and fee schedule incorporates the 20 percent rollback in tuition. This saved in tuition for in-state undergraduate students $708 (down from $3,500 to $2,792). This incorporates fee increases of $23 for comprehensive, $132 for room and board. Net change for in-state student will be minus $553 per year. Out of state undergraduate students are expected by the state to pay 100 percent of the instructional cost. This will incorporate salary changes and utility changes. The total package will go up $455. No increase for graduate in-state student, as they will not receive rollback. In-state graduate students increase will be $23 for comprehensive fee. Non-resident graduate students will see an increase of $198 plus $23 for total of $221. Off-campus students no increase, out of state increase is $198 -- they do not pay the comprehensive fee because they do not receive the benefits. Veterinary Medicine overall increase is 3 percent. Mr. Ridenour confirmed a statement made that out of state graduate students will still be subsidized by out-of-state undergraduate students. Regarding tuition rollback, Mr. Ridenour responded that we do not lose money regarding the rollback; we get a dollar for dollar return. This does not add money to higher education.

    Mr. Ridenour explained that the 79.5 new positions is a mixture of new positions and moving monies relative to previously existing positions. 49.5 of positions were converted to graduate teaching positions to fully cover the number of graduate teaching assistants we had to place and will involve very little money. 10 positions address technology job vacancies.

    Dwight Shelton and Minnis Ridenour will be glad to answer questions.

    Announcements - Paul Torgersen

    Dr. Torgersen reported that the last several weeks in Richmond was largely spent securing support from the Conference Committee. There was not a lot of discretionary money available. We received approximately $3.7 million in additional funding, plus some capital projects including a major capital project for the renovation of the dairy facilities.

    Dr. Torgersen commented on the success of the women's basketball team and the possibility of hosting a four-team tournament. Support for the team has been good.

    The next meeting of University Council will be the first Monday in April.

  7. Discussion

    Update on Cross-Cutting Initiatives Peggy Meszaros, Senior Vice President and Provost

    Provost Peggy Meszaros gave an overview of where we are with the Cross-Cutting Initiatives. Our accomplishments this past year were absolutely outstanding. Dr. Meszaros thanked everyone for making this a good year for the university.

    Dr. Meszaros' commented on Strategic Direction 3.6 which has to do with encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration within the university to create knowledge that addresses the needs of society, at the same time increasing strategic partnerships in K-12 schools, other colleges and universities, businesses, industries, state and local governments to find solution to problems. Dr. Meszaros pointed out that cross-cutting initiatives are only one portion of the strategic direction. Every college and administrative unit on campus had some significant new partnerships and strategic alliances.

    Context and rationale -- Each of the seven cross-cutting initiatives' efforts are chaired by a faculty member, the committees are primarily faculty members, and each committee has a person assigned from university development and communications. This gives a broader look at connecting to sources and communicating our strengths. Groups have been in place for about a year and a half. Progress to date includes: 1) case statements, 2) gap analysis to look at our strengths, who our competitors are, and determine what is the gap. This gives us some recommended strategies to be at least at our competitors' level. Information has been completed and is on our web site. Committee members for each of the cross-cutting initiatives is listed. Information regarding individual group recommendations based on where we are, where our competitors are, what we need to do to keep our momentum moving toward the world class level is available.

    Two campus meetings are set up this month to look at those recommendations and make final decision on which recommendations will be implemented. A Saturday open meeting was held about a month ago inviting each department head on campus to identify two faculty members, who preferably had not been involved in any one of the seven work groups, to come for an orientation where each cross-cutting initiative chair did a brief presentation. Everyone had an opportunity to choose two concurrent sessions to learn more about an issue or a committee of particular interest. 150-160 faculty were in attendance. Larry Hincker displayed videos on some of the cross-cutting initiative areas and he also demonstrated the web site created for the initiatives. We are now at the final step of reviewing the recommendations and making final decisions. Recommendations range from one group wanting to form a council to bring the groups together to other recommendations which include additional new faculty positions and a new building. It is hoped that some closure to at least the initial set of recommendations can be made this month.

    The cross-cutting initiative areas will become a vehicle for formulating some of the budget initiatives as we go into the next biennium. We think there are opportunities for private funding. Charles Steger and Development are looking at a strategy we might call a "corporate fellow," where we could identify someone retiring from a business/industry position who might work with us. They would work with us in a particular area and help connect us more clearly to open corporate doors where we need to make our needs known that would bring the private dollars. And also to look at how we might connect to some increased federal funding. Areas where there might be some leveraging to be done would be with the president's budget. If we position some of our world class initiatives correctly, we may have a chance to tap into federal funds at a greater rate than we are now.

    The area identified as the one most likely to continue to grow is NIH. We currently have $3.5 million and this could grow if we are with the right kinds of alliances and if we could be successful in tapping into NIH. In every area of BioSciences and Biotechnology, there are potentials for increased funding. In Computing, Information and Communications Technology there are possibilities for major dollars. Rita Caldwell has done a piece on NSF funding and the biocomplexity and IT squared and all new areas that are merging. In Environmental Sciences and Energy Systems, as well as Materials, there are numerous areas of great potential for federal funding. In Food, Nutrition and Health there is an opportunity to build on the health piece. Everyone sees connections beyond the cross-cutting initiatives. For instance, the health area clearly connects to the biosciences and biotechnology and perhaps other areas. There are also funding possibilities in Learning Communities and Transportation. This is a quick look at possible new federal funding.

    In summary, when we looked at benchmarking with all universities as we put our strategic plan and academic agenda together, we determined there were some protocol strategic steps we needed to take. They are: 1) establishing cross-cutting initiatives to build on the strengths we have in a more focused way, 2) developing ACITC as a thrust to leverage in the communication, information technology area, 3) there has been an approval of targeting some Pratt Funds in Engineering for new initiatives, 4) developing of Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing (CEARS) in Forestry, 5) cooperation in Immunology between Veterinary Medicine and VCU, 6) we began the ASPIRES Program three years ago for our institutional investment in the research enterprise that enables faculty to have the seed funds to build their expertise and go for larger grants, 7) we have done some investing in visualization in Architecture and Urban Studies, 8) we have been supporting summer faculty research grants in business, and 9) developing the Carilion initiative joint with UVA.

    The cross-cutting initiatives help us maintain our Research One ranking and we hope help us build on the strengths that we have as we move into the next century, fully realizing we cannot be all things to all people. One way to advance at a research university is to identify those areas where we are already world class and look at how we can build them further. The accomplishment report talks more broadly on the collaborations and partnerships across campus, all of which can certainly qualify for additional resources. These seven cross-cutting initiatives are determined strategy on our part to say here is where we need world class strength and here is where we think the future is going. It is clear that in the president's budget, the federal funding is moving in this same direction.

  8. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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