University Council Minutes

April 5, 1999

Present: Bob Bates, Erv Blythe, Greg Brown, David Ostroth (for Landrum Cross), Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Eileen Hitchingham, Roberta Minish (for Janet Johnson), Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Minnis Ridenour, Jean Eversole (for Ray Smoot), Rich Sorensen, Charles Steger, Bill Stephenson, Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Richard Bambach, Jim Burger, Madonna Mendoza, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer (for Charles Lytton), Robert Tracy, Muzzo Uysal, Nicolaus Tideman, Terry Swecker, Wayne Durham, Skip Fuhrman, Deborah Mayo, Paul Metz, Kevin Pelzer, George Simmons (for Bob Benoit), David de Wolf, Bernard Feldman, Joann Boles (for Rosemary Goss), Frank Gwazdauskas, Sam Hicks, John Randolph, John Seiler, Donna Cassell, Pete Martens, Nancy Phillips, Ben Poe, Joel Donahue, Aashish Jain, Jeffrey Sutton (for Paul Wagner), Jody Olson, Duncan Neasham, Natalie Wilson, Sean Blackburn

Absent: Elyzabeth Holford, Norm Marriott, Eliza Tse, Jamaa Bickley-King, Anita Haney, Curtis Lynch, Peggy Rasnick, Kathleen Knight,

Guests: Laurie Coble, Ronald Daniel, David Ford

  1. Call to Order

    Dr. Peggy Meszaros 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 March 1, 1999

    Dr. Meszaros noted that the minutes from the March 1, 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. First Reading
    Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99B
    Resolution Regarding Modification of Family Sick Leave Policy

    Pat Hyer presented this resolution on behalf Chair Charles Lytton. Dr. Hyer explained that this resolution is designed to: 1) extend number of days that may be charged to sick leave for faculty members from six days to ten days when caring for an ill family member or death and funeral; 2) remove the cap on number of days that can be used per incident, with a maximum of ten days per year. This resolution has been approved by the Commission on Faculty Affairs A concern was raised regarding a point of clarification in the third "Whereas" which currently reads "extension of the period from six ..." The suggestion is to change "period" to "increase of the yearly limit." As an additional point of clarification, Dr. Hyer confirmed that we are not increasing the number of days of sick leave.

    Commission on Faculty Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Modifying Assignment of Duties to Faculty Members

    Chair Richard Bambach submitted this resolution for approval. This resolution does not change anybody's responsibilities. Faculty assigned to unusual assignments should be consulted prior to these duties being assigned.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99D
    Resolution Regarding Renaming and Restructuring of the Master of Urban Affairs to Master of Public and International Affairs

    Chair Jim Burger submitted this resolution for approval. Chair Burger then asked John Randolph to share information with Council regarding this resolution. Dr. Randolph commented that this will have great benefits for students in graduate programs in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. Enrollment in the graduate program, Masters of Urban Affairs, has been declining, but at the same time there is a real opportunity through the school for public and international affairs to develop a new curriculum, a Master of Public and International Affairs. This will offer opportunities for students interested in the international perspectives. This will serve a dual role related to collaborative processes and globalization with a real opportunity to draft students. The new curriculum would reduce the number of credit hours from existing curriculum 48 to 36 credit hours. The 48-hour degree was a constraint to students coming into that degree program. As the curriculum develops on campus, this will give an opportunity to market this curriculum in Northern Virginia. There are only a few students in the program. Those scheduled to graduate spring of next year will have the option of graduating in either degree program. In response to a question regarding the impact of the name change, Dr. Randolph explained that with four degree programs, it is difficult to find a department name that captures all degree programs.

    Commission on Student Affairs
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Regarding the Membership of the Commission on Student Affairs

    Vice Chair Sean Blackburn distributed a handout with the full recommendation by the Commission. Prompted by student concern over the membership of the Commission, an ad hoc committee was appointed to study the membership. The ad hoc committee spent fall and early spring working on this issue. Overall the Commission will lose one representative. Instead of a representative from each of the sophomore, junior and senior classes the resolution calls for one representative from the class system. It is recommended that the position of extramural sports federation be removed. It is also recommended representatives from the Black Student Alliance (BSA) (1) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance (LGBTA) (1) be added.

    Concerns on behalf of GSA were shared by GSA Representative Joel Donahue, which included solicited opinions from members of GSA that were on CSA, outgoing and incoming vice president of GSA, and the secretary of GSA. Concerns shared are: 1) feel classes should not be excluded and noted that class officers are elected and represent whole classes; 2) concern regarding organization representatives on CSA to which Mr. Blackburn responded that only University chartered organizations can be represented on CSA and those to be added through the resolution are University chartered organizations; 3) many organizations are not represented on CSA; again Mr. Blackburn emphasized that only University chartered organizations are represented on CSA; 4) questioned whether minorities are given preferred privileges and whether they should be represented in other organizations; 5) there is a concern that CSA is becoming fractured by representation of many small groups of special interest and not representing the general view of campus; 6) the Black Graduate Association represents a higher percentage of black students on campus than the Black Student Alliance yet is not represented on CSA. Mr. Blackburn responded GSA and CSA will work together to give representation on behalf of the Black Graduate Association through one of the GSA representatives; 7) Speaker and Vice Speaker of GSA should be changed to President and Vice President.

    It was noted from the floor that the GSA representative on CSA had voted to approve the resolution.

    Mr. Blackburn explained that CSA built off the recommendations made three or four years ago by CSA and set up a standard and criteria for student organizations. Student organizations must be registered as University chartered student organizations. To be considered, an organization must meet two of the following criteria: 1) represent a major constituency or a significant minority population; 2) serve as a major governance or programming body; and 3) act as an umbrella organization representing other groups and student organizations. All University chartered organizations were reviewed and studied with consideration given to goals, who was represented by what group, who SGA represented and who they did not. BSA and LGBTA are not represented by any other group. There was a lot of discussion in the Commission regarding the elimination of individual class representation. CSA voted that one person should be able to represent all three classes. It is recommended that all three classes meet at the beginning of the year, establish communications and shared goals for their representation, and choose a representative to sit on the Commission. With the recommended membership, CSA will be more efficient.

    Dr. Meszaros suggested that Mr. Blackburn and Council Member Joel Donahue talk to be sure that all concerns are heard and there is a way to address them.

    A question was raised as to why additional members simply could not just be added. Mr. Blackburn responded that CSA is one of the largest Commissions and it is felt that they need to keep the roster to a workable and efficient number.

    Clarification in the resolution "#24. Council of Academic" was requested.

    Mr. Blackburn explained that the "The President of the Black Organizations Council" is the minority representative and the "Black Student Alliance" is primarily a programming body dealing with minority programming. These are two separate organizations doing two separate tasks.

    Mr. Blackburn responded to a concern regarding lack of representation from any religious groups. There are no University chartered organizations for this kind of program. If any group is a registered University chartered organization and wants to be considered for membership in CSA, an ad hoc committee will be appointed to look into the request.

    Ms. Carole Nickerson responded to a request for clarification on the Constitution as it relates to membership. Ms. Nickerson explained that the aim was and is for shared governance to be as inclusive as possible. Membership lies in the Bylaws for the specific purpose of allowing amendments to the makeup of various bodies as the institution or its business evolves. CSA is not making an inappropriate request. The most likely source of any Bylaw change would be from a Commission concerning its own roster.

    Mr. Blackburn responded to a request for clarification of the term "significant." There are no numbers associated with the consideration, but "significant" means that they are definitely a minority and enough of a minority for consideration. This is the judgement of the Commission. The National Panhellenic Council (represent the traditional black fraternities and sororities) asked to be considered but were denied because they have the majority of the seats on the Black Organizations Council (BOC) and therefore would be represented through BOC.

    Mr. Blackburn will follow up with appropriate people to assure their questions are answered.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99A
    Resolution Regarding Revision to Academic Eligibility Policy Presidential Policy Memorandum 167

    Chair Bob Tracy submitted this resolution. He noted that this is the first of several resolutions coming out of ad hoc policy review committees. The outcome is to revise Presidential Policy Memorandum 167 to change the requirements for students who are in academic difficulty and for returning students. Dr. John White, chair of the ad hoc committee, addressed this resolution. Dr. White commented that Policy 167 included probation and suspension, academic penalties, and academic review as a consequence of academic difficulty. This resolution removes academic review from the policy. Students, advisors, and administrators at the college, university, and departmental level did not comprehend what academic review really means. It is very difficult to enforce and difficult to have students buy into it as they buy into probation and suspension. Academic review was added to the original resolution two years ago because of a fear that there would be a major loss of students through the new policy. This did not happen and extensive research has been done to assure that this will not happen under this revised policy. Some procedures and policies have been changed that overcome the concerns regarding a major loss of students. Students responded to the increase in academic requirements from 1.5 to 2.0, and thus there were fewer students who did not meet the academic eligibility requirements. For these reasons, the request is to return to a more simplified version of the academic eligibility policy that maintains basically probation and suspension as the consequences for poor academic performance. In response to a question regarding backdating this resolution to the summer of 1997, Dr. White noted that this is to keep us from having three policies in place at the same time.

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1998-99B
    Resolution on American History

    Chair Bob Tracy submitted this resolution and moved to waive first reading so this resolution can go to the Board of Visitors at their April 26 meeting (information packets go to BOV members before the next Council meeting). This resolution is addressing a resolution of the State Legislature which mandates the Board of Visitors engage their respective universities and colleges in the state in the issue of how these institutions want to deal with the issue of American History literacy. The resolution has unanimously passed the University Core Curriculum Committee and the Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies and has been very thoroughly evaluated by both faculty and administration.

    Ms. Carole Nickerson shared with Council Members that in order to waive first reading a vote of 3/4 of those members present is required; thus this motion will require an affirmative vote of 39 members to waive first reading. If first reading were waived, any changes would have to be handled as friendly amendments during second reading. There was concern expressed that this is unnecessarily being put on the fast track.

    Dr. Richard Bambach shared Faculty Affairs' role in this resolution. After legislative action, the Board of Visitors shared urgency in taking care of this issue. Careful consideration was given by all bodies that normally conduct curriculum review. This is a reasonable way to handle this issue and satisfy concerns of the Board Members.

    Dr. Bob Bates, who was present at the Academic Affairs Committee meeting where faculty leadership talked about curriculum design and how we address issues, noted that this was a rich opportunity for members of the Academic Affairs sub-committee to understand the academic issues of this university. Board of Visitors members are quite impressed that so many viewpoints are considered before action is taken. A presentation was given to the BOV and they understood this as a reasonable approach. Considerable work was done with the History Department as well as with the Core Curriculum Committee. Issues of resources, delivery, academic content and the way we meet the requirement have all been considered. This proposed process allows students who have had a strong course to get a broadened appreciation of history and for others who need the experience in history to get it. For many this may already be part of their core curriculum.

    Concern was expressed about focus outside the academy that influence curriculum inside the academy and precaution should be taken. Information was also shared regarding how this issue is being handled at other universities and colleges in the Commonwealth and few are rushing forward like Virginia Tech.

    A second to the motion was made and a vote was taken. Waiving of first reading was defeated with only 16 affirmative votes.

    Further discussion noted that this resolution has a fairly strong endorsement from the Board about using this approach. It provides a broad spectrum of interpretation about entrance requirements and how students can satisfy these requirements. The three leadership positions within the Core Committee, the faculty senate president, and others, reviewed this before it was presented to the Board.

    The course taught will be an Area 3 US History course, not a high school level course. Regarding incoming international students, because this is an Area 3 course, students can test out of it. Following discussion regarding additional students and additional resources, Dr. Meszaros commented that resources have already been allocated for the development of the on-line course. The on-line course will not have to duplicate the 1115 and 1116 sequence. Whether or not this course would be for credit has not been determined at this time to give some flexibility. Agricultural technology students will not be affected. Clarification was requested on the following statement: "That all entering students at Virginia Tech who score at or above specified standards through the university governance system," probably should read "established by the university governance system," A comment was made that a course being taught in high school should not keep us from teaching a course from a perspective that assumes no background.

    It was suggested that at second reading of this resolution someone should discuss for five minutes or less the following topics: 1) description of the process by which this is already being considered, 2) what is the range of discretion and consequences of fast action, politically, 3) its merits.

    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
    Joint Resolution 1998-99A
    Joint Resolution Regarding the Name Change of the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources to the College of Natural Resources

    Chair Jim Burger, on behalf of Bob Tracy-Chair of Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies and on behalf of Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, submitted this resolution for first reading and that this change take place the summer of 1999 upon the approval of the Board of Visitors.

    Dean Greg Brown distributed a handout that included the rationale for the proposed name change to College of Natural Resources. The administrative team and faculty were first approached two years ago regarding a name change of the college. A faculty task force conducted surveys externally and internally (surveys included students and faculty in the college, college deans, alumni, employers of students). This was discussed with the college advisory board a year ago and again last week with at least one component of the advisory board at the annual meeting. Proposal with 14 rationale statements was presented to the Provost last fall. Senator Madison Marye and Delegate Jim Shuler's office are aware of this. Dean Brown has discussed this with Delegate Earl Dickinson. They have mixed feelings, but are not resistant. They are concerned about how the change will be interpreted by constituents throughout the state. Two associations in the state that represent the industry have received input.

    Review of the handout on rationale:

    1. Profile of where the name of Natural Resources is used across the state.

    2. Concern about losing identity. It will not change current option structure, degree name, what will appear on transcripts or diplomas.

    3. Broad array of activities and disciplines are covered in the college. In addition to those mentioned by the departments there is also a natural resources recreation program in the forestry department; marketing programs and timber engineering are covered in wood science.

    4. Name change would not impact any accreditation or certification processes.

    5. There is currently a declining enrollment at the undergraduate level (graduate enrollment is stable). Programs that have added environmental studies/sciences to their program and programs that have changed to natural resources names have initially seen increased enrollment applications.

    6. What is proposed is consistent and parallel with the NASULGC structure.

    7. Under Cooperative Extension our programs work under the agriculture and natural resources arena. A major component of the natural resources arena.

    8. Confusion is created by the current name. Often the title is reduced to the "College of Forestry" and other programs in the college feel they are not reflected by the college's name.

    9. "Natural resources" is currently used in some programs.

    10. Other names have been suggested. Reasons for not using these names was given.

    11. In the past, the forest industry has been a major opponent to names such as natural resources, environmental resources, etc. Many of the major forestry industries are now looking for "natural resource managers." They are looking for people to manage the land base, which includes not only the timber, but also wildlife, fisheries, esthetics, outdoor recreation, watersheds, etc.

    75% to 80% of the college faculty support the name change.

    Dr. Richard Bambach raised a concern regarding Geological Sciences, which deals with mineral and water resources, and noted that the Department of Mining Engineering and Engineering also deals with mineral resources, Civil and Environmental Engineering deals with water resources, CALS and Arts and Sciences may deal with renewable resources. The College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources does not deal with non-renewable energy resources and deals only peripherally with water resources. He noted on behalf of his department that renaming the college would be incorrect, and the motion should be withdrawn until consultation with other departments. The name change would not represent the college correctly. It would not represent where many things in natural resources are concentrated in this university.

    Others noted that we already have a number of departments whose mission and course content are not mutually exclusive, and that it is important for the name to reflect the departments in the college, which has a cross section of discipline. The proposed name is consistent with similar changes across the country.

  5. On-going Business

    Approval of the Collective Commission Minutes.

    Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  6. For Information Only

    Minutes of University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning, February 10, 1999 and March 4, 1999

  7. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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