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Comments by Faculty Senate Chair to UVA Board of Visitors

Alfred C. Weaver — Dec. 8, 2017

Hello, I’m Alf Weaver, Chair of the Faculty Senate. Thank you for the opportunity to update you concerning some of our recent activities. To respect your time, I’ll only mention the work of three of our eight committees.

Our Academic Affairs Committee is responsible for all issues pertaining to matters of curricular and academic program review, and is responsible for the Senate’s role in the creation and elimination of academic programs. Academic Affairs and our Executive Council have approved three program changes so far this year:

First was a proposal from Media Studies for a Master of Arts degree in Media, Culture and Technology. The objective of this M.A. is to produce graduates with the capacity to do high-level research on media, policy, and media technologies and to apply these advanced research skills in academic research or in the workplace.

Second was a proposal from American Studies to redesign a previous minor in “Latina/Latino Studies” and call it “Latinx Studies” to challenge the exclusionary gender norms inherent in the words Latina and Latino. The minor will allow interdisciplinary study of the complex histories, arts, politics, and cultural of US families with Latin America origins.

Third was a proposal to offer a joint Master of Science in Business Analytics. This M.S. would utilize business analytics faculty from McIntire, and MBA faculty from Darden, to offer a master’s degree program on weekends in Northern Virginia. This program is designed specifically for the working professional. This joint venture will diversify and deepen both School’s offerings, as well as broaden UVA’s reputation in Northern Virginia.

All three proposals go before the full Senate next Tuesday.

Our Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Retirement, and Welfare Committee has discussed four items:

First, we looked at the results of the 2016 COACHE survey (that’s the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, COACHE) that benchmarks over 100 criteria for 89 schools. The Board saw some of those results last February. These results help us discover where concerns may lie and then help inform efforts to improve our services.

Second, we reviewed faculty benefits with Human Resources, looking at how benefits are determined, allocated, and paid for. We got a full explanation of how and why UVA dropped spousal health care coverage for spouses who had health coverage available to them from their own jobs.

Third, we are addressing the issue of “how to retire.” The Senate will host a working meeting in mid-Spring to teach faculty the mechanics and timing and options of our retirement system.

Fourth, we applauded the outcome of the most recent promotion and tenure cycle in the School of Medicine, which promoted as many women as men to the rank of Professor (for the first time ever). In the spring we will look at more issues that are specific to women in Medicine.

Our Research, Teaching and Scholarship Committee discussed the University Academy of Teaching, currently headed by Kirk Martini in architecture, which operates within our Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence. The Academy recognizes exemplary professors who share their know-how with faculty and graduate students throughout the UVA community. Another committee topic is the changing role of scholarship in an era of on-line publishing. And finally, RTS will now begin its review of the Harrison Undergraduate Research Award applications that were due December 6.

That concludes my report but I am happy to answer your questions.