Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - March 11, 2021


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Hanadi Al-Samman, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Linda Duska, James Fitz-Gerald, Bob Hirosky, Tish Jennings, Susan Kirk, Kathryn Laughon, Kevin Lehmann, Elizabeth Magill, Carol Manning, Susan Modesitt, Peter Norton, Rob Patterson, James Ryan, James Savage


Michael Citro, Alena Herklotz, Brett Marshall

Administrative Support: Ashley Ayers; A closed captioner

Meeting agenda:

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Hockensmith

  2. 3:00-3:30pm – President James Ryan and Provost Liz Magill

  3. Approve minutes

    1. EXCO 2/9/2020

  4. Committee Reports

    1. BOV – Past-Chair Bassett

    2. DEI – Cmte Chair Jennings

    3. Faculty Grievance – Cmte Chair Al-Samman OR Manning

    4. Finance – Cmte Chair Hallowell

    5. Policy – Cmte Chair Norton

    6. RTS – Cmte Chair Hirosky OR Lehmann

    7. FRRRW – Cmte Chair Beckenstein OR Modesitt

    8. Academic Affairs – Cmte Chair Bloomfield

  5. Agenda for March 25th Faculty Senate Meeting

  6. Other business

  7. 5:00pm – Adjourn

Meeting Notes:

Quorum met; Joel Hockensmith called the meeting to order at 3:02pm

Updates from the President and Provost

Jim Ryan: Topics: Board meeting, commission, legislature, naming memorials committee.

  • Board meeting: delayed decision on tuition (primarily undergrad); decided to delay both undergrad and graduate school – meeting in April. Reason for delay: waiting on budget news from Richmond.

  • Unclear about the funding decision; uncertainty.

  • Unusually difficult year to not raise tuition and also to raise tuition. Difficult to raise tuition when finances are unstable for students/families; but difficult not to raise it because of the University’s financial loss due to pandemic.

  • 5% increase in salary. State funds about 20% of salary costs. Only mandated for classified employees (not as many employees of that category)

  • 1.9 trillion-dollar federal relief package. UVA will receive a substantial amount of funding from this package.

  • UVA committees – Committee on Naming/Memorials and Committee on Free Expression/Free Inquiry. Susan Kirk is serving on Free Expression Committee. Question: why is there no Faculty Senate representation on the Naming/Memorials Committee? If Faculty Senators want to serve on the committee, there will be an opportunity to serve since this committee is an ongoing committee with 2- or 3-year service.

Liz Magill: Topic: COVID updates

  • Temporarily modified the restrictions around gathering because of 200 cases on one day – alarmingly high rate of positivity. Students/parents voiced their unhappiness with the restrictions.

  • Restrictions were lifted, about to loosen the restrictions further to allow groups of 10 for outdoor activities; masked/socially distanced groups of six, indoors. Volunteering restrictions lifted. Vaccinated students can help with first responder (fire/rescue). Broadening to community volunteering, if the organization has a COVID plan. Aligning with governor’s rules for outdoor athletic events. IMREC reopened, outdoor music rules. Caution about travel for students.

  • Vaccine: 3,000/week vaccinated; more capacity for vaccination soon.

  • Vice Provost of Academic Affairs – looking for. Send recommendations to Provost Magill  or to David Hill, who is chairing the committee.

  • Jim Ryan: graduation update. No traditional final exercises, this year. In-person: walk the Lawn, with no guests. Or virtually.  Fourth-year students were surveyed to see which option they would want. Governor: graduations fall under social gatherings, not events. Limited to 25 people. Governor considering revising that rule. Need guidance for guests and travel. Risk in having thousands of people travelling to Charlottesville.

  • Joel Hockensmith: volunteering broadened to volunteering in labs?

  • Liz Magill: that is a Dean-based decision. Talk to your Dean.

  • Rob Patterson: a faculty colleague is approaching 70 years old; he drove to Harrisonburg to get the vaccine. What are your thoughts on faculty morale? Faculty going into classrooms unvaccinated; they can’t get vaccinated through UVA. Is there an issue with faculty morale, related to the lack of vaccinations?

  • Liz Magill: I assume there are faculty morale problems. UVA is not in charge of vaccines; Blue Ridge Health District is in charge. UVA has been working with them to volunteer. Faculty/student/staff morale problem that is pervasive

  • Rob Patterson: has been delivering that message, but not well received. They see other states being vaccinated. Feels like UVA is not as “soulful” – fits into the “great and good” message. Empathy.

  • Liz Magill: on category for faculty/staff of higher education being moved up to Phase 1b; not up to UVA.

  • Jim Ryan: pushed hard to get faculty/staff included in Phase 1b. Tried to advocate for faculty who are in the classrooms. Other states have done it. Rules differ from region to region.

  • Joel Hockensmith: push to put your name on the list with Blue Ridge – communicate that to the faculty. You’re not going to get called unless your name is on their vaccination list.

  • Tish Jennings: naming committee; her school had their name changed. Consider inviting Diversity/Equity/Inclusion committee of the Faculty Senate to be involved. There is a strong concern among the faculty as to how we name things.

  • Jim Ryan: there is a consulting committee which new FS representatives could potentially serve on if chosen.

  • Jim Savage: financial benefits of third federal stimulus package. What do we expect to receive re: research moneys? In 2009, received money.

  • Jim Ryan: no funding for research in the earlier stimulus packages related to COVID; have not heard of research funding yet for this new stimulus.

  • Liz Magill: I have not heard about research funding; I will check.

  • Jim Fitz-Gerald: morale and the vaccination. He is vaccinated and still experiencing low morale. Has experienced low morale from colleagues. No one is around; isolation. Students are struggling too.

  • Jim Ryan: we focused on student morale. Not as much on faculty morale. You’re right that it’s difficult until people can see each other again. Light at end of tunnel, but we’re still in it. What can we do in the interim, to try to boost faculty morale?

  • Jim Fitz-Gerald: everyone’s doing the best we can; we’re trying to hold on. Want to be empathetic to colleagues’ comfort with being around people.

  • Susan Modesitt: medical school; we’ve been here, but we are also missing in-person collegiality. Her subcommittee, FRRRW, welcomes a charge to engage faculty/students. Happy to take ideas.

Approve February 9 EXCO meeting minutes. Approved by General Consent.

  • Joel Hockensmith shared the webpage with Faculty Senator statements for those running for office.  Joel will make an announcement for the Faculty Senate. The statements will be distributed next week. No objections to that announcement.

Committee Reports

BOV (Ellen Bassett)

  • Tuition decision delay. They’ll be meeting in April.

  • Health System board: Dean’s search going on. Also looking for chief ambulatory officer. Vaccine discussion – numbers being vaccinated; number of volunteers. Costi Sifri mentioned the possible opening of society by this summer. 75/80% vaccination of the hospital – young female population; hesitation because of childbearing.

  • Michael E. Williams spoke on the evaluation of cancer care. Cancer Center currently has less state funding than VCU.

  • Building/Grounds projects – most were approved. 6-month study around the costs of building structures at the university.

  • Programs: Nursing School, new master’s degree with College at Wise.

  • UVIMCO (handles endowments) – set up a committee to be advisory, ACIR (advisory committee on investment responsibility). There is a faculty rep, who was selected because of his expertise, Mike Lennox from Darden.

  • Advancement – Darden just received a lot of money. Olson has given money to Engineering.

  • The recording of the BOV meeting is on the YouTube channel

  • McIntire and Biology – asynchronous learning presentations.

  • Susan Kirk: further explanation about vaccination rate in the Health System – many people are still working at home. Those people elected not to vaccinate, which accounts for some additional people. Outlying clinics under UPG may be miscounted since they were eligible through other hospitals.

Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (Tish Jennings)

  • Admissions and legacy; had a meeting with Vice Provost for Enrollment Stephen (Steve) Farmer. Will have a follow-up meeting with him.

  • There is a lack of transparency in the process that needs to be elaborated upon. No one can give numbers/data/statistics. Possibly create a system where these things are monitored.

Faculty Grievance (Carol Manning)

  • Over the summer, two important grievance cases.

  • Since the end of the summer, there has been silence. Overwhelmed with pandemic? Or will there by some requests after P&T decisions have been made.

Finance (Jim Savage:) nothing to report; met once

Policy (Peter Norton):

  • PROV-004: Employment of Academic General Faculty Members (Tenure-Ineligible) Derrick Williams: chair of general faculty council. Inclusive feedback. Combination of a survey and some Zoom meetings to inform people of the review and educate them about what is at stake for them.

  • Joel Hockensmith: is there anything we need to act on, through the end of Joel’s tenure?

  • Peter Norton: no action anticipated by Faculty Senate.

  • Maite Brandt-Pearce: survey going out for policies; put on the faculty policy directory website. Thinking of doing this for all policies that are seeking faculty review. One month after launch, planning a town hall. Are what we are doing and what you are doing complementary?

  • Peter Norton: Derrick described the same survey that Maite described.

  • Maite will send it to Peter and Derrick to test it, to see if there are any improvements that need to be made before it goes live.

  • Maite Brandt-Pearce: there are two policy directories. The UVA policy directory and the Provost Office faculty policy directory.

  • Joel Hockensmith: I don’t think many faculty may find it.

  • Peter Norton: I will help them find it.

  • Maite Brandt-Pearce: we can do some other outreach to let faculty know it exists.

Research/Teaching Scholarship (Kevin Lehmann)

  • We are scheduling a meeting and we want to address the issue of COI document. Joel previously sent two documents for them to deal with and resolve.

  • Feedback from several members – problems with revamped Virgo. Searching the library’s system for books, articles, resources. Many broken links there.

  • University’s decision about subscriptions. A la carte. Reduction in numbers of title of subscriptions we have access to.

Other Committee related to Library

  • Joel Hockensmith: ad hoc committee on the library and open access. Not much success with this committee. Polar reactions

    • If committee doesn’t come to a consensus, this issue needs to be discussed. The Library is moving without us. Library has sent a poll to ask which journals faculty use. How does the number of responses steer the decision about what’s behind the pay-wall?

    • Open access policy.

    • If the committee fails, does it move into next year? Or do we schedule an EXCO meeting for April to discuss.

    • Ellen Bassett: ELISIR – decision this fall. Not everyone was here when the initial conversations were going on; there is summary of open access and its implications.

    • Kevin Lehmann: financial impacts. Model where all publications were supported by open-access fees. Can we afford to move to a model where publishers are paid by an author, instead of their institutions.

    • Joel Hockensmith: final draft published in an open access source that the university maintains. Publisher: formatting and reputation.

    • Kevin Lehman: not all journals are accepting this (posting manuscript)

    • Joel Hockensmith: issues of embargo

    • Ellen Bassett: decouple the two things. Open access is imperative. If no consensus, let’s have a majority and minority report.

    • Tish Jennings: it would be helpful to bring both views to EXCO.

    • Joel Hockensmith: goal was to make a document to bring to EXCO, then bring it to full Faculty Senate for endorsement. Might be a majority vote where half of us might be dissatisfied.

    • Creating a document and handing it to you one week before April EXCO, with list of pros and cons (favorable and objectionable points).

Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Retirement, & Welfare Committee (Susan Modesitt)

  • Trying to figure out what to do. Recruitment is on a hold. Overwhelming in the face of COVID.

  • Brad Kesser brought forward an idea: what we did well in the face of COVID.

  • Faculty recognition and welfare – how do we bring that forward?

  • Having a spot on the website where people could reach out.

  • Would be great to have more faculty from outside SOM join the committee.

  • Met in February and will meet again in March or April.

  • Send any ideas to Susan Modesitt.

  • Susan Kirk: the danger of misfiring. People want the pandemic to end; tokens of appreciation fall flat.

  • Tish Jennings: gather with people who are vaccinated. CDC says vaccinated people can gather unmasked, inside. Morale problem comes from people not being able to gather.

  • Joel Hockensmith: UVA is going to insist that we adhere to their guidelines; not the state or CDC guidelines.

Academic Affairs Committee (Aaron Bloomfield)

  • Degree: Ph.D. in Computational Biology – passed unanimously in the committee.

  • Tish Jennings: what is it?

  • Aaron Bloomfield: human genomes sequenced, required time and resources. So much data needs to be analyzed, balance between the science and the computing skills.

  • Joel Hockensmith: an example: a clinical trial of any drug. Might want to have 1,000 or 10,000 people. 3 billion base pairs per person – 3 trillion pieces of information. Could look to see if there were changes in genetic materials. Also, find criminals from genetic materials, going into databases for data sequencing. Bioinformatics (knowledge of biology to apply to info from DNA sequencing).

  • Aaron Bloomfield: huge ethical concerns. Genetic companies can release DNA information to companies who can pay for it.

  • Passed by General Consent.

Other Committee


    Committee on Free Expression and Inquiry (Susan Kirk)
    Purpose to create a succinct statement on free expression. The workings of the committee are confidential. Faculty Senate will be used as a reactor group more than a vetting group. Will share the details when she is able to do so.


Faculty Senate meeting agenda for March 25:

  • Legacy (off the list)

  • Academic General Faculty (not ready yet)

  • EXCO: AAUP – recommendation for a presentation to full Faculty Senate. No objections.

  • We will hear from all nominees for all positions.

  • Any other items: Ellen Bassett: can give a BOV meeting report.

  • Joel Hockensmith: committee reports.

  • Tish Jennings: I can make same report as done in today’s EXCO

  • Ellen Bassett: discussion around faculty morale – maybe Susan Modesitt and her committee can bring that up.

  • Susan Modesitt: just talking about it might be helpful. Inviting people to send ideas.

Any other business? None.

Meeting adjourned 4:35pm.