Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes - November 18, 2020

Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 18, 2020; 11:00 am – 12:00 noon
Zoom Virtual Meeting


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Hanadi Al-Samman, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Ari Blatt, Aaron Bloomfield, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Eli Carter, Donna Chen, Ming-Jer Chen, Sylvia Chong, John Comazzi, Jennifer Davis, Linda Duska, James Fitz-Gerald, Jay Fox, Gavin Garner, Peter Gray, Douglas Grissom, Mark Haskins, Natasha Heller, Ira Herbst, Janet Herman, Bob Hirosky, Jay Hirsh, Tish Jennings, Ann Kellams, Meg Keeley, Michael Kennedy, Jason Kerrigan, Bradley Kesser, Daniel Kinney, Susan Kirk, Stephen Macko, Elizabeth Magill, Katya Makarova, Carol Manning, Kim Mata, Susan Modesitt, Venkataraman Lakshmi, Kathryn Laughon, Adria LaViolette, Kevin Lehmann, Rob Patterson, Andrew Pennock, James Ryan, Jeri Seidman, Mircea Stan, James Savage, Nicole Thorne Jenkins, Sarah Stewart Ware, Brian Wright, Jeff Young


Michael Citro, Brent French, Brie Gertler, Ashley Waters Gundersen, Maggie Harden, Karen Ingersoll, Kisha Lashley, Jenn Lobo, Brett Marshall, Lorna Martens, Shayn Peirce-Cottler, Kelly Sulick, Wynne Stuart, Judith Thomas, Adriana Torres (Closed Captioner)

Administrative Support: Ashley Ayers

Meeting agenda

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Joel Hockensmith

  2. President Jim Ryan - Brief update from around Grounds

  3. Spring Term Discussion
    President Jim Ryan and Provost Liz Magill

    1. Background: A few things we know about spring term/are thinking hard about:

      1. We will have more testing capacity by the start of the spring term. We expect to have students test before they come to Charlottesville as well as 5-7 tests after they arrive. In addition, based on our current projections of capacity, we hope to have testing for all faculty and staff who are coming to grounds.

      2. We are working to have a higher number of in-person experiences for our students with faculty – whether it be in-person office hours, rotating in-person experience in the classroom, and many other options, etc. We have been working to facilitate this in a variety of ways. The town hall that we held featured 3 faculty who talked about the techniques they used to do this:

      3. In the winter months, we know it will be a challenge to identify activities – cocurricular, extra-curricular – that students can do safely. Many people are thinking about that, and we are particularly looking for creative ideas.

      4. We will continue to be advised on a daily/weekly basis by public health professionals, led by Dr. Rosner, Dr. Sifri, and Dr. Holstege. They monitor the metrics we are following, meet daily to discuss testing and case trends, and advise on any changes in operations.

    2. Discussion: With that background in mind, here are the questions we would like the Senators to consider:

      1. As we look forward to the spring, what advice to you have for us as we plan?

      2. In teaching, research, student experience, and/or your experience as an employee, what went well in the fall that you suggest we bring into the spring?

      3. What do you think we should do differently?

      4. And what new developments should we be planning for? Bring your recommendations and concerns to us!!

    3. Adjourn

Meeting Notes:

Quorum met; Joel Hockensmith called the meeting to order at 11:01 am

Joel Hockensmith shared the spring dates for EXCO and full Faculty Senate Meetings and noted he would send them out by email to the Faculty Senate, as well.

  • EXCO: Friday, January 15: 11:00am – 1:00pm

  • Full Faculty Senate: Friday, January 29: 11:00am – 1:00pm

  • EXCO: Tuesday, February 9: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

  • Full Faculty Senate: Tuesday February 23: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

  • EXCO: Thursday, March 11: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

  • Full Faculty Senate: Thursday, March 25: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

  • EXCO: Friday April 9: 10:00am – 12:00noon

  • Full Faculty Senate: Friday, April 23: 10:00am – 12:00noon

  • EXCO: Friday, May 7: 10:00am – 12:00noon

Jim Ryan: will provide brief updates, followed by asking for the Faculty Senate’s perspective on plans for the spring: what worked well/did not work during the fall semester?

  • COVID cases: cases remain low and positivity rate in our district is the lowest in the commonwealth.

  • Slight uptick and large gatherings of students. They are trying to enforce rules and stress to students that rules must be followed. Students are preparing to leave this weekend but need to remain vigilant.

  • All students to be tested before they return home; remain at home during the holiday; a testing plan in place for those here between Thanksgiving and Christmas (announcement coming soon); testing before they arrive for the spring semester; and then once again once they arrive back on Grounds.

  • Three deans and dean of student searches underway.

  • Townhall during what is normally Family Weekend: number one concern for parents is are there going to be more in-person classes/experiences for students during the spring semester.

  • Another town hall today at 4:30pm, focused on health and safety over the break.

  • Thanksgiving break: thanks to all of you during a very challenging semester. Appreciate all that faculty have done during this time.

Liz Magill:

  • Thanks to all of you; medical school faculty are our heroes for working through COVID with research and clinical care efforts.

  • Testing update: before they leave Grounds, students are being offered a test. Trying to meet needs of students in all 50 states/many countries.

  • Expect to be able to test every student every week, and also every faculty and staff member who is coming onto Grounds every week. Saliva testing. Testing on robots so there will be automation of testing. Asymptomatic testing, in addition to symptom-based testing and those who have close contact with COVID positive individuals.

  • Townhall this afternoon: epidemiology of virus, UVA’s approach to testing, advice on how to safely gather for the holidays.

  • J-Term: new interdisciplinary classes and the usual selection of courses. Elective and international courses. High demand for J-term. Number of courses increased. Increased size of the classes. 57 classes last year; 1000 registered. This year, 102 classes and 6,900 students registered with 1,000 more on the wait list.

  • Credit/no credit approach: J-Term and Spring term, as well. No date selected for date by which students need to decide which option to select.

  • Request for accommodation for Zoom. Central funding source available for paying for Zoom captioning. Resources will be provided to help with CC.

  • International students requesting of faculty to consider time zones when administering exams. She has asked Deans/Associate Deans to consider those requests.

  • Two initiatives with strategic funds:

    • Reup of the Three Cavs program (seed funding program, 40 to 50, working with people across departments)

    • Fund for institutional research: faculty submitting research projects for improving the institution


Kevin Lehmann: there is a standing rule that alternative exam times for athletes cannot be administered in advance of the main exam period – that rule should be suspended. Faculty have raised this concern.
Liz Magill: raise the question with Rachel Most.

Jason Kerrigan: research ramp-up entered phase 2. Surprised because of the uptick. What prompted the change, now? Any insight from VPR?
Liz Magill: data that Ram and deans of research collected regarding the safety of phase 3. No evidence of transmission. High compliance with requirements. She can ask Ram to send to Joel whatever communication he has.
Joel Hockensmith: background announcements have been sent out but nothing official communicated yet.

Liz Magill: we are actively thinking about the spring semester, a full session of “lessons learned in light of planning for spring” – we welcome constructive advice about the spring, based on your experience. What did we learn from the fall that should be applied to the spring? What should we think about this spring that we didn’t have to think about in the fall, such as a vaccine, a mask mandate, a huge snowstorm, etc.?

Andy Pennock: in-person experiences. Are faculty considered high-priority, as teachers? Where are faculty in the queue of vaccinations?
Liz Magill: health system is starting to discuss this issue but she doesn’t know the answer. Health care workers and immune compromised individuals would be prioritized.
Jim Ryan: the first shipment of vaccines arrives this month – health care workers are first in line but this week there will be decisions made about who gets the vaccine first. Still a little opaque about how much we can expect and when.

Venkat Lakshmi: Engineering- some faculty are worried about the lack of testing, those who have face-to-face encounters with learners. More testing available for those who feel vulnerable and those who are in proximity of students?
Liz Magill: they are planning to implement weekly testing of faculty/employees in contact with students. She told the deans about a week ago. Mandatory weekly testing for students; volunteer weekly testing for faculty/staff.

Hanadi Al-Samman: when can we expect the lifting on the ban on research travel?
Liz Magill: internal travel in the US for research purposes can be approved by the dean of research in your school. UVA is following CDC guidelines for international travel. But for domestic travel, the relevant associate dean can approve the travel.

Andy Pennock: what happens to spare testing capacity while the students are gone, during the break? Will those resources go to patients in the hospital, or to the community?
Jim Ryan: health system ramping up testing efforts, possibly to test every patient. In the community, they are testing four times per week. And they seem to be meeting demand.
Liz Magill: there is testing within the medical center five days per week. Exposed people are being tested three times per week. Testing of all patients has been initiated. Any student who is here after thanksgiving is tested weekly.

Kevin Lehmann: undergrad and grad students – can they do research during the break? Word is that undergrad students cannot do research during this time. Could students come and do lab work during this time?
Liz Magill: we do not want undergrad here during this time. On very strong advice of the health professionals who are advising us. We do not want students going home and coming back until beginning of term. In-person lab work is complicated then, for undergraduate students. Students can apply to stay here, for exceptions. But we are strongly discouraging students to be here.
Kevin Lehmann: this timing may not be effective.
Liz Magill: they cannot return until they provide a negative test. They must also be tested when they arrive. Logistically a nightmare to have students back earlier.
Kevin: what about grad students?
Liz: yes, graduate students can be here.

Kathryn Laughon: testing capacity. She worked with someone who was displaying symptoms, trying to get him a test.  There is a need for increased community capacity if possible.
Jim Ryan: will explore and boost testing capacity for community.

Rob Patterson: thanksgiving to spring semester. What protocols for spring break? What concerns? Concerned about traveling and returning.
Jim Ryan: there will be four “spring break” days spread out during the semester. Difficult to police students going away during these days, but helpful to do weekly testing of students.
Liz Magill: we could use this group and all brain power to help think about what we could do with students socially, this spring. Pandemic fatigue. What interesting fun things can we facilitate this spring that are also safe?
Rob Patterson: what to do with students who are here still during the break?
Liz Magill: tents will come back with lights and heat.

Jim Ryan: what should we be focused on during the spring? Things done well, things not done well, new ideas.
Joel Hockensmith: tools such as collab do not work as well in the current environment. Should new tools (for test taking) be explored that can better meet the needs?

Andy Pennock: consider some sections that are mandatory in-person section. Difficult to honor both in-person and virtual groups at once. There is a need to think about how to teach students who are going to go pass/fail – must think about this – how to support faculty. It is a huge challenge.
Jim Ryan: how to accommodate students who are in isolation or quarantine?
Andy Pennock: announce in class that faculty will not be as focused on those people who are in isolation/quarantine, as with those present in the classroom.

Jim Ryan: if you have additional ideas, please reach out to us.

Jim Ryan and Liz Magill left the meeting at 11:46am.

Joel Hockensmith: one item from Aaron Bloomfield
Aaron Bloomfield: the Faculty Senate approved by email the name change from Commerce McIntire: Advertising Digital Media was changed to Strategic Brand Consulting and Communications.

Joel Hockensmith invited any other business; no additional business noted: the meeting was adjourned at 11:47am.

Chat log

10:56:21 From Joel Hockensmith to All panelists:
Noon-1 pm
Anthony Fauci, MD, Medical Center Hour Presenter
Passcode: 439854

11:25:52 From Ann Kellams to All panelists:
I think that federal guidelines will determine who gets it first

11:25:57 From Susan Kirk to All panelists:
UVA is following national recommendations regarding vaccine deployment.

11:31:11 From Susan Modesitt to All panelists:
We have just initiated testing all patients, all patients scheduled for surgery.  As faculty, most of us have never done asymptomatic testing since March

11:44:35 From Elizabeth Magill:
Andy, I believe engineering has done that!

11:44:57 From Elizabeth Magill:
They have some in person only labs and classes.  I think the college may have done that....

11:45:41 From Kevin Lehmann 
I believe Chemistry has run some small “in person only” lab sections