Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes - October 21, 2021

Tuesday, October 21, 2022; 3:00 PM
Zoom Webinar

Members Present (53): Peter Abramenko, Hanadi Al-Samman, Alan Beckenstein, Ari Blatt, Aaron Bloomfield, Francesca Calamita, Cathy Campbell, Eli Carter, Donna Chen, Ming-jer Chen, John Comazzi, Stephen Culp, Todd DeLong, John Dillery, Maxim Engers, Jim Fitz-Gerald, Gavin Garner, Avik Ghosh, Vanessa Gregg, Douglas Grissom, Peter Hallowell, Jack Hamilton, Claudrena Harold, Bob Hirosky, Jay Hirsh, Joel Hockensmith (Past Chair), Tish Jennings (Chair Elect), Michael Kennedy, Jason Kerrigan, Susan Kirk (Chair), Kathryn Laughon, Adria LaViolette, Matthew Lazzara, Kevin Lehmann, Stephen Levine, Antonia LoLordo, Alicia Lopez Opere, Stephen Macko, Susan Modesitt, Kay Neeley, Peter Norton, Robert Patterson, Andy Pennock, Anne Rotich, Patrik Sandas, Jeri Siedman, Maria Sequeira-Lopez, Philip Smith, Ryan Smith, John Stranix, Christopher Thom, Nolan Wages, Victor Zaydfudim

Guests/Others Present: Bill Ashby (AVP Financial Strategy), Maite Brandt-Pearce (Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs), Mike Citro (Chief of Staff, Provost), Adam Daniel (Vice Provost for Planning), Brie Gertler (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs), J.J. Davis (EVP-COO), Judy Giering (Assistant Dean for Instructional Initiatives and Academic Technology, College), Maggie Harden (Associate Vice Provost for Academic Administration), Maria Lane (Admin Support), Liz Magill (Provost), Bill Pusser (Parliamentarian),

Meeting called to order
3:01 PM

Susan Kirk, Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting.

September 2021 FS Minutes    
Minutes from September 2021 Faculty Senate meeting were reviewed. 
Robert Patterson initiated motion to approve minutes; Tish Jennings and Susan Modesitt seconded.      

Vote on the Motion to Approve Minutes
For: 34 Against: 0         

New Resource for Parents Seeking Childcare

Brad Kessler, shared via email:

  • I am writing to introduce the UVA Parent/Guardian Connection Tool. The University Provost’s Office has established a group, UVA Family Collab, to look into options for daycare, childcare, schools, etc. for faculty, trainees, and staff.

  • As a start, the group has put together a tool that parents can use to meet other parents, discuss childcare options, schools, babysitters, etc. See announcement and link to the site where you can get more information and sign up below:

  • The Provost's Office is launching an updated version of the Parent/Guardian Connection Tool to assist UVA faculty and staff, who have young or school aged children, to connect with one another for support and engagement. The tool is also available to post-docs, graduate and professional students and medical residents and fellows. Find out more and register.

  • Please distribute across Grounds to your constituents.

Learning Management System Update

Brie Gertler, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Judy Giering, Assistant Dean for Instructional Initiatives and Academic Technology in the College of Arts & Sciences

  • LMS is a project to identify a new learning management system for adoption by all the undergraduate schools and the University, replacing Collab.

  • Why leave Collab?

    • Collab was initially built on a platform called Sakai about 15 years ago and is now in a negative feedback loop, schools have been moving away from the platform. As schools move away, there are fewer updates to vendors who make tools for the programs, meaning Collab does not have all of the functionality we want.

    • We are part of Common Solutions Group which includes 32 universities that are similar in their IT infrastructure. Only one of the universities in that group currently using Sakai is not planning to leave.

  • Why adopt only one LMS?

    • We want the most seamless and accessible experience for our undergraduates.

    • In any given semester, more than half of our students take at least one course outside their school of enrollment. So, they may be navigating 2-3 LMS in a single semester.

    • Students have expressed concern with having to master multiple LMS and that they would like to have one LMS used for all their courses throughout their time at UVA.

  • Timeline

    • Visit the LMS project site for full timeline, FAQs, and more details.

    • We are currently in the evaluation and selection phase; the plan is to identify the LMS and recommend it to the Provost in February 2022.

    • Then we move to planning the implementation and transition plan. We are going to transition over the course of 3 semesters so we’re hoping by Fall of 2023, all schools will be fully transitioned into the new LMS.

    • We are in the process of doing focus groups. There are 12 focus groups looking at different questions. User experience is something we’re looking at carefully with groups of faculty and students and with groups of instructional designers and support staff.

    • We completed a faculty survey with a 27% response rate; 671 faculty member responses with lots of comment boxes which we are in the process of analyzing along with looking at the quantitative data.

  • Q&A

Q: Can we retain some of the additional packages/plugins that faculty are accustomed to using so that we don’t have to completely reformat coursework when we make the switch?
A: When we are finished with the focus groups and have gone through the faculty survey, we will use the information to develop an RFI from various vendors which will be detailed and ask them to demonstrate certain functionalities and may include specific requests about integration of existing content into the new system. Vendors will then develop specialized demos for us to show how their system would accomplish the functions we’ve identified as important.

Q: School of Education recently adopted Canvas, I’m wondering if we’re going to have to shift everything that we’ve already created onto a new platform if something other than Canvas is adopted.
A: One issue we’re going to look at in selecting the new LMS is how easy the transition will be. So, the fact that there are so many people using and enjoying Canvas is going to matter because that would mean an easier transition. We have been told by people who’ve done this project before that migrating from one hosted solution to another hosted solution is not too difficult where the migration from Collab to a hosted solution could be a little more challenging.

Q: What is the implementation timeline?
A: Implementation will take place over 3 semesters beginning in Fall 2022. We’ve planned to do it in three stages. The first semester will be groups of faculty that are volunteering to do this. Whether a particular department or program may want to volunteer as a group is something we can explore but the first semester is meant to be for the early adopters who are ready to get started and transition to the new LMS. The second may be a little bit more intentional around identifying certain schools or groups that we’re moving over and then by the third semester we would have everybody transitioned.

Q: Do we know if there are any certain school or department needs that have led to these different platforms being used? Are we sure that is a single solution that would fit everyone’s needs?
A: For schools to be able to do some specialization within a single LMS environment relative to their needs is an important part of our RFI, the ability of each solution to segment so that schools could import the tools and integrations that are important to them.
Q: Is it just a segmenting issue or could it potentially be a fundamental issue of capability of one platform versus another?
A: It is possible, and so the important thing for us it to make sure we’re capturing what those difference might be in the RFI. It would be very helpful for us to know of specific examples so we can make sure they are included.

Q: Do we know if it’s easier to migrate from Collab to Canvas then say it would be from Blackboard to Canvas?
A: My understanding is that the most challenging piece will be migrating from Collab to a new hosted platform. Blackboard and Canvas are both hosted platforms, so our understanding is that’s an easier path. We will be able to migrate from Collab it will just require some additional programming and preparation.

Perhaps a distinctive group of faculty from the University who are using Canvas now would be a good group to talk to.

Please send your thoughts about what you want to see in a new LMS, etc. to

AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom and the Faculty Handbook

Joel Hockensmith, Past Chair, gave background information on the motion.

EXCO recommends that the Faculty Senate approves the reinstatement of the following text to the faculty handbook: “The University endorses fully the statement on Academic Freedom in the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors.

Vote on the Motion
For: 36 Against: 0

Report from Academic Affairs Committee

Aaron Bloomfield, AAC Chair, shared information on two certificates passed by the Academic Affairs Committee.

  1. Undergraduate Cloud Computing Certificate (SCPS)

  2. Graduate Certificate in Premodern Cultures and Communities (College)

Nominating Committee

Susan Kirk, Chair, shared that the Nominating Committee has been empaneled for 2022 elections. The committee will be chaired by Joel Hockensmith and Tish Jennings. Rob Patterson, Adria LaViolette, and JT Stranix will serve on the committee. Anyone interested in serving in a leadership position is encouraged to consider a run. Two members will be rotating off EXCO so if you are interested in serving in one of those at-large positions, please consider it. Also, if you are interested in serving as the Faculty Senate representative to any of the committees around the University, please let the nominating committee know. 

Discussion with Provost

Provost Liz Magill shared information and updates.

  • Vaccine Mandate

    • All university employees must be fully vaccinated no later than December 8th unless they have received university-approved religious or medical exemption.

    • Currently, about 95% of UVA employees are fully vaccinated so this will affect the small percentage of employees who are presently not vaccinated or have not uploaded their vaccine status and are therefore conducting weekly prevalence testing.

      • As of October 18th, 289 full-time employees and 208 temporary wage employees were prevalence testing /p>

    • By October 28th we will provide additional information on the medical or religious exemption process. Those with exemptions will need to continue prevalence testing.

    • We have discussed the Senate’s role if we have faculty members who are not granted an exemption and do not want to vaccinate along with Maite Brandt-Pearce, Anda Webb and John Kosky.

    • As of now, this mandate applies only to UVA employees, it does not apply to contractors, volunteers, or visitors.

    • Per Counsel’s reading of the Executive Order, remote workers (who are employees) will be required to be vaccinated which is a change. This does not apply to remote workers working outside of the US.

    • The Office of Sponsored Research in concert with the counsel’s office is providing language that can be provided to subcontractors.

  • Searches have been launched for the Dean of Nursing and Dean of Education

    • If you know of any potential, promising candidates, please let us know.

  • Grand Challenges Research Effort

    • 5 research areas: Democracy, Environmental Resilience and Sustainability, Precision Medicine, the Brain and Neuroscience, and Digital Technology and Society

    • This year we are focusing on Environmental Resilience and Sustainability and the Brain and Neuroscience and we have organized conferences of people involved in those fields at UVA to advise on what would be smart investments for the University to make to move the needle in our research and impact in these two areas.

  • Q&A

Q: If faculty have a federal grant and they contract with others, will the University follow up with those contractors on getting verification?
A: Most federal grants are not federal contracts. Office of Sponsored Research is going to provide to any researcher who needs it the language for subcontractors. If it’s relevant to a faculty member, OSP will contact them.

Q: Will the new Democracy Institute foster any kind of diversity of political deliberation and the exploration of ideological diversity? Is there’s an environment at the University where we can have exchanges about the beauty of moderation; about being a moderate?
A: One of the goals of the Karsh Institute is to bring together the many units at the University who study democracy while they all still maintain their full identities and diverse missions. One of the theories of the Institute is that we might project all the work that we do here at UVA and have a broader impact on the world if we were working in concert. Melody Barnes, the inaugural director of the Institute, has an advisory board that includes representatives of the many entities doing this work across Grounds so having civil and reasoned conversations across lines of all sorts of differences is very much on the agenda for the Institute. The UVA Today story talks about that as one of the present challenges of democracy. You probably also know about the Democracy Dialogues where people who disagree on questions of of fact and value get together and talk in a way that models civil discourse which strikes me as the heart of what a university should be about both in our teaching and research missions.

The President’s Office in concert with Student Affairs and our office is in regular contact with student organizations that are devoted to conversation across lines of difference and is amplifying their work and asking how we can help. Last year we appointed a committee to be clear about articulating the University’s commitment to robust free expression and the free exchange of ideas which produced an excellent statement.

One Small Step is an offshoot of Story Corps designed to have people who disagree with one another over matters that are significant and important talk to one another. We’re the first university to partner with One Small Step. We launched an initial event last week and the events are ongoing:

UFM Report

Adam Daniel, Vice Provost for Planning and Bill Ashby, Associate Vice President for Financial Strategy shared a brief report about the new University Financial Model (UFM).

Provost Magill noted that the new model will make multi-year planning much easier, will make the budget model radically simpler, will create a real connection between the revenue available to pay for central service costs which are coming from the University Tax and the central service cost growth and the slight change in the tuition algorithm is going to take some important pressure off the pursuit of a fixed pool of undergraduate student credit hours which will be helpful moving toward thinking about strategic enrollment planning.

The full report was provided to senators via email.

What Can Financial/Budget Models Do (and Not Do)

  • Serve as management tool

    • Encourage behavior and budgetary decision that advance an institution’s goals and strategies

  • Structure financial relationships

    • Allocate revenues and expenses across the institution

    • Structure financial authority

      • Previous model held most authority centrally

      • More decentralized models (like UFM) allocate out to the schools

  • They do not themselves create new revenues or eliminate costs

  • They do not serve as a substitute for sound leadership and decision-making-they support it

Goals for UFM Revisions

  • Align Incentives

    • Reduce unproductive competition among schools

    • Better support cross-school collaboration

  • Reduce Complexity

    • Simplify the model, make it easier to understand and administer

    • Ease compliance with state policy and reporting requirements

  • Generate Sustainable Strategic Funding

    • Strategic funding needs to grow with the institution

  • Better Support Multi-Year Planning

    • Improve predictability of revenue and expense for schools

    • Support effective multi-year planning for Central Service units

  • Better Align Academic & Administrative Planning

    • Synchronize budgeting processes between Revenue Centers (Schools) and Central Service units

Major Recommendations

  • Dispense with Allocating Central Services costs and Implement a Simple, Flat “University Tax” of 22%

    • Allows schools to know their tax cost at the start of budgeting and estimate it for future years

    • Allows Central services to budget at the same time as the schools, not 6 months beforehand

    • Supports better-informed allocation of central resources

    • Significantly simplifies the system, making it easier to understand, maintain and plan within

  • Shift the Undergraduate Tuition Allocation from 75/25 to 60/40 (School of Instruction/School of Enrollment)

    • Diminishes unproductive internal competition for a fixed pool of undergraduates

    • Discourages course and program duplication from school to school

    • Modestly shifts incentives from a focus on acquiring student credit hours to managing enrollments

  • Create a Sustainable Pool of Funds for reallocation within the UFM

    • Diversifies central sources for reallocation beyond just the State General Fund

    • Funding available for reallocation will grow over time

    • Gives University leaders some discretion to direct a portion of fund flows within the model over time

Implementation of UFM revisions

  • Holding meetings with Dean, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and other University leaders

  • UFM changes will take effect with FY22-23 budget development

  • Budget meetings with schools and units in winter 2022 to finalize FY22-23 budgets

  • Process complete with presentation of budget to BOV in June


Q: If we’re increasing the pool of central funding, where is that money coming from that’s now able to be spent?
A: We’re taking a long view. It will take some time to build up a robust pool of sources for reallocation. There are currently some one-time fund sources centrally that we’re using to seed this pool so over time it will come out of the tax revenue from the schools not spent on central services. The purpose is not to generate funds to support “central” initiatives but to reinvest in the mission of the university.

Q: Students are heedless of where their revenue flows, they're looking for quality courses, they're voting with their feet. So instead of thinking in terms of 75/25 or 60/40 why don't we think in terms of the actual marginal cost to the school of enrollment when a student goes and takes a class somewhere else and charge somewhere else that marginal cost?
A: This is the place where we struggled with balancing the value of simplicity versus complexity. We did spend a lot of time trying to do some cost analysis. The 60/40 versus the 75/25 is not anchored in a detailed cost analysis. It's really thinking about it in a more consequentialist sense of what kind of signals we are trying to send about what's important.

Q: For us (Commerce), this results in a decline in tuition and increase in expenses. I've heard that there's a negotiated Provost support type of element built into the model. Is it true that the new model when it takes into consideration scoping or comparison to other business schools-looking at 4-year vs. 2-year comparisons?
A:  The position that the Provost has taken going into the FY23 budget process is to hold every school 85% harmless and have a conversation about the 15% difference during the budget discussion. There is no sense that the current level of subvention reflected on day one is not necessarily right; it’s a snapshot based on a moment in time.

Q: How does the new model impact revenue that comes through development?
A: You’re asking whether there would be an opportunity to get some central benefit from some of the fundraising that happens in the schools? This is not a goal we’ve though about pursuing. I don’t think the new UFM would move things much in terms of how much tax revenue would come off development. There are ways it does support the university general philanthropy does, and that is through the assessments. There's an endowment fee that's a half of a percent that is assessed off the endowment, and that is returned fully to the school. There's another portion that goes to help offset the cost of central development itself and those mechanisms are independent of the UFM.

New Business

Susan Kirk, Chair, shared a few brief updates.

  • President Ryan conveys his apologies for not being able to attend today’s meeting, he is traveling on University business.

  • A reminder that very few faculty are not vaccinated at this point. Those who do fail to become vaccinated or receive the appropriate exemptions will go through the same process that we talked about last month for mandatory testing. If anyone reaches the point of termination for noncompliance, they will have gone through the notification process and ahead of that there will be a three-member panel of the Faculty Senate, who will review the process if the faculty member opts into that. Only after that process could it potentially go to the Grievance Committee whose stance is that if procedures have been followed normally, they would not hear it as a grievance.

  • A reminder about the nominating committee: we do allow nominations from the floor, so if you're not ready to reach out to the nominating committee there is an opportunity for someone to either nominate you or for self-nominations.

  • We will start to solicit dates for the spring semester meetings. We'll try to be as encompassing as possible so that we can maximize attendance.

  • We have one last Full Senate meeting left for this semester, November 16 2:00-4:00pm. If there are items that you'd like to hear about, please send them to Susan Kirk.

Robert Patterson initiated motion to adjourn meeting; Jim Fitz-Gerald seconded.

Meeting adjourned

4:52 PM