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Faculty Senate Updated on International Programs, New Budget Model Being Considered, Gov.'s Higher Ed Commission

December 8, 2010 — The University of Virginia's Faculty Senate received an update Monday on the University's international activities, programs and opportunities.

Dudley Doane, director of U.Va.'s International, Summer and Special Academic Programs, outlined the programs to the senate in the Rotunda Dome Room.

International programs bring the world to U.Va., take U.Va. out into the world and foster collaboration to create global knowledge, Doane said. There are 2,700 international students at U.Va., as well as 372 foreign scholars, 230 international faculty and 377 professional and classified staff.

"We send about 2,000 students abroad a year, studying in 62 countries," Doane said. "About 40 percent of our four-year students study abroad at some point."

The University sends students to many countries, including Spain, the United Kingdom, France, China and Italy, and offers 23 language programs, both during the school year and in the summer.

"We have a robust summer language program, with many overseas options," Doane said.

The University also maintains more than 60 centers and institutes dealing with international education. During the 2009-10 school year, it held 148 lectures, 159 special events and films, 104 informational sessions, extracurricular classes and club meetings and seven exhibitions. There is a wide array of channels for students and faculty to learn about foreign programs, he said.

For the faculty, the Center for International Studies offers grants, seminars, conferences, fellowships and research groups and a global educational program.

Doane also said the University also works closely with students and researchers going to foreign countries to promote risk management and establish ethical standards to deal with some of the complexities of working and conducting research in an unfamiliar place.

A senator asked what was classified as a global program. Doane said this was an on-going discussion, since many classes and events touched on the University's global focus.

"This is part of who we are," he said. "Twenty years ago if there was a discussion of internationalization, we had to push to get people to think differently."

One senator expressed concern that students may be confused by the number of choices they have, but Doane said there is an online workshop for all students considering study abroad and that there are different levels of support in each of the University's schools.

Students Outline 'Let's Get Grounded'

Two student leaders, Danielle L. Macgregor and Kelsey R. Host, presented an update on the Let's Get Grounded program, a student-run initiative to change the social norm of bystander behavior by encouraging students, faculty and staff to recognize and react to safety and bias issues. Students founded the program in the aftermath of the slaying last spring of fourth-year women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

The students said that bystanders are more likely to become involved in a situation if they are alone and much less likely to get involved if there is a crowd.

Macgregor and Host said Let's Get Grounded is offering 90-minute training sessions on overcoming the "bystander effect" with concrete steps students can apply. They said about 850 students, faculty and staff have gone through the training.

They encouraged the senators to visit the Let's Get Grounded website.

Sullivan Discusses Budget Process, Governor's Commission Proposals

University President Teresa A. Sullivan addressed the senate on several topics, including a new budget model and the work of Gov. Bob McDonnell's Commission on Higher Education.

Sullivan told the senators she was considering a budget model that would shift the major responsibilities for the academic budget from the executive vice president and chief operating officer to the provost, creating a "strong provost" model. She said this budget model also gives deans incentives to cut costs within their own organizations.

"The provost allocates funds to the deans based on the funds they generate through enrollment, research grants, projects, etcetera," Sullivan said. "The model allows the deans to be more entrepreneurial and helps them align their budget with their academic priorities."

Sullivan said the governor's commission recently recommended increased enrollments of Virginian residents; increases in science, technology, engineering and math degrees; better-optimized use of facilities; greater research collaboration; and more technology-enhanced instruction. She said these recommendations align well with many of the University's priorities.

She said U.Va. has offered to increase enrollment, especially of students studying science, technology, engineering and math; to begin offering an accelerated three-year bachelor's degree, coupled with a one-year master's degree; to increase facility use; to increase adult enrollment and degrees; and to implement more technology-enhanced education.

She also said U.Va. is working with several other colleges on a proposed plan to increase the use of technology in teaching.

Sullivan told the senators that she believed the Board of Visitors would maintain the current 70-30 ratio of in-state to out-of-state students and could boost total enrollment by 1,400 undergraduate and 100 graduate students. But she said this growth would not be managed without adequate facilities, financial aid packages, faculty and staff" to serve the new students and protect the undergraduate experience." She said she expects the state to provide adequate funding for the additional students.

"If U.Va. will grow, we will grow with purpose, and that purpose is to educate more students from Virginia and outside Virginia with ever-improving quality and at a reasonable price and backed by a strong financial program," she said.

She said the governor's recommendations will generate discussion and legislative proposals for the upcoming legislative session.

In responding to questions from the senators, Sullivan said U.Va. could provide more services for in-state residents through technology and collaborations with other universities and colleges in the state, such as offering language education through schools that have less extensive language departments.

"Coming to Grounds for four years is not the only way to achieve a degree," she said, adding that there are thousands of state residents who have some college credits and are seeking to complete a degree while continuing their employment and family responsibilities.

— By Matt Kelly

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