The New Year Is Already Presenting Its Challenges

December 16, 2011 — Think 2011 was busy? Wait until you see 2012. A quick look into the crystal ball shows that we at the University of Virginia will have a lot on our collective plates. (Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball will reveal things in 2012, too, but that's another story.)

Aligning Money with the Mission

Resourcing the University's core missions of teaching, research, patient care and service is the focus of the new internal financial model, which will continue to be developed in '12. Creating and instituting the model – one of President Teresa A. Sullivan's highest priorities since she took office in August 2010 – "will encourage entrepreneurship among deans and the faculty while also creating greater accountability," she said. Implementation is anticipated for the 2013-14 budget cycle.

Growing Enrollment

Responding to recommendations of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's Commission on Higher Education Reform and related legislation, the Board of Visitors voted in February to further expand enrollment – assuming the General Assembly follows through on promises to fund the costs of enrollment growth.

The board in September affirmed the University's six-year plan, which includes an expansion of undergraduate enrollment by 1,673 students by the 2018-19 academic year and development of options to accelerate degrees, such as "3+1" programs.

Dealing With Growth

The University, and particularly the College of Arts & Sciences, will need to hire hundreds of faculty members to not only serve more students, but also to replace retiring faculty. The College announced a $2.9 million, three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that provides seed funding for up to  10 new faculty members in the humanities.

Another concern is the future of AccessUVa, the University's comprehensive financial aid program, which is under stress from growing enrollment and greater need among students. The Board of Visitors in June launched what it called "a philosophical dialogue" aimed at ensuring the program's long-term sustainability, and the examination will continue in 2012.

Building the Grounds

The pace of construction will slow a little, but still about a dozen major projects are under way, including the ongoing replacement of the Alderman Road residence halls, the Battle Building – which will centralize children's care at the U.Va. Medical Center – and the three-year renovation of New Cabell Hall. The new year should see the completion of the Newcomb Hall dining expansion and the Drama Building expansion featuring the Ruth Caplin Thrust Theatre.

Extensive repair the Rotunda roof is likely to begin early in the year. The potential loss of magnolia trees in the courtyard and the timing of the work, however, are still under discussion, Sullivan wrote to students in November.

— By Marian Anderfuren

Media Contact

Marian Anderfuren

Director of Media Relations U.Va. Media Relations