2-21-14 UVA BOV Strategic plan meeting

2-21-14  BOV  10:00 am

( there was a closed session on Audit and Compliance prior to this that ran over by 15 minutes))

Meeting on Diversity .Running behind time, so went right into presentation.

They show a video about some of the 25 programs UVA presented as part of the MLK celebration.

Presidents Commission on Slavery and the University  ( PCSU)  :

Report on the contributions of slave labor to the University

There were several interested groups and he goes thru them

He reviews the charge

There is me an interpretive/interactive media center at the Rotunda.

There are 3  plaques on campus

He shows a picture of the newly discovered gravesite of African Americans

There is a plan to  fence the gravesite with split rails and stone

So far they have developed a website., and a brochure.

Approved a post –doc research position

They are creating a National Advisory Board and a Local Advisory Board.


Oct 16 & 17 will have a symposium
Universities Confronting the Legacy of Slavery.

Will also have a grave site commemorations.

W&M has a project , Md, Emory , SC, and other schools  have projects.

Sarah: professor of economics.:

Giving update on the Faculty Salary Study.:

There is a task force working on this.

Adequate salary: leads to getting and retaining faculty.

The tasks are to agree on methodology for analysis, review findings and draft a report.

Focus is on Tenure and Tenure Tract faculty outside of the medical center.

Limitations: Only responsibility for measurement, to assess demographic differences .

in salaries. Accounting for differences in length of services, difference in different fields. They have been working with data from 2012 and now from 2013.

There is a report due at the end of the term.

There will be a first report/ overview of the analysis

will be a more academic paper with background material.

Think of the report as the beginning of the process that will lead to further examination.

Delay in producing the report is  because of competing demands.

Sullivan: felt the equity measurement was important, but believes faculty better judge of their peers,

However there is a need to have a quantitative analysis as well, and legal duty to see that faculty are equitably compensated.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BOV Governance workshop 2-20-14

2-20-14 BOV Meeting:  Governance committee meeting 8;46.

Governance Workshop. Richard P.  Chait leads discussion.

This will be a 3 hour workshop.

We will try to  post the video later

Think about how we think about and how we practice governance.

Chait will leave a copy of the slides with Susan Harris.

If we can elevate the boards purposes, can elevate its performance

goal: consistency, constructively, consequential governance.


Context: academic Culture

Modes: Rolls and Responsibilities

Dynamics: Board Culture

Mechanics: Structure and procedures

Most boards deal with facts, and it is the least consequential.

will discuss these in order with an eye to best practices.

(note, if this is successful, I think the video of this would make great board training for new members,

talks of the different between U’s and corporations.



Corps: maximize profits mindful of social responsibility

U’s       maximize prestige mindful of public interest.


DiNardo suggests using term :maximize excellence” instead of word prestige.


Corps  expand market share

U’s       expand mind share

Chait points out that in education, the more customers you turn away,( as well as  the better quality of the students, and faculty) ,   the value of the product increases.   You don’t see takeovers, very few are in search of bitter.

corp : compete on output

U’s     compete on input


corp: dynamic competition

U’s     stable competition

44% of companies that were publically traded 20 (?) years ago, no longer exist.

Competition and intensity change all the time.


corps newer generally better

U’s      older generally better.

University’s live in a world of stable competition. The in the top 20 Public U’s, the newest one was established 60 years ago

In the private, 1891 was the most recent

Note: U of  Phoenix was great stock for 3 years, now in decline in students and as a stock

Any product you get in grocery is new and improved
In education, older is better.

U’s sell tradition.

You don’t see Princeton 2014

1913 first rankings of U’s. of those, 10 are still in the list.

The 5 that disappeared were all publics. No publics in the top 20.

Uva is # 25.



Corp “ Proprietary  strategy

U’s public strategy


Corp board of prominent peers focused on shareholder value

U’s board of prominent citizens swamped by multiple missions


Corp strategies are private

U’s  strategies are public, can get opposition and tell competition what you are doing


Corp  growth by substitution.

U’s     growth by accretion


Businesses exit unprofitable lines

U’s have an obligation to keep unprofitable departments. That’s why they are non-profit.

Academic communities add more than they substitute


Corp increase margins

U;s   increase subsidy

People want the best value for the least price.

Try to maximize the difference cost of the product  and the cost to the customer.

Students are looking for the best deal and you will get better students.

We pay for the best students.


Can’t prune your courses based on profitability

Ford can get rid of Pontiac brand, while U can’t get rid of German.


Corp:   definite performance metrics.

You measure less whether the effects of the product that you advertise are met.

U’s      indicative performance


Corp     concentrated authority.

U’s     disperse authority.


U’s move slower, sometimes what appears to be a glacial pace.


Corp: Boards of peers focusd on shareholder value

U’s     Boards of prominent citizens swamped by multiple missions.

Corp Have expertise in the field, and often picked by CEO

U’s  Not just shareholder value

So many other issues: athletics, economic engine.


There are 2  kinds of trustees.

First he notes: In Math: there are those who understand it and those who don’t

 When you go to England, and other Commonwealth Countries :

There are  those who say they drive on the wrong side of uthe road and

 Those who say they drive on the other side of the road.

When you realize, that’s how they do it, and it works the same as our way

You have to understand it.

When you come into a University you have to  understand it


The collegial compromise: Monday drive on the left, Tuesday Drive on the right.

Notes in the academic world: When you decide you need to change,

Unequivically you need to change.

But do it gradually

10 originally companies of the original Dow Jones, only 1 still exits.

But universities are durable.


Top  25 public  Us’    152 years old

Top  25 private U’s    187  years old

Top 25 private colleges 181 years

UVa 195 years

Top 35 regional colleges in Midwest 123 years.


Q. Should they still exist

Chait: Trustees don’t want them to fail.  Its an emotional decision.


Q. is the same emotion tied to programs.  ( I understood) point of the question was really about UVA holding on to Departments

A. Sometimes decisions are made to stay alive, but he things they meet a market test. Someone says I want it and will pay for it.


RIP Notable Colleges and Universities.

There are none on the list

Dinardo:  Many of the Catholic colleges merged in the 1960’s and 70’s

It was a painful decision, and there was an hierarchy that was able to make those decision

This is the end of Context portion of the program


Martin asks about publics losing ground

Chait:   notes that the publics are losing ground..

Some of the privates have dropped, but haven’t fallen off a cliff.


I fly a lot. Would you put me on the board of Boeing.

I have a checking account, would you put me on the board of a bank.

You can’t change a culture if you don’t understand it in the first place.


Dragas: we should not  be driven my rankings but by prestige

She talks aabout Student aid,

State funding in decline



Under what circumstances would a decline in prestige undermine mission

Would pursuit of mission over prestige be  something to consider.


Corporations looks at whether social responsibility is to be considered over just profits.


Chait hands out a qustionaire that he would like everyone to fill out anonymously and it will be tabulated, to see how the board thinks on hypothetical problems that have occurred other places.

He now hands out an anonymous survey that they will come back to later.to answer who decides what.

12 not so hypothetical. They include issues that have arisen on other campuses.



Dinardo: not comfortable with this because It becomes public

Chait: when you do this, it becomes my property

Dinardo: I think it is public

Chait suggest Martin make the call on this.

Martin says DiNardo does not have to do this

Chait says he will share the results with the board of what they think.

He will take them home and they are his

The results will be public.


Dragas: is there a right and wrong answer

Martin these are hypothetical questions . He doesn’t see a problem.

Final decision, if you are comfortable fill it in and if not, don’t

Chait: trying to see the underlying principals by which you as a board decide.

Silence and it appears that most people are filling this out.



Q posed by Chait:

Should the Boston Museum of Fine Arts lend 12 Monet painting  to the Bellagio in Las Vegas?

Presume: You are the collections committee of the Museum

What should you ask? The board comes up with the following:

  1. climate
  2. security
  3. why do you want to do this.  : possible good answer. Exposure to  the masses to the arts, why should art be for the sliver, prestige, publicity,   how much are you getting $ for this.
  4. Effect on donors. : can tick off donors in Boston, but also get more donations. What does this do to our image?
  5. What effect will this have on attendance and the museum.
  6. Territorial control: who controls display in Vegas
  7. Opportunity to do something else in the  museum
  8.  Why does management want to do this and how strongly do they feel about this.


None of the board  has expertise in this field. They did this as a   collective effort

Maybe one person in the room could have come to these questions, but it was faster as a group


Instinctively thought about the 3 roles that the board should play


Insurance, security, donor restrictions, timeline, curatorial control


Strategic  effect on attendance, image, audiences, prototype deal, competitive responses, Possible  tie ins Vegas in Boston



What the mission, Will MFA do anything for the right price

Public art/private dealer

Venue consistent with values. MFA conservative or iconoclastic

Commercial or civic


They did the deal and it was successful, they did others

Huge attendance.

Were paid $1 million

Boston critics decried it,


Louvre loaned art and name of the Louvre to Abu Dabhi. for $550 million.


10 minute break.   Start again at 10:30

Looking at the 3 rolls that boards play

1. Fiduciary:

Stewardship of Tangible Assets: oversight

Boards Principal role/ Responsibility

Guardian/ Oversight.


Board’s Core work

  1. determine pursue and refine mission
  2. Ensure quality, integrity, sustainability
  3. Oversee and audit finances and risk
  4. monitor performance and progress
  5. Safeguard institutional values, reputation, autonomy
  6. Select , support and evaluate president.

Value added Fiduciary Work.

You are a steward and a guardian

Oversight     &    Inquiry:
due diligence    hold what in trust for him

Scandal free:     safeguards in place

In compliance: Voluntary measures to earn trust

Can we afford it:     what the opportunity cost

Clean audit insights from Audit

Budget balanced:     budget matches priorities


I didn’t get all of this.


Strategic mode:

Board central purpose: strategic partnership with senion management.


Boards principal role/responsibility

Strategic/ foresight


Board’s core work.

Understand internal and external environments

Ensure  sensitive feasible comprehensive strategy

Monitor performance and progress


Value added strategic work

Boards are better as strategic thinking

Strategic planning  vs strategic thinking

Thinking about what matters most.   Does not come from SWAT analysis, but from active thinking.


Board is to think

Strategic.   thinking

Do we understand past, what’s the idea, what’s the superior insight, what are the intended outcomes, challenges to status quo, sure signs of success new markets, non traditional competitors, customer appeal, proprietary advantages.

Board to raise strategic issues, test it, not to make the strategic plan.

Generative Mode

Purposes; Decide what merits attention and what I means

Roll & responsibility


Core work

Make sense of circumstances

Find and frame problems and opportunities

Reconcile realities, values and choices.


Hs has a great graph of the work of a board.  ( 11:44)

Generative   strategic   fiduciary.

Board purpose

Chief role

Core work

Value added



Next imagse:


The Generative Curve.


Competition for Students

On what issues are we competition. Start first with looking at generative .

What business are we in, what is our model.

Look at MIT. They don’t name buildings, not selling amenities.


One school has class discount for classes on Friday after 3 pm


What will you build to appeal to students.

What about grade inflations. At Harvard 80% of students get !’s.


Catering to consumers.


Generative is not thinking out of the box. Its not separate from all other activity. All 3 parts matter, but generative is where you start.



Donor wants you to give you all this money and tell you  where they want you to put i



Board should tackle questions that don’t have obvious answers and require values based decisions.


Slide of “Board looking for hidden agenda”  they are all under and around the board room looking for something.


Pertinent practices,: Elevated Purpose


With management, decide what to decide

Focus on the “main thing”

Get the questions right

Develop rolling 12 month agenda for board and committees

  UVa has it for committees. Should do it for board.

Wear “tri-focals” to analyze issues

Close trustee and staff knowledge gap on key issues

Ponder what CEO suggests. Suggest what CEO should ponder

Substitute high value added for low value added activity

Apply corporate standards of relevance.


Make sure the main thing is really the main thing. That’s the first order of business.

Why are you doing what you are doing.?
Is this the most important work of the institution.


What is it that keeps the president awake at night. How can Board contribute to helping


One best practice is get this right.

Good governance and good research start with good questions


BOARD CULTURE: A huge intangible asset.

Its sensitive, about dynamics and behavior

Share values and beliefs  define acceptable behavior


Group dynamics underpins the  board’s ability to do its job


Its hard to teach behavior.


He has a chart of a healthy and unhealthy board culture

Hard to do on non-profit. Board. Just come together 4 times a year. Hard to build relationships. Everyone has been a leader, and comes here and is a in a different role

Not the quarterback but on  the offensive

Don’t chose your board members, hard to build the team. Lost of turnover.



Team players: this is critical.

Distributed influence

Collective wisdom

Charismatic listeners

Institutional perspective

Constructive dissent

Candid exchanges



Mutual accountability

Respect and trust

Clear expectations.



He suggests doing an exercise to look at the culture of the board now, and look at what the goals are for 2 years from now. How to get there



State and honor mutual expectations: Have a statement about this

Orient newcomers to board culture

Set goals and benchmarks for board

Self-assess Board, committees, overall performance

Seek management assessment at least annually

Collectively interpret and utilize evaluative data

Fortify role of Governance Committee

Establish position description and succession plan for Chair

Epitomize performance accountability



He reads from UT new guidelines that their board has put together.

Reads from Williams College guidelines for board behavior


Need to have a collective sense of norms



What do you wish you know now that you wish you knew when you joined the board.


Boards don’t want to be measured.

Where do you spend your time? What % of your time was well spent.

That’s like sending 60 cents out of every dollar are well spent.

How helpful are we to management? How do we know.



Pertinent Pracices: Organize to do the work

Strategy drives structure. Not vice versa

Board drives committees ,not vice versa

Synchronize Bards work and  U’s prioritize


Have board chairs meet together once  a year


Selectively deploy task forces


Substantively engage constituents, round tables about specific topic.


One board has off site meetings with leaders of constituencies


PERTINENT PRACICES: Make meetings meaningful and interesting.


Specify objectives


Organize around strategic themes


Create   efficiencies:


Consent agenda

On-line updates

Advance surveys

Performance dashboards

Committee flash reports

Contacts for clarification.


Highlight opportunities for BOV to add value


Seek real time feed-back from management.

Ask if you are being helpful.


When you see people disengage around the room. You know you may have a problem


Pertinent Practices: Promote Robust Discourse.


Distribute discussion question in advance.


Minimize staff presentations

maximize board discussion

invite board participation, elicit constructive dissent


Vary format;

Breakout groups

Anonymous input

One minute memos

Constituent views

Advocacy panels

Silent starts

Case studies/ hypotheticals

Experimental learning.


Break out groups can allow for more candid conversation.


Hand out index cars and write opinion and pass around and have others read them out, so you don’t know who said it, but you know the sense of the group.




WHAT BEST EXPLAINS UVAS recent successes and setbacks


What’s UVA’s value proposition.


Best University or best value


What is UVA’s theory of change


Pertinent Pracices: promote Robust Discourse


At end of discussion need to synthesize the discussion.

Designate someone in advance to summarize the discussion and what is the message we are telling management and ask management.


don’t leave the room till you know what’s next.

Synthesize, implications and follow up



Provide a strategic asset and comparative advantage

Pursue elevated purpose to achieve elevated performance

Focus on the “main things” and the right questions Partner with the president , share ownership of problems

Focus on fusion of thinking not demarcation of territory

Accept individual responsibility and collective accountability

Model behaviors trustees want the university to exhibit.



He believes quality board governance will determine which schools  do the best


Young drivers see just over the hood

The best drivers are out to the horizon and come back and look in the review mirror.


This is doubles tennis.

You are both on the same sides of the net.

There are lines on the court.

But most important is what is out of bounds.


President of Tufts would start every meeting:
My problems are your problems. I’m so glad you’re here.


Its 11:45, running over time.

Nau asks, what are the next steps

He and Robertson and Dick Chait have talked about this.


Nau says, this is a whole new set of facts

1 Survey the board on perceptions

2. Chait interview members of the board.

3. then interview senior staff

4. share data with BOV



Would create assessment of Board as it is , and steps to improve the board’s effectiveness.


Nau says: had not seen the material before. He recommends that they keep him engaged.


Robertson: we need to look at setting mutual practices of norms of behavior

The idea of setting goals for the board is novel, and this committee should consider it


Genovese: If you survey the board, it becomes public.  How do you do this.


Martin; its all in how you do the survey.  What are the questions you ask.

Less suggestive


Nau: as long as we are focused on improvement,

If the target is better performance


Genovese: as long as its told in that manner.


Martin: I will look to the committee to develop the format

Dinardo: perhaps there are things we can work on now, that are more tactical.

Dragas: should make more time in the agenda to have discussions like this

. Want to engage Chait, but needs to know the cost and where the money is coming  from.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BOV Retreat August 2013: FOIA Presentaton

Here are my unedited notes


8-2-13 BOV Retreat 8:50- 9:45 PRESENTATION ON FOIA.
Note Vice Rector Goodwin is not present.
A really good presentation.
Speaker notes that there are 2 attorneys represent the FOIA council
Maria quotes from Johnny Guitar Watson’s song about FOIA ( someone should find and post the link)
Open meeting laws and shows how one would feel if they are a citizen. She gives examples about a local school board, You expect the schools board or local government to follow the law.
As a public official you need to stay in touch with your citizen self. YOu must stay in touch with your citizen self. The members of BOV have agreed to step onto a public stage willingly.
Government is not always efficient. But everyone works hard to do the public’s business.
You as BOV members are the government. You have to afford every opportunity for citizens to watch the business of government. Public hearings and comments are not required, but every time you have a meeting you have to have the public there to witness it
FOIA has a default rule. If you are not sure if its a meeting, the default rule is its open.
Your number one client is the people.
Open to the public, has to be a notice and there has to be minutes of the meeting.
Staff gives the notice and the minutes.
BOV only requirement is to meet publicly.
If 3 or more of the members discussing the business of you business, that is a meeting.
The rule protects the rest of the board that 3 or more members cannot meet without you the board members knowing about it. You have choices, keep your numbers down or keep your mouth shut.
If you come early to a meeting, ca 3 or more of you talk, its a meeting. If you car pool and talk about the public business, its a meeting.
When you are talking about the public’s business you reach decisions. The deliberative process should be done in public, not just having votes of issues already decided.
If you go to a trade association thing that BOV may have, the FOIA council has an opinion , those are not meetings under FOIA, but, if you then talk about application of what you’ve learned with 3 members, can’t do it.
Noah’s ark rule: 2×2 you can do whatever you want.
FOIA balances the need of government to function vs the right of access.
IF you do it by email, it is a public record. Doesn’t matter what equptment you use. Emails can be a meeting, if 3 or more are on the same email or instant chat and simultaneous discussion and you are talking about business. Suggests you use your staff to moderate the emails you send between each other.
If someone sues you for violating the law, you have to pay the costs of the lawsuit. If you violate knowingly and willfully, there is a monetary penalty per violation of $2500. . Don’t use reply all to have on line discussion.

Sub- committees. They are also public bodies and have to follow the law.
2 people on a 3 person sub committee is a quorum, so it has to be public.

This is not convenient. She says convenience does not belong to the government. If you want to move things along, have a meeting. If we only did things that worked for us, it goes to a bad place.

Voting must always occur in an open session.
To close a meeting must have a statement of purpose, subject and a code site. You have to say the purpose: Sample of subject, purchase of propery, evaluation of …
Your minutes will document whether or not you have a subject.
You have to stay on topic in the closed meeting.
Usually your lawyer will bring you back to topic.
You can vote in a closed session , but it does not count.
Procedurally you have to certify that the closed meeting followed the rules and that you stayed don topic. Anything you decide in closed session until you make a motion that identifies the subject matter, such as we vote to purchase the property that was discussed in the closed session.
Sometimes you don’t decide in the closed session, tell the public you have not decided.
1 copy of the agenda materials must be provided for the public somewhere after the BOV has been notified. They encourage people to bring copies of he agenda to the meeting. If you refer the public to the materials, the public should be able to look at those materials as well. If you say turn to page 36, bring copies for the public to see.
State bodies are allowed to have E-meetings. Have to have 5 people in one location and others can call in from locations that are both noted, and are accessible to the public.

If there is an interruption in the transmission, the meeting has to stop until the transmission is restored!

If you can’t make the meeting , stalled en route, sick morning of the meeting, you can call in with vote by the board . Can do it 2 times a year.
Stuff happens. Medical condition: you can call in at all times.

Dragas: I think we have been advised that someone can call in but not participate.

Maria: you can, when an individual has a personal problem, you can ask for permission to call in. But you are limited.

There is a rule where they can listen, but not counted as present.
If the meeting is not set up as an e-meeting, you can let them call in and monitor and not take part. No permission required for this.

Suggestion that the remote location be a community college, or something. Have it so that the public can attend, even if the remote member does not show up. You can have it in your house, but people can come in your house.

FOUCH: If Board member loses connection, or the board member hangs up before the meeting ends. If transmission is lost, they have to pause the meeting. IF board member leaves, they need to keep the transmission open.

Suppose the board member wants to walk away and no member of the public is present.

Maria: says that’s a hard question. The default rule is when in doubt go to openness. It doesn’t mean someone couldn’t show up later. The location should stay open.

Dragas: It seems to me we need to deliberate more in public than we do. We try to have things wrapped up tightly and bring it to the board. We should learn from the last year and take more time in our board meetings for deliberation. No one’s particular fault here. She offers this as an observation. Perhaps put time into the meetings.

Genovese: if you have 2 hours for a meeting, should you post that

Maria, yes, better if you post that.

It may be a political problem, not a FOIA question if you talk about this
You cannot have a closed session to talk about the behaviour of a board member.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BOV meeting 5-20-13

5-20-13, 12:49 pm UVA BOV meeting called to order in the Rotunda
NOTE: There are 5 chairs available for the press and the public.

docket for the meeting http://www.virginia.edu/bov/meetings/13may/%2713%20MAY%20DOCKET%20with%20attachment.pdf

Intro, then Hurd Report & Sullivan Report
There is a book above the architecture of UVA and a book of poetry and prose by 4th years that are being given to the board.
Dragas reads her statement.
She talks about the 4 BOV members who will be leaving the board.
Mac Caputo, Hilary Hurd, Diamonstein and Mastracco. 3 have termed out, and Hilary, the student rep. 2 VP’s are also leaving. She will say more about all of them at Tuesday’s meeting.
She wants to start with their new tradition to allowing the student board member to make remarks.
Hilary gives her report and talks about the strategic planning process. She hopes students ideas will be included in the final plan that will be completed this summer. Talks about the student working group, who were on committees, and the facebook page, “imaging UVA” .

Sullivan’s report: (note: these reports are generally all in the materials on the UVA BOV web site)

Sullivan tells a story about a scientist that was being wooed by other schools, and she was asked to talk to him about staying. He was thinking of going to Stanford, and they had equipment that UVA doesn’t have, It cost $800,000. Sullivan has a $3 million fund she can use. She offered him that if she gave him half the funds, could he raise the rest. And he raised the funds and decided to stay at UVA. But there is more to the story, a drug company increased its funding to UVA from 1 to 1.5 million per year, so that she got a 4.5 million return on her $400,000 investment. Then Gary Owens and his group got another $4 million in NIH grants. Every organization has to invest in itself. She has the fund to invest wisely. But its only 1/10th of 1% of the annual budget. We need to invest in ourselves. Strategic planning is:
1. with whom shall we compete? We are competing with private as well as public college.
2. on what shall we compete? There are places we should not compete.
3. Where do we have the special advantage or characteristic to distinguish UVA from other schools.
Tomorrow BOV will look at a range of ideas, not a final report.
Sullivan talks about the class coming in in August,
They have rebounded in minority students this year. And 2nd largest number of low income students.
There will be 2 Supreme Court cases that will come down this year.
It should not change what UVA does but will change what the competition does.
2 new moocs will be coming on line this year
1 on Jefferson
1 on the Kennedy assassination, Larry Sabato requested to do this

They will have a 2 year health program as well on line.

Alan Taylor will join UVA as a historian. Has won a Pulitzer and Bancroft prize. He is working on a book about Joseph Campbell

She lists other people they have recruited. I presume this is available someplace else if you are interested.

then she reads the gifts and grants report

then approval of minutes

vote to changes the addenda

amendments to miller center by-laws. available on line in the docket.

Full board in recess, and now having committee meetings

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AAUP reports on UVA

The AAUP ( American Assoc of University Professors) investigated the events of last summer and issued a detailed report, faulting Dragas, who refused to talk to them.

It is a great report, giving a complete timeline of events, and analysis of what happened. If you read just one article, this is the one to read.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BOV meetings link for Feb 20-22 & info on attending the meetings.

This is a link to the schedule for the upcoming BOV meetings Feb 20-22 Note, they have stated that they will have more seats for the public, have tickets on a first come basis, will broadcast open BOV meetings live, and have a room in Newcomb where you can also watch the live stream.  There have been improvements in transparency


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NC Governor is more direct in his attact on UNC

This article is important to read. It is another phrasing of the argument against  a quality liberal arts education. The Governor of NC is just clearer in his disdain for those who don’t have money getting to take courses that don’t , to his mind, add to their ability to get a job.

From my experience, the people with a liberal arts education are better qualified for many jobs, and are better at critical thinking and responding to varieties in the work environment


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U of Texas article

This is an article about current attempts to dumb down the University of Texas. a great public institution.  The fight in Texas  is the forefront of the assault on public education across the USA.

We all need to work to make sure our public colleges remain affordable and accessible,but  we also need to  ensure that students have a well rounded quality education, and not just how to be educated for a job.


Texas fight highlights higher ed culture clash

Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 7:20 pm | Updated: 7:22 pm, Sat Feb 2, 2013.

Associated Press |

AUSTIN, Texas — A national clash of cultures in higher education these days could be boiled down to a question about cars.

In an era of budget-cutting and soaring tuition, is there still a place for “Cadillacs” — elite, public research institutions such as the Universities of Texas, Virginia or California-Berkeley that try to compete with the world’s best?

Or is it better to focus on more affordable, efficient options, like the old Chevrolet Bel Air?

In Texas, the debate is on colorful display in a fight over competing visions for the state university’s flagship Austin campus. When Gene Powell — the former UT football player and San Antonio real estate developer who chairs the university’s board of regents — made precisely the Cadillac-versus-Chevy comparison last year, reaction was swift and angry. Convinced the state board was hell-bent on turning their beloved “university of the first class” required by the Texas constitution into a downmarket trade school, faculty, students and alumni rallied behind campus President Bill Powers in protest.

Powell insists he wants UT-Austin to be great — but also accessible, and for students to have options. Republican Gov. Rick Perry and many of his regents think UT’s quest for global prestige has produced too much ivory-tower research, and too little focus on teaching and keeping college affordable for Texans.

In Perry’s push for productivity, many here see something nefarious: a campaign, rooted in a longstanding anti-intellectual strain of Texas politics, to gut a university that shouldn’t have to apologize for being “elite.”

“I just don’t understand why they want to dumb down a public institution of this magnitude,” said Machree Gibson, chair of the Texas Exes, UT’s powerful and independent 99,000-member alumni society, which has pushed back.

The battle is bigger even than Texas. Like-minded governors in Florida, Wisconsin and elsewhere are watching how Perry and his allies fare. Unusually, it’s political conservatives who are the radical reformers, and their opponents the ones digging in to resist upending long-established institutions.

The career casualties are piling up. Over the last 18 months, presidents of 11 of the 35 leading public research universities have quit or been fired. That doesn’t include the University of Virginia, where a reform-minded board fired Teresa A. Sullivan, only to reinstate her two weeks later after a massive revolt from faculty, alumni and others.

But Texas is “ground zero” of the national debate, said Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities. Among the combustible elements: fanatical alumni, an ambitious governor with unique power over his state’s universities, and an influential conservative think-tank — all situated within a few blocks of each other in downtown Austin.


Public research universities, with a mission of both teaching and research, are the “backbone of the nation’s knowledge economy,” said James Duderstadt, the former University of Michigan president who helped lead a recent National Research Council study of the sector.

They produce 70 percent of scientists, engineers and physicians, and two-thirds of U.S. campus research — the value of which isn’t always apparent in advance.

“During the Second World War, it was radar and atomic energy that came off of these campuses that saved us,” Duderstadt said. Before the war, those technologies “looked like the most abstract, frill research.”

But today, the nation’s 101 public research universities are falling behind private competitors. A recent National Science Foundation study found state support for the 101 major public research universities fell 20 percent between 2002 and 2010.

UT-Austin, the flagship of the 216,000-student UT system, is among the biggest. With more than 52,000 students, the university has 3,166 faculty, plus more than 10,000 professional staff. About 10,000 students also have jobs in labs, classrooms, libraries and elsewhere on campus.

Recent discoveries include lithium-ion batteries and the two largest black holes in the universe. The university also has spun off hundreds of companies and helped make Austin a tech hub.

Thirty years ago, Texas taxpayers funded more than half of UT-Austin’s budget. This year, they provide about 13 percent, or $295 million.

But while budget cuts have been devastating, Duderstadt says universities and their growing legions of well-paid administrators haven’t helped their cause with the public.

“They’re just totally deaf, dumb and blind on how the crazy things they do on campuses convince the American people that they don’t have any ability to control costs,” he said.

At UT-Austin, the $10,000 in-state tuition remains lower than comparable schools. But an ascendant group of critics with Perry’s ear thinks the flagship university has lost site of a key mission: affordable and efficient undergraduate education.

“We’ve gone too far in the direction of research at the expense of our students,” said Thomas Lindsay, director of the Center for Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a think-tank with ties to several of Perry’s regents. He cites a (much-disputed) study arguing the research of most UT-Austin faculty isn’t top quality, and that reassigning some research-focused faculty to teach more could halve tuition.

Powell, the regents chair, insists he supports UT-Austin’s research mission, and values its world-class reputation.

But “we are a public institution that [is] paid for by the citizens of the state of Texas,” Powell said. Texas has “a lot of students who cannot afford an institution that is a very high-priced, Ivy League-type institution.”

Many on campus see a clash of fundamentally different visions of the very purpose of a university.

“There seems to be a political move, and it’s not just in Texas, away from the classical mission of the university — cultivation of the mind and pursuit of knowledge — to a concept of a public university as sort of a job corps or a trade school,” said Peter Flawn, who came to Texas more than a half-century ago and was UT-Austin’s president from 1979 to 1985, then again in 1997-98.

In an interview, Flawn, now 86, recounted UT’s efforts to build a world-class university in a state with little history of generously supporting education.

Governors like John Connally and Bill Clements, working with UT loyalists in the Texas legislature, grasped the potential of a great research university to diversify Texas away from a boom-and-bust commodities economy, Flawn said. Donors like Dallas investor Peter O’Donnell, who has given more than $135 million to the university, helped retain world-class researchers who would otherwise have been poached by private institutions.

“It takes a long time to build a first-class university,” Flawn said. “You wonder, how long would it take to destroy one?”

Perry’s made affordability a top priority, and he’s pushed Texas universities to offer degrees costing $10,000 — for all four years. Re-elected with strong Tea Party support to a third term in 2010, he now has unprecedented power, having appointed all 60 regents of Texas’ six public higher education systems. Perry and his regents have encouraged Texas public universities to expand enrollment and online offerings.

But critics complain the effort is hurting quality to boost quantity. Early alarm bells rang with a push from Texas A&M regents for business-like metrics for faculty productivity, reporting how much faculty “made” or “lost” for the university. Worries grew when the UT board briefly hired a consultant who was openly skeptical of the value of academic research.

So when Powell made his “Chevy Bel Air” comments, shortly after becoming chairman in February 2011, the car metaphor struck a nerve.

The Texas Exes president emailed alumni, warning the university’s “mission and core values … are under attack.” A high-profile group of state business and political leaders called the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education was launched, roiled by a study arguing UT-Austin could get by with one-third its current faculty if they taught more.

Campus liberals weren’t the only critics. O’Donnell, a state GOP stalwart, has publicly criticized Perry’s higher education priorities. Republican former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who previously headed Texas A&M, seemed to do the same in a speech in November, calling the contention that research comes at the expense of teaching “a profound misunderstanding of how universities become great and stay great, and a profound misunderstanding of the higher education enterprise as a whole.”

Southern Methodist University political scientist Calvin Jillson says UT grads of both parties occupy an “urban elite” that sees UT-Austin’s benefits in their communities. But Perry’s base among Texas’ rural residents sees more “value in a ‘3Rs’ preparation for the job market,” and is less likely to think UT-Austin’s work improves their lives.

Recent events follow a pattern of “anti-intellectual populism that has assaulted UT regularly over the school’s history,” Jillson said.

“Political authorities find the faculty and their research interests to be counter to the political culture of the state and therefore dangerous,” he said.

Last spring, a fight over tuition became a litmus test for competing visions of the university.

Perry let it be known that despite sharp state funding cuts, UT-Austin shouldn’t ask to increase tuition for the coming year. But Powers requested a 2.6-percent increase anyway. The board turned him down.

“It was viewed as a personal attack on the campus,” said Alan Friedman, a longtime faculty Senate leader. It was more than a swipe at the faculty’s job performance, he said. “It’s that they don’t like the job at all. It’s a right-wing backlash against higher education.”

But the defeat was an Alamo moment — a tactical loss that galvanized supporters. Even students saw a tuition freeze as threatening the prestige of their degrees. When reports surfaced that the board wanted Powers out, a Facebook group called “I Stand With Bill Powers” surged past five-figure membership.

Meanwhile, the UVa fiasco was unfolding. Sullivan had been a longtime UT professor and administrator, and was widely admired. The Austin campus followed events in Charlottesville breathlessly.

If the board wanted Powers out, it reconsidered the public-relations ramifications. His job now appears safe.


In an emailed statement, Josh Havens, the governor’s spokesman, said Perry appreciates the value of research for the state economy and that “[f]alse claims that university research is under attack damage our schools and Texas as a whole.” Asked if Perry thought Powers was the right person for the job, he said that was up to the regents.

Powell, the regents chair, passionately recounts his own upbringing in the disadvantaged Rio Grande Valley. He won’t apologize for championing Texas students who could be priced out of the route to a better life that a University of Texas education offers.

“We have a duty to be an elite institution,” he said. “But we also have a duty to be accessible and affordable, because we are an institution of the public.”

For now, both he and Powers are clearly trying to lower the temperature. In an interview, Powers speaks carefully, emphasizing how seriously he takes cost-cutting and efficiency, rattling off recent money-saving reforms and undergraduate teaching initiatives.

But while “productivity” is important, it can’t mean the same thing here as in a factory, he says. A great university’s “outputs” must include research, he said. As for cost, he wants to make a UT-Austin education “as affordable as we can, consistent with it being a high-quality education.”

Meanwhile, governors in Florida and Wisconsin are pushing their own $10,000 degree proposals, determined to take bold measures they think will curtail college costs — even in the face of criticism that quality will suffer.

“You’ve got the best research universities in the world here in America, and the idea you would reduce them to vocational schools seems particularly misbegotten,” said Rawlings. “It seems just out of whack to ask the university to be something other than what it is.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dragas appt Jan 24th 8am before House Committee

The confirmation resolution, SJ324, has been referred to the Appointments subcommittee of the House P&E Committee.  Appointments has scheduled a meeting TOMORROW, Thursday Jan. 24, at 8:00 am in the 5th Floor West conference room of the General Assembly Building, 201 N. 9th Street in Richmond.

In a surprise move The House  of Delegates has not waited till crossover to hear the bill to confirm Helen Dragas along with all the other appointments by Governor McDonnell.  The Helen Dragas appointment will be discussed in hearings early Thursday morning. The chair has stated that  there will be time for public comment. It is expected that even with such short notice there will be public comments against the reappointment of Helen Dragas.

Members of the subcommittee are listed below along with their contact information

Appointments subcommittee members and emails:
Chair – David Ramadan (R-Loudoun/Pr William), DelDRamadan@house.virginia.gov
Lacey Putney (I-Bedford), DelLPutney@house.virginia.gov
Riley Ingram (R-Hopewell), DelRIngram@house.virginia.gov
Dave Albo (R-Fairfax), DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov
Jim Scott (D-Falls Church), DelJScott@house.virginia.gov
Daun Hester (D-Norfolk), DelDHester@house.virginia.gov
Mark Cole (chair of the full P&E committee) (R-Fredericksburg), DelMCole@house.virginia.gov

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Power and Money Supporting Dragas

The Daily Progress has an article about Warner and McDonnell lobbying behind the scenes to  support Dragas, and also Tim Kaine.   My understanding is that former governor Baliles, runs the Miller Center, which is part of UVA,  is also a central figure working to have her reappointed.  Here is the contact info for all of them. Why not call  and voice your opinion?

Senator Kaine ph 202-224-4024

Senator Warner ph 202-224-2023  fax 202-224-6295

Govenor Mcdonell ph 804-786-2211 fax 371-6351

Former Governor Baliles  ph 434-924-6061


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment