News from Grounds: What’s up at UVA this week

The University of Virginia. Photo:  Dan Addison/UVA Public Affairs The University of Virginia. Photo: Dan Addison/UVA Public Affairs

Here’s a look at some of the most interesting news coming out of UVA in the last week—and a few things coming up.

Still talking Sullivan

Recent weeks found governance at UVA again under the microscope as the New York Times and the  Washington Post dug into BOV-President relations. Last Thursday, the American Association of University Professors issued a report based on their investigations into this summer’s leadership crisis at UVA. The AAUP’s report points to Helen Dragas’ failures as Rector and her lack of transparency during the firing of President Sullivan, according to the Daily Progress. The Washington Post on Monday also remarked on the report and suggested that the BOV should focus more on making sure the University educate its students to the fullest, rather than solely paying attention to new technological trends. It noted that the Board should diversify its membership and that many other esteemed universities have more faculty and university administrators at the table—not just business people.

Last Friday, the New York Times called the fight between the faculty and university administration and the BOV a “proxy war” for the nationwide debate over the control and administration of public universities. Governors and university board members are becoming increasingly more involved in their public universities as questions regarding funding, privatization, and online education loom.

 Gridiron goes indoors

Monday was the UVA football team’s first day of spring practice, yet winter hit again with snow and ice. Fortunately, the team wasn’t thwarted, since the day also marked the opening of the new George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility. According to NBC29, the new 80,000-square-foot facility holds a full 100-yard football field and cost $13 million. The project faced a setback last year when a welder’s torch sparked a fire that burned for hours.

 Med school gets new leadership

Nancy E. Dunlap has been named interim dean of UVA’s School of Medicine, UVA Today announced this week. Her post will officially begin on May 1 and will last 18 months while the University looks for a new executive vice president for health affairs after which the search for a permanent dean will begin.

Dunlap replaces Dr. Steven T. DeKosky, who announced in October that he would be returning to full-time teaching. The interim dean holds a B.A. from Wellesley, an M.D. from Duke University, a Ph.D in microbiology from University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MBA with distinction from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. As Dean, Dunlap will be in charge of the general operations of the Medical School, including the budget and academic development.

Long-distance language

UVA students will be given a chance to study Haitian Creole next fall through a new partnership with Duke University, according to UVA Today.

Through new video conferencing technology, Cisco TelePresence technology, UVA students can take a class in Haitian Creole offered by Duke while Duke students can take advantage of UVA’s Tibetan language courses. Students will earn credit for these classes from their own schools. The partnership gives students the opportunity to study languages that aren’t often offered at universities. Duke Today mentions that only 135 and 109 college students in the U.S. took Creole and Tibetan respectively in 2009.

Read on

Charlottesville’s hosting of the 19th annual Virginia Festival of the Book kicked off Wednesday, and UVA is well-represented throughout the five-day event. At least 50 of the 400 authors participating in the festival are affiliated with the University, according to UVAToday. Here are a few upcoming events that feature UVA authors and professors:

  • On March 22 at noon, a group of UVA alumni who received MFAs from the Creative Writing program will read their recently published poetry and fiction at noon in the UVA Bookstore. Authors include Mark Harrill Saunders, interim director of the UVA Press, who will read from his spy thriller, “Ministers of Fire”; and Paul Legault, whose collection “The Emily Dickinson Reader” is subtitled, “An English-to-English Translation.”
  • A discussion of issues about masculinity, both classical and contemporary, will be held March 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the UVA Bookstore. Richard Holway, history and social sciences editor at U.Va. Press and author of “Becoming Achilles: Child-sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the Iliad and Beyond,” will talk with David McConnell, co-chair of the Lambda Literary Foundation and author of “American Honor Killings.” Holway also teaches in the politics department and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at UVA.—Allie Cooper

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