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COR recommends WRI deauthorization

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 06 - September 28, 1995

The Commission on Research has recommended that the six-year-old Women's Research Institute be "deauthorized" in its current format.

Janet Johnson summarized the report of the review committee: The WRI was established with an anonymous $75,000 gift over a three-year period "to establish a research institute for women's issues, specifically women's mental health and development issues." The university has contributed an additional $432,669 to support the institute since it began.

In 1993, the mission was redefined to focus on issues related to women in science and engineering.

The institute funded 58 grants, numerous symposia, and launched The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. "There has been considerable public-service activity by the institute, especially by the director serving as a facilitator to numerous programs on and off campus," the report noted. However, the committee wrote, "A major feminist research project has not been initiated..., an advisory committee has not functioned since spring 1993," and the institute has been unable to be self-supporting.

The review committee suggested that alternative ways be found to support the issues raised by the institute. For example, it was suggested that advocacy is a responsibility of the Women's Center, and that promoting pedagogical and instructional programs and offerings relevant to women "fall under the purview of the Women's Studies Program." Johnson said the dean of the College of Arts and Science is willing to explore the integration of WRI with the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

The recommendations of the committee, having been accepted by the commission, will go to the associate provost for research for implementation.

Reviews of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and the Museum of Natural History will be presented at the October 11 meeting. This year, the commission will review the Center for Stochastic Processes in Science and Engineering, the Center for Commercial Space Communication, the Transportation Research Center, and the Virginia Housing Research Center. Plans to review the Toxicology Research Center have been delayed until next year while that center undergoes a self-evaluation.

The commission also plans to streamline the center-review process this year.

Commission members discussed whether initiation of new centers should await the commission's work on defining centers and institutes. Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Len Peters will be asked to comment since he initiated the effort to define centers. A Center for Human/Computer Interaction has received administrative approval for one-year, it was reported.

In other business, Tamara Kennelly from the library reported that 1,500 serials have been cut, saving $451,000.

She also reported that videos will now be circulated to students because there is not enough room in the library for students to review videos. Faculty members can schedule videos for classroom use for up to one year in advance.