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Torgersen addresses Faculty Senate on higher ed

By John Ashby

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 06 - September 28, 1995

President Paul Torgersen addressed the September meeting of the Faculty Senate last week, and outlined his thoughts on the state of higher education in Virginia.

Torgersen said state universities are being required to establish a post-tenure review process. "I'm not enthusiastic about this, but it has to be done," he said.

Torgersen discussed the capital campaign which was announced in Roanoke last week. "We have $150 million of the $250 million. From here on, the work will become more serious," Torgersen said. "In a capital campaign, you start at the top and work your way down." He said this meant that most of the very large contributions had been received, and "now we move toward larger numbers of contributors making more modest donations."

The recently announced plan to restructure the Extension Service resulted from an amendment to an appropriations bill in the General Assembly, Torgersen said. "The plan calls for more resources to be put into the field, into agriculture, and away from human resources. We will modernize the transmission of information." Torgersen said he hoped the Extension budget "would escape unscathed" in this year's General Assembly session.

Torgersen presented one version of a slide show he has been presenting around the state which graphically illustrates the plight of higher education in Virginia. Sounding cautious optimism, he said, "I hope we will see increased appropriations this year. I hope we will see significant salary increases."

Asked by a senator about the concept of privatizing the university (in the sense of moving from state-supported to state-assisted), Torgersen said the university could not afford to do that.

In other business, Paul Metz discussed the senate's approach to developing a response to the required post-tenure evaluation process. Metz and other senators emphasized that the university has had extensive post-tenure review policies operating for many years.

Past president Larry Shumsky presented his assessment of the Faculty Senate and the governance structure at the university. For the full text of his comments, please see page 3.