Borrowed assets: Did deans plagiarize or just repeat 'gobbledygook'?

In the wake of the abrupt June 10 resignation of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, the deans of UVA– before eventually reversing themselves and calling for reinstatement– sent out a raft of statements urging calm, resolution, and damage control. But the messages contained something peculiar: identical words. For instance, a paragraph from Darden Dean Robert Bruner and Engineering School Dean James Aylor, explaining the controversial reasons why Sullivan was departing, appear to be nearly verbatim.

Dean Bruner starts a paragraph with "The 'philosophical difference of opinion' to which the Rector's announcement refers has to do with the rate of change and progress..." Dean Aylor starts his explanatory paragraph the exact same way. It's not until the 73rd word that there's any difference whatsoever, and then the statements quickly go back to verbatim.

"Seems like plagiarism to me," says David Henderson, a Washington, DC-based strategic and crisis communications counselor. "Plagiarism is when there is intent to copy the original writing of someone else. Sometimes laziness, sloppiness, or lack of any creative thoughts can lead to people just cut and pasting, which seems to be the case here."

We asked Dean Bruner why the two passages are so similar, and Darden's director of communications, Julie Daum, responded.

"He shared his message with the other deans after he wrote it on Sunday [June 10]," Daum conveys in an email, "and Jim Aylor asked to borrow from the message. You might call Dean Aylor for further details."

Dean Aylor, responding on his own, explained that all the deans met with UVA Rector Helen Dragas and Vice-Rector Mark Kington that fateful Sunday morning to get the announcement, and it was decided that all the deans would send letters to their respective faculty. Dean Aylor, however, said he had to leave for vacation directly after the meeting and didn't get around to addressing faculty until Tuesday.  

"I had received Dean Bruner's letter and felt that he captured the essence of the output of the meeting in that paragraph," says Aylor. "I contacted him and asked if I could use material from his letter in my letter, and he responded that it was fine to do so."

One can imagine how an explanation like that might be received by a student before the Honor Committee.

"My friend, Joe, really captured the essence of our professor's lecture in one paragraph of the essay we were to write, so I asked him if I could use it in my essay, and he said it was fine."  

Indeed, students at UVA have been punished for less. In 2008, two students enrolled in UVA's "Semester at Sea" program were kicked off the ship in Greece for alleged plagiarism– one who revealed that she grabbed some general knowledge statements from Wikipedia– and told to find their own way home. At UVA, the Honor Code has just one penalty: permanent expulsion. But it does not apply to faculty and administrators.

Steve Nash, the student who chairs the Honor Committee, was asked to respond to the similar language in the dean statements, but he declined, referring a question to University spokesperson Carol Wood, who has yet to respond. The Hook also sought comment from eight faculty representatives on the Honor Committee, but none responded.

Language in an early letter from McIntire School of Business Dean Carl Zeithaml–- who would accept an offer to become interim president only to step aside after realizing it was premature–- also appeared in a letter sent by Medical School Dean Steven Steven DeKosky, something Dean Zeithaml addressed before hopping on a plane to Europe after walking away from the interim presidency.

"I am perfectly fine if any of my colleagues chose to use my language in their messaging to their faculty and staff," says Zeithaml, mentioning that his letter was composed before that of Dean DeKosky. "That just means that what I wrote was meaningful and worth repeating."

"I don't understand what the issue is," says Dean DeKosky, when asked if he'd borrowed from Dean Zeithaml's message. "I don't remember if I borrowed something from Dr. Zeithaml's communication or not. I may have."

DeKosky says the deans were copying each other on draft notes that fateful Sunday "with precisely that intention– to allow colleagues to borrow phrases that were helpful," he says.

"They were messages of information," says DeKosky. "We might well have sent an identical message to all of our faculty and staff if there had been time to get everyone on board."

Indeed, many of the statements released during the early days of the ouster contained similar, sometimes identical, language:

School of Medicine Steven DeKosky: At this time, I ask for your help and your reliance on our most important assets: our strong sense of community, trust, and collegiality.

McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml: At this time, we should rely on one of our most important assets: our strong sense of community.

Edward Howell, CEO Medical Center: At this time of transition, I ask for your continued confidence in our programs and our people

Darden Dean Bob Bruner: We'll get through this. The University is greater than any one person.

Engineering dean John Aylor: We'll get through this. The University is greater than any one person.

Even some pleasantries appeared to have been duplicated:

Dean Bruner: I won't have much to add beyond what this note conveys but would be glad to chat.

James L. Hilton, VP/CIO: I doubt if there is much that I can add, but I would be happy to chat.

In sharp contrast, Curry School Dean Robert Pianta provided an original interpretation of the "surprising" news, embracing the Board's decision, and explaining how the school was in line with Rector Dragas' call for "focus and momentum."

"The discussion from the Board this morning made several references to
unleashing the schools to be bold and aspirational, to accelerate change," wrote Pianta. "My clear sense is that…we are moving in ways that align well with the larger direction and vision of the Board."

Indeed, in addition to similar language, there was similar enthusiasm and acceptance for the BOV's decision:

Gov. Bob McDonnell: I have great confidence that the Board of Visitors will conduct a thorough and diligent search for the next President of the University and will find the right individual for this prestigious and pivotal post.

Provost John Simon and COO Michael Strine: The Board of Visitors' action is resolute and authoritative. We encourage all of us, even as we adjust and absorb this change, to focus constructively forward in preparing the institution for its next stage of leadership.

Arts & Sciences Dean Meredith Woo: I trust in the wisdom of the Board of Visitors which is unequivocally resolved to swift and bold action to ensure that the University remains in the top echelon of universities well into the 21st century and beyond.

Dean Bruner: Don't spend your energy on rumors and speculation– let's give the Board of Visitors the space to make wise decisions and implement a good transition.

Paul Tudor Jones, UVA alum and donor: The spirit of Thomas Jefferson, the first rector of the University of Virginia, is cheering this bold action by the Board of Visitors. Jefferson was a change agent, a man of action and a perfectionist. To paraphrase him, it is time for a revolution.

Jones got a revolution, but it may not have been the one he envisioned as he cheered Sullivan's ouster. Around the state and across what alums call Wahoo Nation, there was mostly jeering for the BOV's decision. The cheering came from the Lawn– and could be heard inside the solemn BOV chamber– when the group reinstated Sullivan.

***

In 2001, UVA physics professor Louis Bloomfield famously designed a computer program that caught his students cheating, an effort that made national news. Since then, Bloomfield has become an expert on plagiarism, and he maintains a website called The Plagiarism Resource Site. He's not quick to condemn the deans.

The problem, says Bloomfield, is that public speech is full of "imperfectly attributed prose," as authorship gets cobbled together by speech writers, ghostwriters, and PR professionals. Attributing authorship can become "a complicated mess," he says.

"I can say, however, that they were not written independently," Bloomfield says of the phrases in the dean statements. "Beyond any reasonable doubt, they share a common origin."

He stops short of calling it plagiarism, however, because in the tradition of public speech, lone authorship "is not part of the tradition or expectation."

Dean Zeithaml asked a reporter to cease inquiring about the similarities in the dean's messages, "a totally meaningless issue."

"It is not some sort of communication conspiracy," says Zeithaml. "It is friends helping each other. Nothing more. I cannot imagine why it would be a problem for you or anyone else."

"If I copy an administrative note to people that is not plagiarism," says Dean DeKosky, "it's teamwork. I know you're looking for some sort of story. But there is none."

Public relations expert Henderson also is less alarmed by the possibility of plagiarism than by the message itself, "an amateurish attempt at 'CYA'," says Henderson. "It's incomprehensible and ambiguous gobbledygook that means nothing."

Siva Vaidhyanathan, the chair of the media studies department who has been a strong critic of Sullivan's ouster, also urges a charitable view.

"We can't blame the deans," says Vaidhyanathan. "They must follow orders. They are under immense pressure to make carefully-orchestrated public statements."

Plagiarism may be an Honor Code violation, but Vaidhyanathan sees this merely as a symptom of a larger dishonor perpetrated by the BOV and Dragas, who were behind the campaign to remove Sullivan and manage the message.

"It's insulting to the deans, the faculty, the students, the alumni, and the citizens of Virginia to be treated this way," he says. "And whoever ran the public relations effort for the Board is about the least competent outfit I have ever seen. If it were a collection of students, I would have brought each one up on Honor Code charges."

This story is a part of the The ousting of a president special.

154 comments

Group think from the Deans, that is what I find most disturbing and worthy of soul searching.

Such quick unanimity of word and deed, without question, is frightening in it's broader implications for governance, at Jefferson's University.

Well done Mr. McNair !

Look, The Hook's coverage of this fiasco has been complete and in-depth. This story, however, is downright silly, a lame attempt to create some "pulp friction." Of course there will be similar language and messaging among the deans; does this shock anyone? Bloomfield's take on this is spot on.

Additionally, it is pretty tough to disparage others' communiques when there is a glaring misspelling in the story's headline. Or is that a "seed" word designed to trap any plagiarists from copying this article? Also, fair writer, can you inform me which of the two spellings of "gobbledygook" you employed is correct?

R.I.P.: Carl Ballantine

This article completely misrepresents what plagiarism is. The reason copying a term paper is unacceptable is the expectation from the professor is that a student will turn in original work. In the context of an e-mail message permission from the author to re-use some of his or her words is enough. All copying is not the same.

""We can't blame the deans," says Vaidhyanathan. "They must follow orders. They are under immense pressure to make carefully-orchestrated public statements."

This part of the main problem at UVA, Deans taking orders or sometimes using the "orders" to advance their own agendas. Its like a fuedal manor, they are like the nobles. Part of this episode was about pushing back against corporate style management in higer education. We have to resist the temptation to be apologists for the Deans, some of whom, wrote some pretty suspect statements right after Dragas' initial statement. One Dean claimed his school was following along and doing the things Dragas, and the Board who threw Sullivan out, wanted done.

I know they just went through some rough waters but I hope people like Vaidhyanathan don't forget that UVA, or the "plantation" as it is often referred to, needs some cleaning up internally. We hope the deans don't treat their faculty the way the BOV just treated President Sullivan in the name of top-down management.

Moronic.These communications were not turned in as credit for course or degree or individual grandizment. Not was it strickly speaking, pay per piece. Another person's words do not always have to be credited if used with permission.look for real honor violations if you must.Start with big time college sports.

I have to nominate this for the weakest story to come out of the Dragas scandal. Often the words used were pored over in group sessions for use by the different groups(deans, representative bodies) and were by definition collaborative. This conduct is not plagiarism by any reasonable interpretation and certainly has nothing to do with the Honor System at UVA.

First paragraph--Bob Bruner, not John. I think this is a non-story.

This all goes back to a poor decision regarding the BoV. This article would not have been written had Dragas not created such a mess in the first place.

@Hook
Why not do a story on restricted donations from the Board of Visitors & the Jones'? Is their funding actually making a better UVA and improving its' ranking, or are the donor's interests and money splintering the UVA education component and weakening the university as a whole? It sure seems that funding sources are operating more like a PAC - serving special interests.

This is not news and so disappointing that Dave McNair would further compromise his journalistic integrity on this garbage.

What exactly is "well done" about this article? A group of professionals shared ideas and words to express the thought process that they were collectively thinking in a time of needed solidarity at the University. And McNair wants to mention plagiarism and honor violations? This during a week where 90% of readers were out of power? Was it really that slow of a week for you Dave?

And he not once mentions or tries to correct his earlier article where he accuses Zeithaml of being the one who "borrowed the language":

"Zeithaml, ............ failed to respond to questions... (as to) why he had borrowed language from UVA medical dean Steven T. DeKosky in his communications to the public.

There's some great "investigative journalism." An accusation where you don't even get your facts straight and then never offer an apology for your accusation.

@VoR, The reason I consider this well done is that Mr. McNair has pointed out the fact, that immediately following the shocking announcement to oust Sullivan, the Deans sprang into action to defend the BOV, and did so as if speaking in one voice. The article presents those who consider the manner in which they did this less than honorable, and those who don't, but, I consider the swift, near unanimous statements made by the Deans to be worthy of discussion and appreciate this journalist bringing it to my attention.

My problem is far more with the original auther Dave is commenting on. Plagerism? I don think that's specifically what the honor code is talking about when you hand in a test that is supposed to be 100% your own work.

How many politicians pay speach writers and then read the speach as their own? Is that plagerism? Do they start the speach by referencing the writer? Actually, maybe we should start nailing the public speakers more.

I think that the BOV and a lot of very wealthy folks are scared by what happened at UVA, and how quickly people can and will stand up in an organized fashion, so they made this hit piece on the deans.

@Nancy

This may be true. But what it doesn't say and cannot convey is the tone in which the correspondence was sent. Of course the statements were "swift." The President of University had just been wrongly ousted without the consultation of any of the Deans. The Dean's faculty, administration, students and alums needed to hear from them. Did the emails really "defend" the BOV's actions? The one I received certainly did not express that tone. It said what the BOV apparently was looking for and that the school was ALREADY doing that and should continue to. Were the messages sent too soon? Maybe. But just as any US President may address the country quickly following an attack or major event before knowing 100% of the facts (by the way almost always "borrowing someone else's language"), so too did the Deans.

What this article is doing is bothering good people who are trying to get back to work improving the University by scratching at a wound that is beginning to heal. Nobody likes a scab picker.

Look to PR firm, Hill & Knowlton for blame. Cohesive message, not plagiarism. This is what Rector Dragas spent university funding on...

Wow, what a questionable piece of journalism. Plagiarism is representing another's ideas as one's own. These memos to the Deans' various constituencies reflected the content of their joint meetings during a dynamic situation. Thus, any one Dean's intellectual ownership of the content of the memos is not in question. McNair's plagiarism concern is beyond triviality. I am surprised the Hook ran this piece. Professors adapt the language of other professors all the time for communications with students if they are speaking as a group (it would be silly to require 5 different versions of the same memo). Professors will often take turns writing these emails to save their colleagues' time. This is very different than ripping off a term paper and renaming it, and turning it in as if the ideas contained therein came from the student, or a professor publishing a paper when the idea was not actually his or hers.

@Nancy Drew, did you actually read the memo(s)? Any of them? I did. They do not mention anything related to unfailing support for the BOV. In fact they are decidedly neutral in that regard. They call for calm and reasoned thinking (at this time some were defacing public property, tempers were flaring, and people were in the dark). Never did these memos take sides that I could see. At most, they reflected the reality that Sullivan had been fired and the University would need to move on and to be reassured that new leadership would be found (which at the time was completely reasonable).

The Dean's were doing what they needed to, step into the leadership void created by the sudden ouster of the President. They did not ask for this situation. In fact Zeithaml withdrew from the interim presidency as soon as it became clear that the situation with Sullivan was not resolved. If he had been "blindly supporting" the BOV I doubt he would have been willing to take such a principled stand since this surely undermined the decision even further. If that is "group think" then I'd like to hear from you what you define as an act of individual courage.

yeah, but if it was in Louisiana, it's be "publish or parish"

JBatUVA has it right, i think, and while Nancy Drew is correct that the article indirectly raises the issue of why did the Deans so quickly address their subordinate faculty, the story really does seem to pick at a pretty fake scab (to steal JBat's apt metaphor). Regarding the idnrectly raised issue, it is probable that the Deans were directed by their own bosses, the Provost and the COO, to communicate to their faculty, and it is also presumable that the faculty of each school wanted to hear some perspective from their own Deans. Basically, these communiques were just the initial atempts to staunch the bleeding of the severed arteries following the BOV's hack job, much like the joint messsage from Syrine and Simon that stated the BOV's actions were "resolute" and :authoritative." After all, it took Simon a whole week after that to re-find his own backbone amongst that rushed stitchery and publicly suggest, for the first time, that he might ditch the place if the BOV didn't ultimately do the right thing. But what I want to know is, what additional money threats were made, and to whom, in order for the final solution to take form? We know about some of the big (and small) threats made by donors who were enraged by Dragas's tricking Sullivan into resigning (and why did Terry fall for that, rather than call the bluff?), but we don't know what threats were made that caused McDonnell to reapporint Dragas? For e.g., is Paul Tudor Jones a McDonnell campaign donor?

@JBatUVa, Why is this questionable journalism ? The reporter merely raises a question and then presents multiple points of view.

I wish we had more inquiring minds in our local media, but thank goodness for the writers at the Hook.

It is not the job of journalists to heal wounds that are self inflicted, it is the job of journalists to expose the events of a story that give us the chance to piece together the how and why of what happened. Putting band-aids on wounds will only assure that the underlying disease remains intact.

You pose a very interesting question " what do you define as an act of individual courage." One course of action might have been - given the total shock and awe that the Dragas announcement created, to say: I need more information before I blindly follow in lock-step and declare the BOV decision to be the right one for the University.

I have found this to be good advice:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

@NancyDrew
That may be good advice for the individual moral actor who is accountable to only her/himself, but it might not have been practicial for the Deans, who are just mid-level managers at a larger institution in this story, to have declined to send out a "remain calm" type of message down to the faculty they manage at the institution. We are talking about a workplace personnel matter here, after all, not a personal choice between good and evil, no matter how much many of the protest leaders tried to make it that romantic. Doesn't sound like the act of issuing a calm-down statement was even optional for Simon and Strine, who after Sullivan's ouster were installed as the lead overseers of the institution in advance of the BOV arm-twisting Zeithaml (and what did they have to do to convince him to take it, after his first 2 refusals?). Of course, once it became obvious that there was a real risk that the rest of the workforce, and therefore the entire institution, might not accpt the command from on-high and put the institution's viability at real risk, the BOV bosses came to their senses and realized that having authority and exercising it properly are two different things. And this is what worries me -- after all this, we have a kiss-and-make-up ending that is disquietingly UVAish (UVA just hates to highlight the negative) without any real structural reform of the BOV's unfettered power. There is no reason to not expect a similar attrocity to happen again, assuming the BOV continues to be comprised of people with the levels of hubris shown by Dragas et al.

@moneytrailsniffer, I agree, journalists have lots more to uncover to get to the bottom of the DragasAffair.

I have heard from some faculty that they were appalled by the weak kneed response of the Deans, to the Sullivan firing.

Perhaps this is a better quote for Jefferson's University to ponder ?

“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”
― Benjamin Franklin

It looks like a PR release though several channels with a central theme-original work in these situations are not only not necessary but problematic. Perhaps the first version had clearances from legal and PR so thae were safe to use and didn't need another approval. If this had come from different division heads at GE nobody would have cared or noticed- non story for sure

Multiple points of view on what, President Sullivan's removel or the issue of plagiarism? The issue of the firing of President Sullivan is not trivial. The question of whether the Dean's messages overlapped is trivial, whatever your opinon of their content. There is absolutely no plagiarism here by any definition of plagiarism that is respected in the academic and publishing communities.

What I find interesting, Ms. Drew, is your quote that courage would have been for the Dean's to say they needed more information before responding. This supposes a certain neutrality until the facts became clear. Quite interestingly, it never seemed to occur to you or most that this neutrality would equally apply to you with respect to your assessment BOV and Rector Dragas, a neutrality you clealry do not display.

I don't defend the BOV's process, it was badly mismanaged; but once the dust settles there are real substantive issues at the heart of this whole matter that will need to be addressed.This has been lost, and President Sullivan has some very large issues she is going to have to move boldly to address related to education, technology, and globalization that will require vision and decisiveness. Though late in coming, the issues raised by Rector Dragas are real (and disclosure: I supported the reinstatement of President Sullivan, and thought her response to the concerns raised was very thoughtful). But to simply villify Rector Dragas is not only counterproductive, it grossly disctracts from the complexity of the issues facing the University and its future. In short, I am trying to see both sides as I believe both President Sullivan and Rector Dragas have the best interests of the University at heart, however mismanaged their exchange was. I suspect this is why President Sullivan was able to put anger aside and push on with the current Rector.

This is a riot!

I see nothing wrong with Mr.McNair's essay and I think Nancy Drew had some very good points. The Deans could easily have avoided any appearance or hint of plagiarism by referencing Dean Bruner's words, and ideas with something as simple as,.... as my esteemed colleague Dean Bruner has pointed out..... or I agree with Dean Bruner.... etc. After reading the article and all these comments I realize that some just don't get Mcnair's point, and one is left to wonder how many lectures delivered at UVA are the deliverer's own. Students should be held to a high standard and so should those in charge of teaching them. To object to Mr. McNair writing about something that interests him is pointless. It is a free paper and if The Hook covers an issue that interests us all, and performs a great public service as well, we should all be thankful. We do have choice. If The Hook chooses to publish a story on a topic that a reader finds trivial, then don't read it, cast it aside and read something that is interesting. There is no rule that says The Hook must publish only stories that investigate the dubious agenda of the BOV. We should all be thankful that it has brought us unparalleled coverage.

Back to that most interesting subject, the BOV debacle, money trail sniffer asks all the right questions.

Wow. I'm outraged that employees of the same organization would issue consistently worded press releases about the same issue. The public deserves better! We deserve to have the same idea conveyed to us in as many different iterations as possible! More words! Different words! Buy a thesaurus for crying out loud.

How long –– really –– does it take to write one of those e-mails? And why didn't each dean write his or her own?

Why did the deans seem so preoccupied with speaking as one and sending an "identical message" to their faculties, a message with "enthusiasm and acceptance for the BOV's decision?"

Why did the student chair of the Honor Committee and eight faculty representatives decline to give any comment on the deans' use of "similar language?"

And why did Curry School of Education dean Robert Pianta send an e-mail that was almost giddy over Sullivan's ouster, writing that "The discussion from the Board this morning made several references to
unleashing the schools to be bold and aspirational, to accelerate change. My clear sense is that…we are moving in ways that align well with the larger direction and vision of the Board?"

Could it be that Pianta was motivated by the joint Curry-Darden education-business master's degree program that proposes to integrate the "business model" into public education?

http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Darden-Curry-PLE/News/Home/  
 


Could it be that Pianta is motivated by his own money-making side business to this"business model?"

http://store.teachstone.org/

Why did Pianta recently tell the BoV Educational Policy Committee meeting, "We’re poised for promise. We can really go much further in the next five years?"

Why is Pianta – at Curry – putting "more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics" (STEM) when there is no STEM crisis or shortage? Indeed, The Post just reported yesterday that "There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs."

See:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more...

Why is conservative education nabob Rick Hess, at the very conservative free-market American Enterprise Institute, so enthusiastic about the "entrepreneurship" he sees getting promoted at the Darden-Curry partnership?

Why did so many deans and top UVA administrators initially use language like "trust" and "wisdom" and "wise decisions" and "bold action" to describe the Board's ouster of Sullivan?

Who, exactly, knew what, and when?

This is so silly. Hawes, I'm certain you're a great guy, but I won't be reading The Hook any longer. Best.

Thank you democracy, very thoughtful and informative comments.

The longer I think about this the weirder and more significant what happened with the Deans appears. Why would a Dean not write his own email ? In a matter of such import wouldn't you feel compelled to put the announcement that your President had resigned into your own words ?

Something is fishy. I hope the Hook, being peppered with reasons why this isn't news, will not turn away, but rather dig in and find out why all the posturing is going on to - just leave us alone. The supposition, that copying one another's emails to their respective faculty is standard practice - I don't think so.

I understand what happened now from the Hook. The Deans plagiarized right after Sullivan was bullied for being overweight.

Jim Aylor is an honorable man who grew up at UVa; his father taught applied math for forty years at the E-School, and he's a triple 'Hoo. The deans were given a communications template so they would all be lined up behind the BoV, presenting a unified front during a very contentious, crazy time. Thank goodness - and the university community - that sanity prevailed and Terry Sullivan was reinstated.

We should be examining all statements during the attempted coup issued by UVA authorities carefully. This is called "content analysis" and one looks for similarities and differences as well as other indicators. Timing and synchronization are also factors of interest.

This article is helpful to show the message management aspect of the crisis management. The author could have placed it perhaps much better in the context of message management and "message discipline" which are standard PR fare.

Reflect on the chronology: 8 June Sullivan confronted, 13-14 June BOV Retreat to be held. 14 June BOV would have the report of the National Research Council provided by Sullivan as a basis of discussion of strategy for UVA. The NRC report is not in line with the privatization mentality of the so-far identified coup plotters.

The author of the article was correct to check with a PR specialist in crisis management because Hill and Knowlton pr firm was hired to perform this task. The author should have gotten into what the specialist thought of the message management process. Plagiarism is not the issue here. The issue is message discipline in a crisis and what the content of the message is and its purpose.

Getting everyone "on message" was important to Dragas, etal. in order to comple the coup process and to clear the decks for the next stage.

Were these coordinated messages issued before or after Hill and Knowlton was hired? Did Hill and Knowlton have a role advising Dragas etal on this example of message management?

@democracy raises important additional considerations and questions which need answers. Perhaps a lawyer in our ranks could comment on the issue of conflict of interest. At the federal level there are laws to deal with this for workers in the federal government. What about Virginia state law as it would apply to faculty and to private business corporations?

Two faculty members voted against reinstatement, one abstained. Who were these people and how did each vote?

It is a fair question @democracy asks: who knew about all this and when? Who was involved, if anyone, on the faculty for example in aiding and abetting the coup plotters?

@wahookitty why didn't the Deans first consult the Faculty Senate before immediately jumping on board with the BOV ? Why didn't the Deans, many of whom I would assume have served on other boards, recognize the impropriety of the way Sullivan was ousted ?
Wasn't there even one Dean willing to pause and gather information before hitting send to this, apparently, cut and paste email ?
The Faculty Senate had no trouble with a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the Rector and Vice Rector even after meeting with them, why not the Deans ?
I still believe there is a story here that needs to be told.

@Liberalace: Thanks for spotting typos. It's always great to hear from sharp-eyed Hook readers.--hawes spencer, editor

@Clifford Kiracofe: re who voted for and against. Wouldn't the Chair, in this case the Rector abstain from voting? Doesn't the Chair vote only in a tie breaker/ I do not know the by-laws of the BOV . If there was a meeting then the minutes should show the vote breakdown. Since UVA is a state school, aren't the records available to the citizens of Va?

When handing in original work for a class, there is an agreed upon standard for the class that all work is to be your own. An email, while many times original and should certainly be the truth, has no requirement to be original. Elected officials, businessmen, non-profit directors and many others use letters, speeches and emails prepared for them by public relations staff or assistants. That is not plagiarism. That is agreeing that what other people wrote or prepared reflects your sentiments to the degree that you are willing to assign you name to it.

Gotta agree with some of the other posters. This is one weak article. Not as offensive as the "pick on the fat girl" article, but just as silly.

I think the Hook has beaten this horse as much as it can be beaten.

Is it a valid point? Well, yes. If you send out an email to your organization and sign your name at the bottom, you are stating that what you just sent out are your own thoughts.

So what? If a bunch of the deans use the same language then it looks intellectually lazy but that's about it. No, as has been mentioned already, why so quick to say (to use words used before, here I think?) "shut up and get back to work" is a good question, though.

How many different ways could they have all said, "shut up and get back to work" anyway? Lighten up.

@NancyDrew: good questions! I can only speculate, but the deans likely received the same "treatment" that Terry Sullivan did from Helen Dragas and Mark Kington - half truths, semantically shaded remarks, and other questionable methods for advancing their agenda. If there was any dissent at the beginning, it was private/behind the scenes; it's corporate SOP for management to show a unified face to the rest of the university community. I'm sure the H&K consultants saw to that. Also, even Terry needed some time to get over the shock and demand her right of review/challenge. I saw Jim Aylor at several rallies, and the deans (minus Carl Zeithaml, for understandable reasons) did send out that communication asking the BoV to reconsider, thus backing up the Faculty Senate. Would it have been better if such dissent was openly demonstrated at the beginning? Absolutely, and reasonable and principled dissent, in an ideal world, is protected by tenure in academia as it is typically not in corporate America. There are a good number of issues that merit exploring in this sorry situation.

I noticed the similarities as the messages came out. I made the assumption that the were all writing from 'talking points' that were prepared by the PR folks hired to attempt to quiet the storm. Listen to any Sunday morning news show and you'll see the different spokespeople using almost identical language to respond to questions.

The only story here would be one of orchestration by a PR company, but it sounds like that isn't the case.

These emails were sent before the PR firm, Hill and Knowlton had been hired.

@Outragedalumna,

I was referring to the two votes against Sullivan and the abstention in the Faculty Senate process. Perhaps the votes might reflect some of the issues @democracy raises. Sorry I was not clear on the vote issue. These 3 votes might give us additional clues.

@Clifford Kiracofe. Thanks, I now see that I did not read carefully enough. Sorry about that.

@NancyDrew - How do you know the specific hiring date for the PR firm, Hill and Knowlton?

What was the specific hiring date?

I understand Hill & Knowlton was privy to a lot of communication that the FOIA would not allow the public/university to view.

Further, Hill & Knowlton was hired weeks before President Sullivan's ouster, per Dragas, correct?

@democracy is onto something significant:

"And why did Curry School of Education dean Robert Pianta send an e-mail that was almost giddy over Sullivan's ouster, writing that "The discussion from the Board this morning made several references to unleashing the schools to be bold and aspirational, to accelerate change. My clear sense is that…we are moving in ways that align well with the larger direction and vision of the Board?"

BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF THE DEANS WHO HAS SOLD OUT HIGHER EDUCATION FOR CORPORATE PERSONAL GAIN, SEE BELOW, HIS TEACHSTONE BUSINESS. HE HAS BEEN PUSHING RESPONSIBILITY-CENTERED MANAGEMENT BUDGET MODEL AND PERHAPS SULLIVAN WAS GOING TOO SLOW FOR HIS TASTE. CHECK OUT THE MOST RECENT FACULTY SENATE SUREVY OF FACULTY TO SEE WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON AT CURRY. THE SCIENCE QUA BUSINESS PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN OVER UNDER THE DEAN'S LEADERSHIP.

"Could it be that Pianta was motivated by the joint Curry-Darden education-business master's degree program that proposes to integrate the "business model" into public education? "
YES HE HAS ADOPTED THIS BUSINESS MENTALITY AND ALL THAT MATTERS TO HIM ARE MONEY MAKING SCHEMES THAT BRING IN UNDEGRADUATE TUITION DOLLARS. HE'S THE TYPE THAT THE BOV/DRAGAS LOVED.
http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Darden-Curry-PLE/News/Home/ 
 


"Could it be that Pianta is motivated by his own money-making side business to this"business model?"
YOU GOT IT. THIS DESERVES GREATER ATTENTION BY DAVE MCNAIR. PIANTA HAS USED PUBLIC RESEARCH MONEY TO FUND HIS OWN BUSINESS.
http://store.teachstone.org/

"Why did Pianta recently tell the BoV Educational Policy Committee meeting, "We’re poised for promise. We can really go much further in the next five years?"
BECAUSE HE IS A POSTER BOY FOR THE DRAGAS MODEL. HE WAS SIGNALING TO THE BOV THAT SULLIVAN WAS TOO SLOW.

"Why is Pianta – at Curry – putting "more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics" (STEM) when there is no STEM crisis or shortage? Indeed, The Post just reported yesterday that "There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs."
HE RIDES BUSINESS AND CONSERVATIVE PRIVATE RESEARCH AGENDAS.HE USES 'CRISES' TO FURTHER HIS AGRNDA AND DOES NOT LISTEN TO FACULTY UNLESS THEY ARE ON HIS SIDE, GROUPTHINK HAS TAKEN OVER PUBLIC EDUCATION AT CURRY.
See:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more...

"Why is conservative education nabob Rick Hess, at the very conservative free-market American Enterprise Institute, so enthusiastic about the "entrepreneurship" he sees getting promoted at the Darden-Curry partnership?
BECAUSE ITS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW CORPORATE BUSINESS HAS TAKEN OVER AND CORRUPTED PUBLIC EDUCATION. HESS GOT BOOTED OUT OF CURRY AND HATES PUBLIC EDUCATION AND TEACHER EDUCATION. PIANTA SUPPORTS THIS TYPE OF TAKEOVER, HE WILL SELL OUT EDUCATION. THE ONLY REASON HE IS DEAN IS BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL GETTING NIH/MEDICAL RESEARCH DOLLARS AND WE ALL KNOW HOW THE MEDICAL RESEARCH HAS BEEN CORRUPTED BY BIG PHARMA, HE HOLDS A CHAIR SPONSORED BY BIG PHARMA.

"Why did so many deans and top UVA administrators initially use language like "trust" and "wisdom" and "wise decisions" and "bold action" to describe the Board's ouster of Sullivan? HER ENEMIES WERE PART OF THE MICROPOLITICS OF THE OUSTER, IT WAS NOT JUST ALL AN OUTSIDE JOB BY DRAGAS AND CO. CHECK OUT WOO TOO. SHE SEEMED TO BE ANOTHER WHO APPEARED TO BE AGAINST SULLIVAN. MANY FACULTY HOPE SULLIVAN CLEANS OUT THE UPPER MANAGEMENT.

Who, exactly, knew what, and when?

GREAT QUESTION AND IT DESERVES A LOT MORE INVESTIGATION. BULLYING IS A CORPORATE MANANGEMNT STYLE. LOOK AT THE FACULTY SENATE'S SURVEY RESULTS BY SCHOOL/COLLEGE. sOME OF THE DEANS HAVE BEEN USING THE NEW BUDGET MODEL AS A WAY OF CORPORATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION AND THEY BENEFIT FROM IT PERSONALLY. SULLIVAN HAD THE INTEGRITY TO STAND UP TO THIS BUT i DON'T THINK SHE KNEW ABOUT THE BACK STABBING GOING ON. SHE SHOULD TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT THE SURVEY RESULTS AND THE EMALS SENT OUT INITIALLY BY THE DEANS BEFORE THEY SAW HOW THE TIDE WAS TURNING BECUASE REGULAR FACULTY SUPORTED SULLIVAN OVER THE DRAGAS MODEL.
@democracy is on to someting. Follow it up.

"Further, Hill & Knowlton was hired weeks before President Sullivan's ouster, per Dragas, correct?"

The emails that have been released mention a PR firm called the Communication Center that was involved early on. No one has mentioned them continuing to be involved, but it is possible. It's more likely that the big boys replaced them when things started to go really badly for Dragas and accomplices.

@ Citizen Party, easy on the all caps. Your handle alone damages your credibility. Don' t make it any harder on yourself.

@ cc, sorry just wanted to distinguish from@ democracy's post. as far as the handle.. whatever.

This is a helpful discussion. At FAV, we have been trying to understand the coup and the underlyhing, if not secret, motivations of some involved. The PR management issue ties into the issue @democracy raises very well.

The July 5 email release is most interesting. IMO, it shows President Sullivan doing her job and trying to keep the Rector and Vice Rector informed and educated. They, in turn, supposedly were keeping the BOV updated. The release shows that Sullivan informed Dragas about the National Research Council Report to Congress due for release 14 June. She informed Dragas that she would have copies for the BOV for their 13-14 June retreat. Sullivan was confronted 8 June.

The NRC report in my reading does not support the "business model" we have been discussing. The report calls for a vigorous federal and state involvement in funding higher education and the model appears to be federal-state-university-business. The coup plotters' model seems to be simply privatization of public universitieis and a business-university model.

The pro-coup forces led by Dragas etal. led us to believe the issue about President Sullivan was over a strategic vision for the University. But her strategic vision must be in line with the NRC report as she herself was one of the distinnguished panel of experts who compiled the report.

While the NRC report is STEM focused, President Sullivan is clear in her emails about upholding the humanities and A&S at least the way I read them. Also in the emails she points out that BOV specifically instructed her to not revisit the academic future visioning undertaken several times in the past with faculty and most recently as 2007 I think it is.

What @democracy points out about the "business model" people to me indicates that the pro-coup forces did not want Sullivan to implement the main lines of the NRC Report to Congress which contained best practices from universities across the country. To me, the timing of her removal just a few days before the BOV annual retreat of 13-14 June was intended to preclude BOV being informed about the NRC report and considering it as a basis for longer term strategic planning at UVA. That Sullivan was one of the expert panel members of the NRC report would have given her argument credibility. Thus briefed, BOV may well have been inclined to accept Sullivan's "academic model" and thus decline the coup plotters "business model."

In this context, the message management would have been done to cover the coup situation and to prepare the way for the "business model" under a new president.

NRC Report in pdf at:

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/bhew/researchuniversities/index.htm

Thank you for the excellent research by the above commenters.

@anonymouse, I remember reading that Hill and Knowlton came in as the PR firm after the firing.

There is a strong push to remake UVa in the business first, academics second model. Dragas's continued presence, along with the other McDonnell appointees make this a continuing threat.

Notice that Dragas, in the first set of released emails, referenced Access UVa , a program that gives money to those who cannot afford tuition, as a concern for the bottom line. I see this as another attempt to segregate society into those who can pay to be on grounds and those who can't - put them online.

In a broader context online learning, as a replacement for college attendance, may be the next civil rights battle.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/are-va-college-trus...

Keep looking at Curry, Pianta, and Teachstone. There's an article there that would please all the naysayers here, I think.

NacyDrew,

I agree that there is a continuing threat to implement the business model and to block the academic model. This is indicated by the Atkinson and other appointments. We also see this pressure across the United States so we are not alone in fighting the advocates of the business model. This is why we have to stay on this and remain vigilant in the months ahead.

Fortunately, there is enough public attention on this and there is also a growing body of knowledge about the threat to higher education. Specifics are emerging about the situation at UVA. BOV meetings and members can now be closely and RELENTLESSLY monitored.

If this does become a civil rights struggle situation, FAV is with the "We Shall Overcome" camp.

@ Clifford Kiracofe: you've summed it up quite well.

There is, of course, a very pointed political –– not to mention financial –– aspect to the Sullivan ouster...and to the Dragas (and Kington, and McDonnell) agenda.

@democracy,

Thanks for the kind words and the helpful comment you have made on all the threads. Starting from zero and trying to get up to speed on this has been greatly helped by you and others taking time to post thoughtful comment. It is such a complex issue we all need to work hard to understand it and after than make plans to defend Mr. Jefferson's University.

@Nancy Drew thanks for that WPost reference...key item.

@All -- Something new came to our attention:

http://www.schev.edu/bov/default.asp

This is an October 17, 2011 "Orientation for Board of Visitors" at SCHEV. This is extremely important to add to the chronology/time line. It marks an overt promotion of the Business Model directly to the BOV by none other than Anne Neal of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. This is the extreme right wing neoconservative DC lobby group we have documented at Friends of the Academical Village. Ed Meese III is on the board as he is on the board of the Koch brothers backed Mercatus Center at George Mason U along with Atkinson.

So SCHEV put together the briefing for BOV members, a briefing featuring the Business Model and the lead national activist lobbyist for it, ACTA and Anne Neal.

So we need now to take our time line back to this meeting 17 October and then work forward from there. It is possible that Neal would have been in contact with Dragas and others before this. But this is a good starting point. ALL relevant emails from 17 October to 8 June need to be FOIA requested.

In political science methodology, the concept of "levels of analysis" is often used. Applying that to the UVA case, we would consider: the national level, the state of Virginia level, the University of Virginia level. Our analysis would then be more complete as having the proper elements and data under consideration and as having a way to relate these to each other via the levels concept.

Looking at the UVA level, we would need more specific data on the pro-coup/Business Model advocates on faculty in all schools. Then we would need to see how this group relates to the state level activist policy groups and to the national level activist policy groups. And of course, as has been suggested, analysis of business and financial connections to include any emoluments received should be considered.

Friends of the Academical Village is building a data base for the community in order to provide research and documentation for concerned citizens. We have now substantial data on the national level, some on the state level, and a good start on the university level of analysis.

academical-village.tumblr.com

So who set up the SCHEV agenda for that meeting? I recall reading something from the Post or another media outlet that October was about the time Dragas began this campaign.

Who is SCHEV? The council members seem very business friendly: http://www.schev.edu/council/CouncilBios.asp

From a review of SCHEV's policy discussions from march and January of this year it appears there was quite abit of emphasis on online learning and Academic Research -commercialization:

http://www.schev.edu/council/CouncilPolicy.asp

From one brief:

"Introduction and Overview
"In 2002, the Council issued the report, “Condition of Research at Virginia Colleges and Universities,” which compared the Commonwealth’s academic-research output and capacity with high-performing institutions and states and pointed to investment in academic research as a means of advancing Virginia.
This study laid the groundwork for a decade of related reports, policy and funding initiatives, and an ongoing state-level focus on academic research as a strategic tool in spurring not only knowledge generation and advancement, but also innovation, entrepreneurship, commercialization, and economic development."

Not a recent event, but interesting nonetheless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO-DLbvJ460&feature=g-vrec

Yes, it was part of a recent policy discussion conducted by SCHEV. See January 9, 2012 policy discussion documents.

@Citizen Party

Very interesting. Take a look at the National Research Council Report. This would in effect represent something along the lines of an "Academic Model" though it is STEM heavy.

The NCR report makes clear that the business community once had leading research labs like Bell Labs. But the business community shut these corporate labs for research and development down. Thus, we have only the core National (US government) research institutions in many cases and also military and other government. Lithium batteries were actually pioneered by CIA, for example. Massive tech comes out of the space and military programs which can then go into the civilian sector if declassified.

The NCR report does take into considertion business partnering with Universities on research with the caveat that business pays the going rate so to speak and does not exploit universities.

The NCR report does endorse greater IT within the university setting. I did not get the feeling it was pushing online the way the Business Model people would like.

What your reserach implies is that SCHEV is apparently promoting the Business model.

FAV has identified a number of the players promoting the Business Model at the national level. SCHEV appears to be tapping into those players like ACTA and Anne Neal.

FAV has documented so far as pro-Business Model: ACTA, Mercatus Center at George Mason, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution. There are materials on the blog which is:
http//:academical-village.tumblr.com
Use the "Archive" hyperlink to the collection of documents.

Really, is this news?? McNair, I think you have a future with The Enquirer.

This is more than just a weak article. This is irresponsible journalism which is harmful to the integrity of honorable people trying to lead well in a difficult situation. I am appalled and will no longer be reading The Hook.

@JennIfer please give an example of what is irresponsible journalism in this article ?

@NancyDrew - if Dean Bruner gave permission for portions of his letter to be used then there is no plagarism, especially as Dean Bruner was referenced in Dean Aylor's letter. Also the writer of this article "assumes" that all the Dean's were on board with Sullivan's dismissal (as indicated in the first paragraph of this article). Where is his proof of this? Has this proof ever been cited? Students have something to gain from plagiarism in the form of a grade. These letters were not written for personal or professional gain- no grade was given, no money was made-so, if the original writer was fine with his words being used on internal communication this is a complete non-issue and an effort at sensational journalism. However, the most irresponsible aspect of this article is that one person, trying to create a sensational story, can call into question the integrity of multiple people based on insufficient evidence and half-truths. I am ending my relationship with The Hook as well after this.

For every person that threatens to end their relationship with the Hook, there is one more person chuckling at all that is being uncovered. Congrats to the Hook for all this coverage -- and remember to buy the movie rights. You guys have a blockbuster with this one!

@Merry3 maybe I'm missing something but I read all the Dean's emails and not one objected to the 3 member BOV coup to force Sullivan's resignation. In fact their emails convey exactly what this journalist has said in the first paragraph. Please point me to a passage of a Dean's email that says otherwise and I will be happy to rescind my comment. There is also no claim by the writer that this is plagiarism. He merely lets others weigh in on this issue both pro and con. I fail to see how this is irresponsible journalism, and if you have read the comments above, the cut and paste emails may indicate far more than unanimity of opinion and deserve further investigation.

first paragraph :

"In the wake of the abrupt June 10 resignation of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, the deans of UVA– before eventually reversing themselves and calling for reinstatement– sent out a raft of statements urging calm, resolution, and damage control. But the messages contained something peculiar: identical words. For instance, a paragraph from Darden Dean Robert Bruner and Engineering School Dean James Aylor, explaining the controversial reasons why Sullivan was departing, appear to be nearly verbatim.

No claim of plagiarism?? What about the title of the article? Clearly that is what the author is aiming for, as his interview of a communication counselor also supports. I also read all the e-mails which did not express opinion either way, but say this is a time of uncertainty and they (deans, dept. chairs) will continue to do their best for their departments. I don't recall a single letter saying we are glad to see this action. So there was no "reversing" of themselves as no opinions about the firing were given. To reverse, an opinion must be given to start with.

@Merry3 & Simply Stated & Nancy Drew

even" if Dean Bruner gave permission for portions of his letter to be used" he did not explicitly say, do not give me credit for my words, rather claim the ideas as your own. This is a storm in a tea cup. So the Deans were shown up. We all know better than to claim ideas, & words of others as our own. Simply Stated has stated it clearly, and has the right attitude "for every person" who leaves "there is one more person chuckling..."

What Nancy Drew points to however is not amusing, and is, what is truly troubling.

Merry3 - Move on! Dragas must resign or be fired from her duties. Dragas does not serve the university well. Dragas does not represent UVA's positions as a whole; thus the reversal of Dragas coup attempt.

There was no plagiarism. Who cares about the title of the article - Hook wants readers. No biggie...

You are beginning to sound like a public relations firm.

What is your purpose? Are you here to support President Sullivan or NOT?

Why are you trying to muddy the waters 2 days after this article was published? Let me answer, because it takes 2 days for a major PR firm to approve responses on the internet. Am I right? I know PR.

By-the-way, why are you privy to "all the emails"?

@merry3
"I am ending my relationship with The Hook as well after this."

Has there been a reversal of position?

Hawes, please take Simply Stated's advice and buy the movie rights
and a good night to all

@Outragedalumna - I believe that NancyDrew is a plant from a PR firm to sniff out both sides. Be careful with her...

There is a certain jargon used among PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRMS TO DISTRACT FROM ISSUE:

"movie rights"
"book rights"
"2 sides"
"support"
"claims"
"I don't recall"

Textbook words from public relation firms.

Please do not pay attention to the late comerS nor Nancy Drew. She is very suspect at best!

Dr. Kiracofe makes the most sense and has substantial backing, references...to the issue at hand: WHY WAS PRESIDENT SULLIVAN OUSTED? Who was behind penetrating UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA?

simple: acta ACTA acta ACTA ACTA...and a dash of politics or is it the other way around?

Wow, that last set of posts looks like another sjones/Michael Sutton multiple personality blast. That's usually sign that the comments will be closed before long.

Nancy Drew has been posting under that name for a long time. I happen to think that his/her sleuthing skills aren't to sharp at the moment if she can't see that this trashy article plays a cute game of making an accusation in the guise of a question. Regardless, suggesting that Nancy is a PR hack is ridiculous.

The Washington Post article which looks into Anne Neal/ACTA influence on Dragas and the SCHEV meeting 17 Octrober 2011 is significant:

...."Neal did not mention Dragas by name. But her perspective is not too far removed from that of the rector, who justified Sullivan’s ouster as a necessary intervention to rescue U-Va. from what she viewed as an increasingly dismal financial model. Dragas suggested that rising costs and dwindling state subsidies call for hard choices and, presumably, significant cuts, and she faulted Sullivan for moving too slowly to address that issue ...."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/are-va-college-trus...

Farrell's role has not yet been fully analyzed. Dragas and Kington are on Farrell's board at Dominion Power. Farrell is a Business Model advocate it would appear.

That the Washington Post is giving a close look is interesting and hopefully they will continue to do so. Hill and Knowlton may have to work overtime.

Tom Farrell has deep ties to UVa, former Rector, and was in the short list for Sullivan's job. And his son, former UVa grad is making news too.

http://www.wina.com/pages/10713437.php?

I wish I did have a PR job - have heard the pay isn't bad.

Can we change the subject slightly? I just read the DP story on Sullivan's email yesterday to faculty and staff. The email itself seems oddly familiar -- much like Dragas' intitial rationale for firing Sullivan, and like her susbequent "10-point" expansion (without significant detail) of that rationale, Sullivan's message was long on vague generalizations and promises to listen and work in the future, but totally devoid of specifics or identification of any new accomplishments or initiatives taken since she was rehired 2 weeks ago. So, since June 8, we have basically been led by competing speechmakers in the BOV and President''s office, with no apparent work actually getting done to resolve any of the issues raised in those speeches. And yet, as revealed by the DP story, when one side (the Rector) speaks in such obviously worthless language, the faculty, as they should, shoot it full of holes, while when the utterances spew from the other side (the President) they are lauded as a positive "development" and evidence that the President is "back." This sort of Hooray-For-Our-Sideism doesn't reveal anything besides the fact that is still quite easy for people to get buffaloed (sorry, Steven Stiils) when hearing what they want to hear, even if it does them no real good. Let's take up as an example faculty salaries, the inadequacy of which (and Sullivan's failure to date to address constructively) was one of Dragas' purported reasons for The Ouster: Sullivan, in her post-reinstatement statements, has noted that the issue exists, but has not articulated any kind of plan for solving the problem. In fact, it is openly known that, up until The Ouster, she was not eager to talk with faculty about it. Some months ago, several dozen faculty members, frustrated at Sullivan's and her loyal underlings' reluctance to engage on this matter, wrote directly to the BOV to seek its input and involvement. It is rumored that when Sullivan found out about this, she angrily directed her minions in Madison Hall to quash any faculty revolt regarding salaries. The BOV, as we now know, at least declare themselves as taking the issue more seriously than did Sullivan, it seems. Yet, now, the faculty look to the subsequently martyred Sullivan as their champion on this issue, even though she has still not slipped any beef into the burger on it. Or maybe the ones speaking up aren't as affected by it as are others -- according to sites that pop up on Google, the two faculty members quoted in the DP story today are doing quite well for themselves (Sabato made $260,000 in 2010, while George Cohen pulled in $196,000). I wonder who will really pick up and carry the torch for the vast majority of faculty who make far, far less than these two way-above-average-salaried men? With her being "back," as Cohen put it, it is Sullivan's job to fix the problem, and serving up a new starchy plateful of refined rhetoric doesn't provide much in the way of nourishment. I think we've been buffaloed in cville, and too quickly leapt into the breach of faith for our Hooray For Our Side signs waived around on the Lawn back in June to ultimately really mean anything, in terms of solving real problems. It may feel psychologically better to pull the wool over our own eyes than to have Dragas try to blindfold us, but the result is the same, and it won't be The Ouster that causes other universities to successfully raid our faculty -- it will be Sullivan's poor record to date on fixing the compensation gap.

@money Trail Sniffer

makes some intersting points. There are certainly micro-political issues raised by the "recent unpleasantness."

The less well paid faculty should really listen up when the AAUP tries to rebuild a strong chapter at UVA. Only such types of organization will help lower paid faculty get some equity. I am not sure how effective the faculty senate has ever been on this issue.The faculty pay disparities are themselves indications of corporate-like problems in the organzation of UVA prior to the episode. It would have gotten worse if Dragas and her ACTA buddies had accomplished the goal. The favoratism and bullying behavior has to be looked at and faculty salaries are related here.

As far as Sullivan's statements, she is the Prisident and they don't usually engage in revolutionary rhetoric when making these types of statements. I do hope she takes this opportunity to clean up her upper management, we will have to see.

This article, while not really on target with the plaigerism has led to some great discussion about micro-related issues. The whole look at the Dean of the Curry School is worth it if nothing else comes of it. Follow the money and email trails.It also has broadened the scope of the examination to include SCHEV. It shows that there is an elaborate web of corporate influence behind the recent takeover attempt. How to clean it up and respond becomes the next question.

Someone above spoke about the whole multi-layered approach to examining the episode, that is right on target. its not just one cause, but multiple causes at multiple layers playing off one another. This is how the Curry School Dean is releate, perhaps not overtly, to the commercialization of higher ed, led by the Koch brothers and their ACTA gang.

Good lines of inquiry, Citizen Party. A skilled and enterprising journalist might make their Wooward and Bernstein moment with it. Is there any information revealing what Sullivan's position on professor unionization is? Or regarding organization of graduate students?

@mts if the faculty are unhappy with Sullivan why did they overwhelmingly stick their necks out to ask for Dragas and Kington to resign and for Sullivan to be reinstated . I believe the faculty senate vote for this was almost unanimous and those on the senate said, they had heard in overwhelming numbers that their colleagues wanted Sullivan back ?

Meanwhile, in news of McDonnell's appointments to other BOVs:

http://flathatnews.com/2012/06/05/bov-member-laura-flippin-found-guilty-...

http://www.vagazette.com/articles/2012/07/11/news/doc4ffcbef613ac3675007...

Hard to make Rector Dragas look good, but Governor Bob is trying.

@Nancydrew, the apparent irrationality of the faculty is my question. They seem to be not necessarily acting in their own interest by rushing to support sullivan, who has not yet done very much that anyone can identify to support them. But the faculty would not be the first to be fooled in this matter -- sullivan herself was played for a sucker when dragas and kington tricked her into voluntarily submitting a resignation letter. Even the best and brightest can be occasionally fooled. My guess is that the faculty took more offense at one of their own getting canned by corporate greedies, even if such greedies might have turned out to be more generous bosses for rank and file faculty and staff compared to "their own" leader, who really seems to want to avoid the issue. Recall the rhetoric surrounding the ouster, from all sides. We never really got an airing of a full and frank discussion on whether sullivan or someone else is the best person to solve UVA's problems. And following the kumbaya moment of her reinstatement, we probably never will.

Like any similar situation, not all black and white. I can see it from both @ nancydrew's and MTS's perspective. I did not support the mission President sullivan was hired to accomplish. This whole new budget model, accountability-based or responsisbility centered whatever it is called. It represents the corporitization of public universities. I would rather have a president who stands up to the Gov, the legislature and the BOV and says :RAISE CORPORATE AND WEALTH TAXES TO FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION. That being said, I supported Sullivan aganst the corporate BOV 100 %. If its a choice I choose her as she is a professional educator. It would have been horrible if they got their way and put in some corporate CEO type like the guy at Arizona State. The larger issue of the attack on public universities by corporate interests framed the protests at uva.

That being said, there were problems even under her leadershp. They persist. Problems like deans who were selected as leaders for all the wrong reasons, lack of equitable raise policy and practice, lack of transpARENCY BY ADMINISTRATORS, lack of support for living wage, the bullying problem by UVA supervisors. I am hoping that president Sullivan now understands what side her bread is buttered on and tha it was not just a few high paid faculty that stood up for her. we hope she uses this momemnt as a monent for reflection and evaluation. If that doesn't happen and the same attack occurs again, she may look back and not see so many in the streets behind her. Choice time. No more business as usual.

Despite what the President is forced to say as president, there still needs to be a full investigation of the events by the legisllature and there needs to be a cleaning of the internal house. I hope she evaluates the varied responses by the Deans right after the resignation announcement as well as Strine's role. She has to say things that are about reconciliation and moving on. I don't beleive for a second that its literal.

Indeed, CP, indeed. This whole budget model seems akin the the general devolution of responsibility that is not accompanied by delegation of power, represented by the state cutting back its financial contribution but not relinquishing actual control. How in the world are the so-called "obscure" departments supposed to become, for the first time in hundreds of years of history, economically self-sustaining when Sullivan & Co. still do not allow them full authority to develop financial resources? It almost seems like a death sentence in advance. Perhaps she will in the future be able to give raises to all of the worthy STEM faculty, paid for by cost savings resulting from elimination of the obscure non-STEM programs. As for the lack of transparency by administrators and bullying by UVa supervisors you mention, I wonder how much of this is endemic to UVa's culture, or to that of all universities. We've all heard tales of senior tenured professors bossing the junior untenureds around and making their lives miserable, for e.g. expecting the juniors to conduct personal business for the seniors when the juniors are on personal or professional travel, without any control by department chairs or superviory administrators. And the stories of aging male professors engaging in drunken skirt-chasing of late-teenage girls is exceeded in astounding impact only by the realization that so many of those old dinosaurs still walk among us, even if some of their acts were worthy of criminal prosecution (beware, parents of girls heading off to college, it's not just the frat boys and lacrosse players you need to worry about!). Today's news of Penn State's culture of coverup enabling the pedophile Sandusky, while an extreme example, is no giant step from a culture that values reputation and rank more than such things are really worth, to the larger society. Has Sullivan done much to rid UVa of such weeds? But back to the pecuniary -- it will be interesting to see for how long Sullivan can choose to not tackle the faculty salary issue, before more rebellion ensues. It is doubtful that the dozens of faculty who squealed to the BOV months ago have decided to let her have a pass on this. And it will be even more interesting to see what she does when it becomes tragically obvious that many, if not most, non-STEM programs will simply find it impossible to become financially self-sustaining under the new budget model. The recent letter from the college dean to the classics and german programs reported in the press seemed to give some comfort to the classicists, but the Huns wouldn't seem to have reason to take much comfort form it, what?

Institutions, all large intitutions, have such problems. What happens in them and to them depends on leadership. I am still hopefull that President Sullivan will reflect on what just happened and make the right choices going forward and be a force for positive institutional change. Some of the problems are realted to UVA and what has been called the "plantation" culture. I think president Sullivan is an advocate for non-STEM fields and will try to do the right thing and can make some changes in the culture bt it will take some time. I do fear the new budget model is unsustainable and antithetical to traditonal higher education.

Similarities between UVA/dragas and Penn State/Paterno:

Right now all eyes are on the Penn State scandal's newly released review by Louis Freeh. Scathing report on behind the scenes. What an atrocity!

UVA has a lot to learn from Penn State's cover up. This situation makes me want to look into the Jones' contributions to UVA. There is something terribly wrong when the Jones' basketball arena trumps education, education scholarships. I hope that the new Yoga studio trumps all education scholarships to deserving students. I just don't buy any of the Jones' donations. This is a tax deduction and profiteering from an elite STATE university.

DRAGAS/JONES' are dragging down the UVA.

Don't you want the Jone's basketball arena and the Jones' yoga studio to succeed and triumph over the student scholarships that "could have been" because the thought that was best for the University of Virginia?

NO!

The system in general has been kept running by students running up 1 Trillion in debt. Once the default rates hits a certain percentage we are going to have serious trouble.

@Citizen Party, it is true that the degree to which all institutions, large or small, have problems such as inadequate protection from the risk of sexual assault depends greatly upon leadership, especially when leadership is presented with an instance in which it has to make some kind of decision about what to do in that case. Judge Freeh's report on the Penn State disaster (which really makes our recent unpleasantness at UVa seem like small potatoes, in comparison) shows how repeated poor decisionmaking by a university president can not only lead to harm to the institution but also enable continued harm to vulnerable and defenseless individuals. Halfway through Freeh's report, it becomes evident that much of the disaster at Penn State might have been prevented if Penn State leadership were not so ignorant regarding their responsibilities under the federal Clery Act, and had Penn State actually devised and implemented a program for compliance with its legal requirements. I wonder what UVa's situation is with respect to the Clery Act, and to what extent President Sullivan is hopefully much more up to speed on her and UVa's Clery Act duties, and how well UVa has in the past and currently complies with its duties to gather information regarding all Clery crimes occurring on campus, report them to proper authorities, and notify the University community of any continued risks posed by either convicted or alleged (conviction is not a prerequisite to the duty to report, Freeh says)perpetrators of such crimes who are still within the community. Upon reading the Freeh report, if I were responsible for a university's Clery Act compliance, I'd want to get on top of this right away. No doubt the BOV will want to, in order to avoid committing the same failure of its oversight duties as did the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Forgot one more thing: It will not be surprising if the Love family's continued civil actions against UVa and several UVa officials, who might seem to fit within the scope of Clery Act "campus security authorities" subject to Clery Act reporting requirements, do not make use of the Act and the Freeh report, if it appears that UVa was even close to as negligent regarding Clery Act compliance as was Peen State. The history of Huguely's prior assaults, for e.g., once known by the athletic department, appears to be something that should have been shared with a central UVA complaince authority and even provided as a warning to the larger community, long before he killed Love.

I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is a failed attempt to satire the Honor Code, or something like that. If not, I really don't see how this got past the editor's desk.

Come to think of it, there is a disclaimer here ("* Language stronger than .... by Bigfoot") that looks awfully similar to the disclaimers in the comments section of other articles. Looks there is rampant plagiarism at the Hook! Don't they know that they are supposed to re-word this disclaimer each and every time, since readers expect everything here to be original? Can you believe that they have the audacity to actually copy that thing verbatim? Let's call ethics and honor code experts to get their opinions. I wonder if they will have the same "charitable" view as they did for the deans. And, gasp, the author uses Helvetica Neue for the font of the title, clearly copying other articles on this website. I expect original formatting and style sheets; can you believe that this was just copied without attribution?

Of course, I'm going a little overboard, but the point is applicable. The deans had a job to do, and, as university administrators, all that matters was that they got the job done effectively. When they submit scholarly work to academic journals, we expect that it is 100% original. Fine, go after them for any plagiary there--and I hope that you do. But when they send official notices of administrative goings-on, we have different expectations (only that it gets the job done--just like the font of this article, and the disclaimer below).

For all those taking time out of their busy day to object to McNair's article, it certainly seems to have struck a nerve. Curious! Maybe there are guilty consciences at work here. Isn't the protest sounding like "the lady doth protest too much, methinks"? Lets remember that concept was expressed in Hamlet by Willy the Shake. Even if everyone around the globe knows the origin we must give the credit.

"plagiarism definition
Cultural Dictionary
Literary theft. Plagiarism occurs when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own. Copyright laws protect writers' words as their legal property. To avoid the charge of plagiarism, writers take care to credit those from whom they borrow and quote."

Please, Please let us all go back to paying attention to what Clifford Kiracofe has to say.

@alleyesonpennstate

You have no idea how prophetic your comparison to Penn State is!!!!!

UVA has its own coverups of sexual misconduct, even under Sullivan's watch! Stay tuned........

@non-smoker July 14th, 2012 | 1:36am

I have been thinking the same thing, So much, too much to even guess what fan will hit the s____ , OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.....

It may be under Sullivan's watch technically, but the play ground was around long before she came in. Maybe just maybe, the first strike at her, to take her out. Was due to her digging and maybe she got a little too close to some subjects, we all know financial times are tough. I am quite sure Sullivan will never ever play ball with the safety of Children or Students, at any cost. Makes her one scary threat to the old boys club, and the woman that does want another chick in her rooster house.

So raising money, a convenient way to say make her go away!

"claim of plagiarism" the tip of an iceberg larger than the entire State of Virgina [or common wealth if you so desire].

Dont kid yourself, non-smoker. The opportunities to purge UVa of such perps have already come in the last couple years, and TS hasnt taken them. In fact, the result has been promotions and a welcoming back after a brief forced "sabbatical.". If youre looking for a reformer, youll have to wait for someone else to come along.

Anyone know anything about the Beazley Foundation? They commissioned the ACTA report on VA schools and then used the "results" of the report as an excuse to publicly explain why they are ceasing grants to those schools.

"Judge Richard S. Bray, chairman and CEO of the foundation told the Daily Press, “The data contained in this report show that we are, in fact, supporting rising costs, more administrators and a diffuse and incoherent curriculum.”
“We commissioned the report to give us a little bit of guidance and enlightenment,” Judge Bray said in a phone interview. “What we were trying to do is get objective information. We intended it to be constructive.”

http://www.thecaptainslog.org/2012/03/21/tuition-increases-professor-sal...

Slow news day, I take it.

I can't even believe this is a story. What happened here isn't plagiarism, and somebody is just scraping the bottom of a barrel to create scandal where none would otherwise exist. Seriously, is there nothing more interesting going on in this area that the Hook could be covering? Apparently not. I can't wait until we finally move away from here in a few months.

I would have used the handle "Small Town, Small Minds" but I know that another hook poster regularly uses that title. But it's just so fitting.

Not much to offer here, but I do know that the BoV had originally scheduled the orientation meeting for July 13th but cancelled that date and rescheduled for the later Oct. 17th date. Why? Might be worth filling that in on the chronology time line.

Also Last week McDonnell announced Virginia to hold a summit on educational reform on August 15-17.

Mistake, the next BoV meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13-14th 2012....not October. However the July 13 th meeting was cancelled,... that part is correct.

wow, your covers get worse by the week

Washington Post says:

"There’s a charade playing out right now at the University of Virginia — and it’s not a game.

It’s the batty pretense that President Teresa Sullivan can and should be able to work well with people on the governing board who orchestrated her ouster — or acquiesced in it — but then reinstated her when the school community revolted. That Sullivan should be forced into a “healing” process with people who deceived her and lied to her — and who still won’t tell the public what really happened. That there isn’t a better way to end this episode.

The better though more difficult way would be for those members of the board who helped cause the disaster, or who stood idly by during it, to finally tell the public the truth and then leave the premises. A new board should be created with representatives from the various university constituencies.
......"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-u-vas-governin...

I still think this story is relevant--these deans copied from each other, went with the BOV decision without pause, then later flip flopped when public opinion pushed them to. Where is their credibility? Where is leadership at UVA? How can the dean who danced on Terry's grave now claim to be her ally? How can Terry lead effectively with this group under her and Dragas over her? I do feel for the deans--what chaos, and now who can they trust and turn to as they try to go back to business as usual, when all is a charade?

The Washington Post has several reporters on this...several. That says something. IMO they know they have a real story here and can link it to the national situation and to national politics, not to mention Virginia state politics. With a few aggressive investigative reporters on this and an editorial team concerned with education as part of national politics in an election year the UVA mess is a prime target.

I hope Dave McNair beats the WAPO to the punch. He's good. And he already has a good bead on the management/bullying problem at UVA.

I still think the topic of this article may have been a little soft, but the discussion it has engendered has several excellent leads for other stories. I think following up with what Suzie McCarthy's FB group is doing as well as the "Reform the BOV" FB froup activities is worth a look and some support. The grave dancing deans and The Curry School story seems worthy of follow up.

It all stills seems like we are on the defensive when we should be n the offensive. I would love to see a national meeting of all the Presidents and Faculty Senate chairs of all the public universities held in the Rotunda. Purpose: a national movement to rollback the attack on public higher education, the strangulation of tax support, the stacking of governing boards with neoconservatives and neoliberals. It seems like the more networking and mutual support public universities gather up, the better off they will be. There needs to be a public relations campaign that illustrates to people who are not directly connected to the universities, why it is in their interests to support public universities.

@CItizen Party, maybe such a movement could even pick at the "competitiveness" scab that seems to so itch the neocons-- american snd european universities are now losing the contest versus indian and chinese universities in terms of producing numbers of qualified grads, and i bet those developing world campuses are not run on the western corporate model. Still, rather than launch a political movement, i'd rather ser uva spend its energy sloving its own internal problems, such as the faculty salary crisis that is putting us behind our amarivan peers, and a penn-state-like cultural bias against full public disclosure of things such as sex crimes and other acts if violence that might harm our reputation.

@MTS,

I am wondering if the two levels are not related. Global competitiveness, capitalist culture, business model--->UVA culture, Deans, management, lack of transparency, faculty salary differentials. Does one provide the context for the others? Sometimes it seems like trying to compete fro ratings leads to unethical management practices.

There was an excellent example of this at Louisville University School of Education where they hired an academically successful dean, the President and provost set him loose to raise the school's reputation by whatever means necessary. He created a culture of competition, set people against one another, ruined the atmosphere. Long story Short, he's doing a stretch in fed pen for fraudulent use of federal grant money. The story that got missed was what he did to ruin the culture of that school of education on the way to raising of rankings. See: http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100108/NEWS01/1080376/Former-Un... The article states:

"The Felner investigation created a scandal at UofL, where officials initially credited Felner for turning around the College of Education and Human Development by improving teaching preparation and dramatically expanding its involvement in local public schools.As the investigation proceeded, however, faculty members spoke out against Felner's leadership, saying he was vindictive, manipulative and threatening and drove away talented people. Some of the faculty who had run-ins with Felner attended Friday's hearing, including Thomas Simmons, an education professor.

“I think it's sad,” Simmons said afterward. “The way he treated people at the college was just totally inappropriate.”

Hebert said UofL acknowledges mistakes were made, and noted the university has taken several steps to fix problems identified by the investigation, including a revamping of its grievance process, review of faculty governance procedures and creation of an Ombuds Office to address faculty concerns and complaints. “The university has owned up to its mistakes and we're ready to move on,” he said."

A cautionary tale for UVA?

Speaking of China:

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/719974.shtml

Also, there seem to be some new emails out....any analysis?

Email from the Rector and President:
JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE RECTOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

This is an important moment in the history of our great University. Recent events have caused the respect that U.Va. generates to acquire a new level of energy, focusing widespread attention on our future. We are unequivocally united in the belief that the institution’s future is brighter than ever. Together, we commit to harness this renewed energy to advance the University’s leadership role in higher education.

Our University faces the same challenges -- many of them resource issues, both financial and human -- as our peer institutions. We are prepared to address them in ways that are consistent with the vision of our founder, the integrity of our Honor Code, and the aspirations of our community.

As first steps, we will work to strengthen the networks of communication and collaboration between each other, as well as among all of our stakeholder groups: students, faculty, and staff; members of the Board of Visitors; alumni, donors, and parents; and key external constituencies in the Commonwealth and beyond. We also commit to engaging the community in the creation of a plan of action that will sustain excellence for future generations.

As leaders of U.Va., sharing a common love for the institution and its mission in the world, we pledge to work together to ensure that our University remains a beacon for superb higher education, outstanding health care, and important research. We also call on those who share our love to join us in fulfilling Jefferson’s vision for the University to become the “bulwark of the human mind.”

We look forward to working with you on the critical and exciting endeavors that lie ahead.

Helen E. Dragas, Rector

Teresa A. Sullivan, President

July 16, 2012

Interesting choice in using the noun bulwark. Bulwark may also be used as a verb.
Verb 1. bulwark - defend with a bulwark
defend - be on the defensive; act against an attack

"As first steps, we will work to strengthen the networks of communication and collaboration between each other, as well as among all of our stakeholder groups: students, faculty, and staff; members of the Board of Visitors; alumni, donors, and parents; and key external constituencies in the Commonwealth and beyond. We also commit to engaging the community in the creation of a plan of action that will sustain excellence for future generations."

First step of the first step:

Tell us why you need to release such a statement?
Tell us what really happened and why.
Tell us why Dragas should not resign like Kington did?
Tell us why the whole BOV should not not be reconstituted?
Tell us how this will not happen again?
Tell us how the public university will be protected from privatization?
Tell us what the plan is to go back to the Governor and the Legislature and demand full funding of the public university?

Quit hiding behind a false facade of forgive forget and memory loss? We don't trust the BOVs. That trust will take some time and evidence to establish.

I'm starting to fear that sullivan has just been initiated into the good ol' club. The newly released emails show she may have originally been hired as a temp, and maybe dragas and crew just meant to send this kelly girl home early after finally finding the long term candidate that eluded them in 2009. These recent warm fuzzy messages from the prez sound like pure uva culture. And we now know that allegiance to a culture can poison a president's judgment (think: penn state way). Now she is proving herself to be one of them, which maybe means she wont be one of us. Power to the privileged!

Money trail sniffer, you have been slowly and surely trying to chip away at Sullivan's credibility and character, trying to become "one of the people" here but with a seeming goal of trying to change the positive public opinion of Sullivan. You're not fooling me.

Sorry humble , but i'm not yet ready to jump on the we love terry bandwagon and start sipping from the kool-aid. Yer right i'm mot one of the people who rushed to rally for her -- u didn't see me on the lawn, for sure. I'm just one of the real working class waiting for any uva leader, whether it's dragas/sullivan/simon/strine or one of the dozens of deans or chairs, to do something for those of us not pulling down six figures rather than just talk about it. It isn't me you need to worry about fooling you, it's yourself and the well-paid ones at the top.

Helen Dragas is a disgrace to UVA. Dragas has nothing left to offer the university except PR driven letters promoting a united front. Ick! If Dragas cared about the UVA she would quit immediately.

Dragas remains because of McDonnell. Where does McDonnell's political funding come from? Sheldon Adelson, Koch et al.

Nothing can change the fact that Dragas had Dr. Sullivan fired behind her back. Dragas must resign.

Sullivan is in a bind. Dragas did serious damage to UVA's fund raising and everybody realizes that she and the board are to blame for that, not the President. Unfortunately for Sullivan, she has to deal with the impact that loss of funding and good will has created. I'm sure she has no choice but to make statements like the one above in order to bring disgusted donors back into the fold.

I think the right thing for concerned alumni and other potential donors to do would be to donate in a fashion that shows clear support for the president by placing conditions on the use of what money is given. I believe there is a President's Fund and a gift to that would send an appropriate message.

Is this a second joint statement by Dragas that is resolute and authoritative?

@b17

I think you're right. There is a potential future (and probably already real) fundraising challenge.

Those who wished to see Sullivan replaced did not get what they wanted. Those who opposed the putsch and its possible, multiple motivations and what they might have meant in the context of recent American history and politics, got Sullivan reinstated but perhaps not much more; the latter group might well be alienated by Sullivan's recent embrace of Dragas and Kiernan.

That makes it incredibly difficult to phrase an "ask" to alumni, absent even a partial explanation of what transpired and why.

Both groups of donors might just take a wait-and-see approach. That would be troubling to UVa finances. It also might make impossible any valid evaluation of Sullivan's fundraising record by this BOV or a future one.

Also, it's a terrible letter.

It reads to me neither like Dragas's native language (as seen in the FOIA emails, not the parroted PR work) nor Sullivan's, nor even a joint work product. To the attuned reader the letter therefore doesn't come through as genuine, and thus the sentiment of shared commitment seems phony.

What an ongoing tragedy.

@ Money trail sniffer July 16th, 2012 | 10:28am

I hope this correct, and I so agree:
"Still, rather than launch a political movement, i'd rather ser uva spend its energy sloving its own internal problems, such as the faculty salary crisis that is putting us behind our amarivan peers, and a penn-state-like cultural bias against full public disclosure of things such as sex crimes and other acts if violence that might harm our reputation."

I hope that your not correct that she has joined the club, the Good Ole Boys and Drag ass.

I guess only time will tell, and I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder: If other e-mails as to your above mentioned statement are available.

Something more is behind this, smell some rats that are more worried about criminal conduct being exposed, not just fundraising! She may not even know what she has stumbled upon, YET!

They do!

@ b17 July 16th, 2012 | 6:13pm

If it is correct that this exists: and is not transferable to anyone but the President that held that title at the time of the funds being offered, I think your idea is absolutely brilliant!

"I think the right thing for concerned alumni and other potential donors to do would be to donate in a fashion that shows clear support for the president by placing conditions on the use of what money is given. I believe there is a President's Fund and a gift to that would send an appropriate message."

might i suggest the UVA-ANTI-DRAGAS fund? I would definitely contribute!

Worstwurst July 16th, 2012 | 7:22pm

"It also might make impossible any valid evaluation of Sullivan's fundraising record" spot on!

I, just my opinion, she her extending an olive branch to undeserving people in power. Hope, she reads between the lines, even though she should not have to. Now, is the time for her grab the bull by the horns and let the bull S__T be seen, smelled, and be plastered on the faces of those that DO NOT put the the students first!

Students First! Protect them, send those not worthy packing, regardless of their family's money!

UVA, and I am not from Virginia, have a big family there, have from age 11 always been told by my father and very dear people that UVA is the best public University in the United States!

So, let her make it that way again! The endowment, does not PR! When people and Grads see the change, this could be the start of the greatest gift giving ever, may take a few years.

But, the old way, has to go! By the way the old way, is not really the old way, the original way 50 years ago and from the start was much different from what has been going on the last 3 decades or more!

"DRAGAS MUST RESIGN!

Thank goodness for the intelligence displayed on these posts!

Business as usual is not part of my vernacular! I cannot believe the "joint" statement with signatories Dragas and Dr. Sullivan carry any weight. Dragas undermined UVA, a public institution, and if Dragas wants to implement a business model, this is a complete failure.

In business, Dragas would be fired by now. So, which is it, business model "STRATEGIC DOMINIONISM" or reasonable model that INCLUDES THE FACULTY(ISM).

I am really getting fed up with all this 'ism' vernacular that distracts from the fact that Dragas wanted Sullivan out. OUT because Governor McDonnell disagreed with a RESEARCH Institution's guidance by a Doctor (Sullivan) who studied/studies employment of all races; that is her life's research. Employment after education. Why educate if the education process is flawed. Why pay $40,000 if my kid can get this education online. Audacity is culpable and using the education system to further all but the United States. This is TREASON!

Dominion Resources: Dragas is also on the board:
"The company has 20.7 B in debt with debt to equity (D/E) ratio of 1.73 which is OK given its current industry classification. Dominion Resources Inc. has Current Ratio of 0.74 suggesting that it DOES NOT have enough short term capital to pay financial commitments when the payables are due." so everything Dragas is a part of is FAILING...FAILURE BEGETS FAILURE.

DRAGUS MUST RESIGN!"

I do not want this to be political, but: Now UVA students are treated as pawns, like little lab monkeys. No desire for the students to thrive, they seem to be 6th on the list of priorities.

Sure they, some work and take loans on their own, to be in ever in finical crisis. others, well deserved scholarships, some full, some still put burdens on families.

Heaven help those and or their parents that have spent their whole like to get the grades to get in. It is very tough, and if you take an out of state student that must pay full amount, you cannot imagine the amount of investment of money, blood, sweat and tears. Maybe a younger child has to suffer for this one to go to college. Yet, they are as students treated like a numbers, this is so sad.
Face it, the fund raising, leads to more money being put into guess what: More fund raising, cover-ups, building monuments, naming buildings.

Politics, and a Governor other than being the executive officer, has no part in this. He has politicized this! He chose to!

I cannot contemplate any chief executive, with the power to deploy National Guard, pardon felons, enforce the LAW and to ask for federal assistance in times of disasters bringing in politics.

It is disgusting, the majority posting here see it as what it is Perhaps a few, seemly not!

So its a swing state, the presidential and congressional elections are his priority. Not the students! They are way down the list!

Thank you people for posting, even if I do not agree with all, but UVA used to be above that!

What has been the dollar consequence to Dragas' behind the scenes ouster of President Sullivan?

What exactly are year-to-date pledges to UVA since Dragas ill-tempted ouster of UVA's president? Why is this not PUBLIC information? I believe it is huge and why is no one talking about it? After all, the Governor thought 6 percent from his budget was good enough. Wow, what a disservice to the public university, UVA! Particularly since Governor McDonnell is promoting his $500 plus surplus? Stupidity at its' best at the Governor's office.

Hello, is anyone listening? Endowments at UVA are down, way down, and Dragas is responsible. Look at the money....

MONEY MONEY MONEY! Look at the endowments and funding. Remove those involved with their ill-attempted ouster of President Sullivan, and you will find endowments and donor pledges are down over 50 percent. Thank you Governor McDonnell.

The vibe I get from the emailed joint statement is that it is an attempt (by PR firm) to quash the uprising building. Same insulting attempt was made right before bringing President Sullivan back. This is the tell.
Dragas is on her way out the door.

President Sullivan, I so wish you had not allowed your name on that statement. Say it ain't so. Please say it ain't so.

"University of Virginia officials have announced a new partnership with a company specializing in offering massive open online courses."

http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2012/jul/17/uva-announces-new-online-...

http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=19116

Good for UVa!! We've long had the technology available. Why should only the few lucky enough to be in one lecture hall get to experience a gifted professor? I think education is about to take giant steps forward. At this important time of change UVa needs more than ever leaders with integrity. We need technical wizards, innovative idea people, along with leaders we can trust to make careful decisions while not forgetting to put students first. If I were President Sullivan I would explore the possibility of bringing a person on board who is a Ph.D. graduate of UVa. She just might be the right person at the right time to be a part of this important team. http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/16/the-woman-who-stood-up-... If handled properly the use of technology could provide UVa with another source of great pride. I think this venture with Coursera is a positive move. Good job President Sullivan!

Was the faculty and the faculty senate consulted about this move?

In The Washington Post today, reporter Daniel De Vise has offered up what is more an on-line “learning” fluff-piece-ad than an informative and insightful article on education change (and the politics of it) at UVa in particular, and public education in general.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/u-va-takes-major-step-in-o...

DeVise described UVa’s very rapid engagement with on-line learning “a potentially transformative movement...on a global scale.” Other than cutting jobs and wages, and turning more undergraduate education over to “technology (videotaped lectures, on-line testing), he fails to clarify what makes this business-model shift so transformative.

DeVise writes that “A compelling body of research has shown that some online initiatives yield improved outcomes at reduced cost.” But he doesn’t cite a single piece of that “compelling research” that supports that claim. Nor does any one of the people he references in the article.

Indeed, what we DO know is that Helen Dragas was reading “various articles” and latching on to half-baked musings and policy goals promulgated by conservative writers like David Brooks (David Brooks? Please.) and John Chubb and Terry Moe, both of whom are ensconced at the Hoover Institution.

The Hoover Institution, a conservative "think" (if it can be called that) tank that promotes "free enterprise" and the privatization of public education. Both Chubb and Moe are members of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 education, funded by the Koret Foundaton. The Koret Foundation pushes "market-based K-12 education reform" and subscribes to the mistaken and easily disproved notion that "America's broken educational system lies at the heart of our nation's troubles" and drastic "reform" is imperative for "economic competitiveness."

Chubb and Moe recently (2009) wrote a book titled Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education. In that book Chubb and Moe push all the conservative "reform" buttons: competition, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay for teachers. Technology, they say, is what will "make our children better educated." The problem –– and it's a big one –– is that there's little or no research to back any of it up.

Here's their web site. Click on Virginia in the map to find out about "recent developments" in the Commonwealth regarding technology and privatization initiatives.

http://www.liberatinglearning.org/?page_id=20

Bob McDonnell claimed to be uninvolved in the sordid affiar at UVa. But he most likely was. As Chubb and Moe noted, McDonnell pushed very hard in the last legislative session for more charter schools and "virtual school opportunities." There really shouldn't be much if any question about this. Conservatives –– especially Republicans (but also business-oriented "fiscal conservatives like Helen Dragas) –– view education simply as a commodity to be bought and sold, and not as a core civic responsibility of government in a democratic republic. What they will now argue, is that they are fulfilling Thomas Jefferson’s “vision” by bringing UVa to the “masses.”

DeVise does not cite any “compelling research.” and none of the higher education academics he quotes does either. Instead, they keep referring to their foray into on-line learning as “an experiment.” It’s not really an “experiment” about learning though. It’s about applying business-model principles to instruction - and cutting costs - and using “technology” as the vehicle. And there will be consequences.

In a 2003 book (The Flickering Mind), Todd Oppenheimer reviewed the research on technology and learning and and concluded that technology was a "false promise."  Technology is no panacea to improving learning, and spending on it and often undermines funding that might have gone to reducing class sizes and improving facilities.  Classroom observations found that "more often than not" classroom use of computers encouraged "everybody in the room to go off task."  

More recently the New York Times reported recently on classroom use of technology in Arizona, where “The digital push aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom.” As the Times reported, “schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.”

To counteract the research, and gain some “credibility” by hopping on the the Khan Academy bandwagon (do these advocates think Khan is credible because he’s a former hedge-fund analyst?), the term the “transformers” now use is “flipping the classroom.” Uh-huh.

So, let’s see. The “transformation” means that “Students earn no college credit and the universities make no money,” but they get to “to expand their global brand .” We are told to ignore believe that this a “great opportunity” and “future potential,” when it’s mostly about cutting faculty costs and increasing faculty “efficiency” (note Dragas‘ comment about “a resource-constrained environment”). Nearby Albemarle County did the same thing a few years ago, pushing a costly software application (SchoolNet) as an “instructional tool” and forcing its use. The results were not good (See: http://www.readthehook.com/100248/no-school-administrator-left-behind ). The county superintendent and school board are still withholding 268 SchoolNet-related e-mails.

I posted elsewhere that upon Sullivan’s reinstatement as president, she had four options:
 
1. She can “fight the power.” But “the power” of conservative big-money forces on the Board just increased and McDonnell’s minions now have very firm control. If she “fights the power” at UVa, she’s toast. 
 
2. She can continue focusing on incremental change. But incremental change is what got her in trouble with Dragas and the other corporate gun-slingers in the first place. Unless Dragas and Atkinson et al agree that an incremental approach –– turning up the heat slowly but surely –– is the best way to boil the frog, that’s unlikely. 
 
3. She can comply, and do precisely what the Board (i.e., Dragas, Atkinson, and of course, McDonnell) wants her to do, and get reappointed when her current contract is up. Then, UVa and the Commonwealth are the losers. And Sullivan will have surrendered her integrity. 
 
4. She can try for “reasonable” accommodation of Board demands, and if she feels the Board is unreasonable, she can quit. At this point, she can find another job elsewhere with no trouble. 

It appears that Sullivan has opted for Door #3, even if she tries to paint the picture differently...that’s it’s really all about enhanced “instruction.” Indeed her plan, as deVise notes, “would go further than most elite universities have dared in replacing human instructors with software.” UVa is offering up “$10,000 grants to professors” to get them to buy in (pun intended) to the “transformation.”

Parents, “who pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in tuition and student and professors and citizens have a right to be skeptical. If an offer, a deal, sounds far too good to be true –– and given the research, on-line learning certainly qualifies –– then it probably is.

Will these technological transformations halt, slow, or even reverse rising tuition and fees?

Will they enable UVa to demand more support from the state?

Will they lead to raises for teaching/reasearch faculty?

Educational technology is a symbolic thing. To some in the university business model it means doing what we already do now, only more efficiently and cheaply. To others like Prof. Ed Ayers when he taught historical methods with technology, it means using technology to do things that we cannot do without it and that is content-driven and creative. This latter road is not efficient or cheap but it does lead to interesting learning outcomes like using simulations to show students how mathematical and scientific concepts work in a dynamic and visual manner.

Dragas and company are not interested in that, they are interested in economies of scale and that model is bankrupt. Broadcasting my lectures to people around the globe who are divorced from the learning context is akin to watching a PBS show and while it serves a purpose it is not education with a facilitator who is a trained professional. UVA students don't want that and they don't pay for that, and I believe they don't want their degrees cheapened by that. The online racket is a scheme that for profits and banks use to scam undergrads out of tuition money. The attrition rate for online courses is through the roof and everyone knows it. Combined with the student loan scam its a perfect storm to take from the poor and give to the rich.

I think there is another option to add to democracy's above mentioned possibilities. This technology announcement is a red herring. It seems like a limited experiment that Sullivan can say "look I did some of that business stuff you wanted me to do" while she knows its just a limited experiment that may go nowhere.

If Sullivan and Dragas didn't know about the deal, we are in much worse shape than we know-Who is running the place?

The relevance of the technology decision from my POV was that there was not much faculty input or discussion and it seems foisted upon students, parents, and faculty. This may piss off students and parents and faculty more than anyone knows. We may lose faculty if this is forced on them or there is a perception of top-down mandate. That's where we should keep our attention focused: Accountability for Dragas and the Board (resign), pressure on legislators to deny her confirmation, pressure on legislators to investigate and reform the way in which BOV are appointed and ensuring representation on the BOV by Faculty, students, staff, alums, voting representation to the tune of 51% of the BOV. Transparency in decision making at the University level and school/college and department level also needs to stay front and center.

Not sure what to make of Sullivan's "making nice" discourse of late. May be too soon to tell. Sure would like to hear from the Faculty Senate on some of these issues.

@ citizen party, everything you said in your most recent post is correct. Under the new dragas/sullivan model, we should expect all language courses to be outsourced through rosetta stone. Once that is achieved , all extra focuses on literarture, art, culture, and social history will be sacrificed. This will just prove the truism that the dragas versus sullivan war was merely the academic equivalent of general electric versus exxon/mobil, and that the instant mobs formed for either side were just exploitees. No revolution in human history ever got anywhere by siding with one of the established institutional powers -- not the war of the roses, the american or french "revolutions," nor the bolsheviks. We have been had.

Not sure I believe we have been had quite yet. Still waiting to see what Sullivan and Faculty Senate do., I am hoping she has realized which side of her bread is buttered. Not really waiting, I think the community and citizenry itself has become a player in this now despite what the Sullivan does. There are groups who are working on legislators to reform the BOV, deny Dragas' confirmation, demand new appointment process for BOV so that there is more and wider participation by stakeholders. These groups need to put pressure on Sullivan to do the right thing (e.g., Living Wage, anti-bullying, cleaning out her administration, more transparency, faculty salaries) as well.

And this is the most important thing anyway, for if Sullivan was to resign tomorrow, they would probably put in some corporate type who is worse and what we will require is a standing commitment by the faculty, students, alums, parents, staff, community to be permanently engaged. The wrong that was done by Dragas and co. was not done against Sullivan but against all of us in the public.

The lesson for me from all this is really close to the last speech that the Joe Wilson character gives at the end of the Movie Fair Game which is about the whistle blower in the Valerie Plame case. Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQkyJD15B74

I am not waiting around to see if this was just a squabble between two elite factions. The University is a public institution, that means it belongs to us. Can't go back to normal, back to sleep. We should plan another rally to remind them what we want. See if the Faculty show up like the public did for them.

Sorry cp, but while we wait on institutional change to validate what has already been done, we miss the final blow of the ref's whistle. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Faculty senate? Nice idea, but not like the real thing -- it currently has no "advice and consent" authority, it can only bitch snd whine. Political theatre has no role beyond the curtain call.

@MTS,
So what then must we do?

FS bitching and whining were pretty effective. You might be right, but I think we are in a moment where it matters what we all do, you, me, the public, the community, the students, the alums, the FS, Sullivan, the legislators, Dave Mcnair, etc...

Maybe Christopher Hayes in Twilight of the Elites is right and that'as the lesson that will be drawn from the UVA Dragas Debacle. http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780307720450-0

I would feel better if the FS continued to call for Dragas' resignation and reform of the BOV in a more public fashion. I would feel better if Sullivan came out with a plan to call for more state support of public education.

NYTimes reports UVA already in Udacity network:

...."Now, the partners will include the California Institute of Technology; Duke University; the Georgia Institute of Technology; Johns Hopkins University; Rice University; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Washington; and the University of Virginia, where the debate over online education was cited in last’s month’s ousting — quickly overturned — of its president, Teresa A. Sullivan. Foreign partners include the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the University of Toronto and EPF Lausanne, a technical university in Switzerland. ....

"But even Mr. Thrun, a master of MOOCs, cautioned that for all their promise, the courses are still experimental. “I think we are rushing this a little bit,” he said. “I haven’t seen a single study showing that online learning is as good as other learning.”....
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/education/consortium-of-colleges-takes...

I’m keenly aware that my intellectual skills don’t come close to measuring up to all who post here but, nevertheless, I want each of you to know that your thought provoking words, and brilliant investigative works are welcomed and appreciated. With each post, you give me a glimmer of hope that the truth will eventually surface, all the dots will be connected, the hidden agenda and the power players fully exposed.
As we say here in the south, FINALLY, the chickens are coming home to roost and the foxes have nowhere to hide.

In an earlier comment I referenced a recent article in the Washington Post be reporter Daniel DeVise. In that article DeVise described UVa’s very rapid engagement with on-line learning “a potentially transformative movement...on a global scale.” However, other than mentioning the cutting of jobs and wages, and turning more undergraduate education over to “technology (videotaped lectures, on-line testing), DeVise did nothing to clarify what makes this business-model shift so “transformative” (a term used quite often by education charlatan Wendy Kopp of corporate-funded Teach for America).

DeVise writes that “A compelling body of research has shown that some online initiatives yield improved outcomes at reduced cost.” But he doesn’t cite a single piece of that “compelling research” that supports that claim. Nor does any one of the people he references in the article. Instead, they keep referring to their foray into on-line learning as “an experiment.” But it is not really an “experiment” about learning. It’s about applying business-model principles to instruction - and cutting costs - and using “technology” as the vehicle.
I pointed out previously that one of the options Teresa Sullivan has as the restored president of UVa is compliance. She can do precisely what the Board (i.e., Dragas, Atkinson, and of course, McDonnell) wants her to do. And perhaps she’ll get reappointed when her current contract is up.

It appears that Sullivan has decided on that course of action, even if she tries to paint the picture differently and say that it’s really all about enhanced “instruction.” Her plan, as DeVise notes, “would go further than most elite universities have dared in replacing human instructors with software.”

Clifford Kiracofe cites a New York Times article on “a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education.” In that article Sebastian Thrun , who founded on-line course company Udacity and who taught a Stanford on-line artificial intelligence course, said this about on-line learning:

“I haven’t seen a single study showing that online learning is as good as other learning.”

Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped Udacity from marketing its courses to high school students. See:

http://www.udacity.com/hschallenge

The Times article also noted that “Udacity recently announced plans to have students pay $80 to take exams at testing centers operated around the world by Pearson, a global education company.” Pearson, as I commented before, bought SchoolNet, the badly-flawed software technology purchased by Albemarle County and forced on its teachers, and on which The Hook wrote a series of stories (the county superintendent and school board continue to withhold 268 SchoolNet-related emails from public scrutiny).

The Times article cites problems with on-line courses, including the awarding of credit. One prominent professor, “who will teach Principles of Economics for Scientists,” said this:

“I would not want to give credit until somebody figures out how to solve the cheating problem and make sure that the right person, using the right materials, is taking the tests.”

Commenter UVA Invisible says that “FINALLY, the chickens are coming home to roost and the foxes have nowhere to hide.” I don’t know about that.

I’m wondering if the foxes have already gained control of the henhouse.

Being somewhat familiar with the research in the field of educational technology @democracy is right on target. The evaluation research is mixed at best. It is clear that these types of decisions align university administrators with business models in search of efficiency. There are other more productive ways of transforming education with technology that focus on how instructors can use technology in their instruction by using simulations and visual representations.

These online course models do nothing but amplify the old technology of broadcasting lectures to a wider audience. They essentially replicate what we do now just more efficiently. Nothing transformative. A great article laying this can be found at:

http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5001235702

I really think Sullivan is just saying ok go experiment with 4 courses, let me get on with other things. The more important focus should be on:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/statewide-poll-confirms-that-uva-boa...

That's the real story that needs following up on.

What is being done to block Dragas' appointment? What is being done to get the legislature to investigate and reform the BOV appointment process? What is being done to improve transparency of BOV and UVA administrative processes? What about a simple honest accounting of what just happened? Making nice and pretending this never happened will not serve the interests of the University or the public.

Perhaps it is useful to take into consideration what the right-wing national lobby ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, promotes at the state government level for budgets.

Here is their "toolbox" suggestions for state legislators.

http://www.alec.org/wp-content/uploads/Budget_toolkit.pdf

The linkage between ALEC and the Koch funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University is of interest. Charles Koch, who is on the board of Mercatus, is a member of the "Mt. Pelerin Society", an influential behind the scenes group of economists following the cult of the "Austrian School" of Hayek, Mises, etal. (Ashtanga for economists):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Pelerin_Society

Contrast the Austiran School cult with Senator Carl Levin's Permanent Investigations Committee just released massive report on international banking manipulation of LIBOR. Manipulation of LIBOR (interest rates) has cost municipalities across the US billions in unnecessary debt and expenditures. Blood money for the international bankers but none for education and health and other welfare promoting institutions for our citizens....

And the Wall Streeters have the audacity to manipulate UVA....

During a recent luncheon, a colleague mentioned that President Sullivan was not aware that Darden had sent a delegation to visit the Coursera offices to discuss the Stanford’s experiment (on line courses).
Is this a rumor?’
Isn’t that something that UVA President Sullivan and BOV would be aware of BEFORE the actual event?
Now I’m REALLY confused!
Please? Can anyone clarify what happen here?

I also thought I saw a blurb is a media piece about the online issue quoting Dean Woo as tho who all was consulted. Anyone remember seeing that?

@ UVA Invisible

Rumors are not always accurate. To answer to your questions, you need to have more information. For example, was Darden representing itself or the University? Was the event merely to gather information or to negotiate participation? I think knowing the nature of the visit would aid in your understanding.

@Zee Hall
Yes, rumors are not always accurate and you provided some great questions!

Has anyone seen a timeline of the "UVA online courses"? Is that something a UVA department could provide?

From: TheCavalierDaily: FOIA email re: President of UVA

"Freedom of Information Act emails released July 13

By on July 13, 2012

The University released the following emails regarding the selection of its eighth president July 13 at the request of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The emails include a message from Gordon Rainey, an alumni representative on the Search Committee and the director of the Capital Campaign, summarizing an interview with an individual who suggested “if we do not find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect…hire someone for the interim (4-6 years) to be a change agent with a view to picking someone after that to serve for 10-15 years.”

Batch of emails

University Records Officer Caroline Walters made the following notations regarding legal exemptions from the released documents:

“Please note that one document was removed as entirely exempt (this removal is specifically noted on the email to which that document was attached.) All other documents actually attached to this set of emails were reviewed and they have been provided to you, in several cases with personal identifying information minimally redacted. However, you will likely note that all of the emails have a footer suggesting that an “attachment” was present. I wanted to let you know that the “attachment” footer in most cases is an artifact of the conversion of these records to the electronic system we are using for review of these FOIA requests. Therefore please do not be surprised at the relatively small number of attachments you will actually see here.”

by the way, the link to the email is once again broken, coincidence? i think not

I hope you can make sense of my post...I am really angry because my daughter just graduated college from a public university debt free, but on my back to the tune of $170,000. She graduated in 4 years with a BA Econ and 2 minors. I paid $170m because her education doubled over the past 4 years.

The way I see things is: the states do not fund higher education like they did when I attended state college at $95 per semester in late 70's & early 80's. The states have moved the college funding obligation to the student or parent. Follow the money.

Now investors want in on the student loans because they are guaranteed, no risk and someone will have to pay off the loans after graduation. Probably on the back of the taxpayers. If this is the case, why aren't professors studying and documenting this outrageous misallocation of educational dollars. Does anyone hear me?

If I did not have my child's back, she would have at least $150,000 in student loans today. During my child's 4 years at UC...she witnessed her friends take out student loans pretty nonchalantly and used the loan funding for iphones, stereos, furniture, computers -- a lot of incidentals; all the while she sacrificed with an old phone, old computer... IMO, student loans should require a debit card to track purchases so that the student debt is accounted for and not just spent on excesses. (Generalization) - IMO, college students do not know how to manage money. Student debt is acquired without an income base. This is just a catastrophy.

Today, 7/19/2012 on C-Span, Carol Twigg, President & CEO for the National Center for Academic Transformation was on the panel speaking to the SENATE Health, Labor, Eduction and Pensions about "College Tuition Costs". She did not have any support for all her allegations that online university is the cure all. She just said it was. Wow. This is representing higher ed in the USA?

I believe the University Professors, T/A's, teachers et al should strike - yes strike and get a movement going to support their jobs before this online "revolution" gets completely out of control, and the universities require each professor to sign away their intellectual property during contract negotiations.

I listened to a diatribe of speeches from Carol Twigg to the University of Michigan President to Tom Snider...Not one person cited any studies supporting that internet courses saved college dollars. Everything seems hypothetical at best.

Why are these senate hearings held without substantial documentation - after all, we are talking about the highest degrees of learning in the USA, right? Funding for universities/higher ed has dramatically changed over that past 20 years. It is Federal funding now, and private companies, non-profit and profit are after this guaranteed return via federal student guaranteed loans?

On Cspan, not one member discussed the fact that all U.S. States moved education dollars from their state's liability to that of the student. In the form of FEDERAL funding through student loans. How does any of this make sense?

According to Thrum, as interview by Charlie Rose, his students have found online education better as an augmented program that allows the student "REWIND" privileges -- that's it.

State university/college costs have gone from 90 percent funding from states and 10% student TO 10% from the state funding to 90% students. Students do not have that kind of money. That is why they are attending college! Who is making up the difference: Federal Student LOAN programs and parent's 401K's, retirements, and 2nd mortgages. Why is this no being addressed by congress.

During the 'debate' there were relatively no studies supporting internet courses reduce the cost of college education.

I hope someone can sift through my comments and tell me

anonymous July 19th, 2012 | 9:44pm

I have nieces,nephews and a dear friend with with a girl age 16.. I contributed, some portion. We had to pay in one case out of state fees, another in state.

What amazes me is the total from the parents, me, my sister hit the exact same number! 170,00 over 4 years! She the first, got a job, nursing quickly.

The other is begging to go the student loan route.

I have no answers, only that I too would like to hear some thoughts.

Many, many here are very very intelligent, and have a grasp on the inner works, I read with awe!

I hope some of these fine people can also dwell into the student, and the families of such. Put prospective with their fantastic knowledge of fund raising, online experiments and relate to us on the points you made.

Plagiarizers are scum, foot notes, what ever happened to those: " marks, quoting sources?

These comments have been so thought provoking and I share in your quest for sifting through your comments. They are so valid!

Thank you for laying it out, thank you very much. Then I add one note, safety. On campus or online, I am not sure along with the student loans that any have a real chance.

I am dumbfounded.

@ Michael Sutton - Understood. Not only did I pay for my daughter's entire college education; I paid a huge amount for a nephew.

My problem: what happens to all these kids that are saddled with huge guaranteed federal debts, no income, no jobs. Are we on the HOOK for those kids too? This entire college finance process must be evaluated. I do not want to be triple charged for a public school education. I do not want to pay for kids who do not graduate, and those who choose not to repay their free loans.

What prevents the greatest cheating scam ever...online education? faux degrees?

"ONLINE EDUCATION CHEATING IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES"...

I have read and heard that quote many times in the last few months. What prevents other countries, even the USA from cheaters on line? Are these educational units verified via i-cam; fingerprint authenticity, how? Especially with all the internet email scams perpetrated over the years. What makes online education any different?

Online education may provide an augmented process to traditional education because; as student state: online offers the "rewind" button if they miss something during a lecture...so, is this all about "REWIND" I missed something professor!?
In Europe (my daughter studied a year in Italy and France), they are looking to charge companies that hire graduates from their esteemed Universities. The Europeans want businesses to pay the cost of education for the graduates they hire. I agree. Who benefits? The company. Now that makes sense.

If John Tudor Jones wants to hire these kids, then let the JTJ's pay for their direct eduction and not try to benefit from hedge funds betting on e-educational dollars that are derived from the Federal Tax Payers guaranteed loans on the backs of these children.

No more behind the scenes "foundation" crap. I am going to see my congressman next week. Last time I met with my congressman, it was Bob Matsui. He told me: "I understand, and your vote counts, but 25 VOICES move mountains"...RIP Bob Matsui...

Sullivan is for Sullivan! Wake up idealists. This is the new America. Crony Capitalism morphing into dictatorship by an elite for an elite. If only there was such a thing as Capitalism or Socialism, both would probably work in their ideal forms. Unfortunately, either way, we always end up with elite thugs running a corrupt system. Sullivan was bought because you made her relevant. Grisham has good meterial for a new novel! Not so novel....LOL

The Washington Post reported this sobering news yesterday (Thursday, july 19):

“For years, a trio of anemia drugs known as Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp ranked among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States, generating more than $8 billion a year for two companies, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. Even compared with other pharmaceutical successes, they were superstars. For several years, Epogen ranked as the single costliest medicine under Medicare: U.S. taxpayers put up as much as $3 billion a year for the drugs.”

The truly unsettling part came next:

“The trouble, as a growing body of research has shown, is that for about two decades, the benefits — including “life satisfaction and happiness” according to the FDA-approved label — were wildly overstated, and potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked...there was no solid evidence that they made people feel better, improved their survival or had any “clinical benefit” besides elevating a statistic for red blood cell count.”

See:http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/anemia-drug-made-billions-but-at-what-cost/2012/07/19/gJQAX5yqwW_story.html?hpid=z2

There’s an important analogy here for the role of technology (on-line learning) in public education.

It turns out that Helen Dragas and other members of UVa's Board were reading columns by the likes of David Brooks and Thomas Friedman, and latched on to education privatization schemes of people like John Chubb and Terry Moe (who were referenced in Board e-mails).

Chubb and Moe are at the Hoover Institution, a conservative "think" tank that promotes "free enterprise" and the privatization of public education. Both Chubb and Moe are members of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 education, funded by the Koret Foundaton. The Koret Foundation pushes "market-based K-12 education reform" and subscribes to the mistaken and easily disproved notion that "America's broken educational system lies at the heart of our nation's troubles" and drastic "reform" is imperative for "economic competitiveness."

Chubb and Moe recently (2009) wrote a book titled Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education. In it, Chubb and Moe push all the conservative "reform" buttons: competition, charter schools, vouchers, merit pay for teachers. Technology is what will "make our children better educated." The problem –– and it's a big one –– is that there's little or no research to back any of it up.

Here's their web site. Click on Virginia in the map to find out about "recent developments" in the Commonwealth regarding technology and privatization initiatives.

http://www.liberatinglearning.org/?page_id=20

Bob McDonnell had to have been involved in the effort to oust Teresa Sullivan. As Chubb and Moe noted, McDonnell pushed very hard in the last legislative session for more charter schools and "virtual school opportunities." Conservatives, especially Republicans (but also business-oriented "fiscal conservatives like Helen Dragas), view education simply as a commodity to be bought and sold. They refuse to acknowledge the historical foundation of public education as a central civic responsibility of government in a democratic republic. More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle understood the importance of public schooling to democratic citizenship, noting that "each government has a peculiar character...the character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarch creates oligarchy, and always the better the character, the better the government."

Indeed, one need only to look at Bob McDonnell’s efforts in Virginia to expand virtual schools for K12, Inc. Perhaps not surprisingly, McDonnell has taken $55,000 in contributions from K12, and he snuffed attempts to rein in the current quasi-voucher funding for students that attend virtual schools. There is no evidence that virtual schools are worth the investment, and research shows that private for-profit schools have very poor achievement records, But McDonnell insists, “Virtual schools provide excellent instruction” (big wink).

For more on virtual schools nationally and in Virginia, see:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/virtual-schools-are-multip...

For more on the poor track record of virtual schools, see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/online-schools-score-better-...

In his 2003 book, The Flickering Mind, Todd Oppenheimer wrote that technology was a "false promise."  That is, all too often technology is no panacea to improving learning and often undermines funding that might have
gone to reducing class sizes, and improving teacher salaries and facilities. Based on his many classroom observations, Oppenheimer said that "more often than not" classroom use of computers encouraged "everybody in the room to go off task."  He noted that a UCLA research team investigating results from
the Third International Math and Sciences Study (TIMSS) reviewed video from 8th grade math and science classes in seven different countries.  One difference stood out:  while American teachers use overhead projectors (and increasingly now LCDs), teachers in other countries still use blackboards,
which maintain "a complete record of the entire lesson."

A recent Texas study found that “there was no evidence linking technology immersion with student self-directed learning or their general satisfaction with schoolwork.”

The New York Times reported recently on classroom use of technology in Arizona, where “The digital push aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom.” As the Times reported, “schools are spending billions on technology,even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning."

But it is quite beneficial to the companies that peddle computers, software, and technological gadgetry. And the big push now is for “technology-enhanced instruction” and “innovation” and virtual schools (on-line instruction). This is true at UVa and other “elite” universities too. But there’s simply no research to support it.

Indeed, this so-called “experiment” is nothing more than dressed-up cost cutting in what Dragas called a “a resource-constrained environment.” And, in fact, as as deVise noted in an earlier article, Teresa Sullivan’s plan “would go further than most elite universities have dared in replacing human instructors with software.” And interested parties are already starting to cash in.

For example, when UVA president Teresa Sullivan was initially ousted, Curry School of Education dean Robert Pianta send an e-mail that was almost giddy , writing that "The discussion from the Board this morning made several references to unleashing the schools to be bold and aspirational, to accelerate change. My clear sense is that…we are moving in ways that align well with the larger direction and vision of the Board."

Perhaps Pianta was motivated by the joint Curry-Darden education-business master's degree program that proposes to integrate the "business model" into public education?

http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Darden-Curry-PLE/News/Home/  
 

Perhaps Pianta was motivated by his own money-making side business to this"business model."

http://store.teachstone.org/

Pianta recently told the Board Educational Policy Committee meeting, "We’re poised for promise. We can really go much further in the next five years." Moreover, the Curry school is putting "more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics" (STEM) when there is no STEM crisis or shortage. In fact, The Post just reported last week that "There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs."

See:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more...

Conservative education nabob Rick Hess, at the very conservative free-market American Enterprise Institute, is enthusiastic about the "entrepreneurship" he sees getting promoted at the Darden-Curry partnership. He’s gushed about it.

UVa’s hasty and badly thought out plan for “innovation” and “reform” plays right into the plans that conservatives have to privatize as much of public education (k-12 through college) as they can. Just like with the anemia drugs, the bottom line for them is profit. Profit that comes from the taxpayers. We should all care and be concerned about that.

There is quite a track record and literature on how large pharm. and chemical companies have influenced and contaminated university research since the 1980s. One of the earliest case studies I read was where it occurred at UC Berkeley no less. If you check out the Dole-Bayh Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayh–Dole_Act) you will see the beginning of the end for commercial free research from public universities. Most research activity that does not comport with this ideology does not get much support from deans like Pianta.

The Pianta story is worth following up on. It sure looks like a commercial agenda and love of the Darden School model of education, but that sad story of jumping on the Business model of school reform has a longer history than Pianta's reign. The previous dean was an economist and the funding for Bavaro Hall he mustered came from the student loan industry ill gotten booty. Dan Meyers who sits on the Curry Foundation Board made his money off the student loan industry and according to this article by the NYT, he was being looked at by then Atty Gen. of NY Andrew Cuomo:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/02/business/02jabba.html?pagewanted=all

Its kinda of sad and ironic that the Curry School,of Education building was funded by student loan debacle that has put so many middle class people into permanent debt. Student Loan Hall.

Privatization does not just happen by acts of the BOV, it is supported by certain administrators and Deans in the micro-politics of everyday life at the University and in the individual schools and departments. I would venture to guess that if you looked at salary distributions, many faculty that do research on democracy(Except Sabato), critique, public good, policy as if people mattered, anything not related to commercialization etc , are on the low end of the pay scale.

Once again check out the Dean Robert Felner Story from University of Louisville, a cautionary tale for Curry and UVA. He was brought in to raise the School of Education's rankings (read comparative economic advantage) and given carte blanche support by the University Administration. Like Sherman though the South, He ruined the culture of the school of education by injecting competition, cliques, favoritism, and bullying all in the name of rankings and commercialization. Felner got busted for fraud and misuse of federal grant funds but the story about the rankings and the culture of the school was down played in that larger scandal. University Administrators were quick to want to move on from the episode just as we are bring told to move on from the Dragas episode. Below is an excerpt from news coverage (http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100108/NEWS01/1080376/Former-Un...)

"The Felner investigation created a scandal at UofL, where officials initially credited Felner for turning around the College of Education and Human Development by improving teaching preparation and dramatically expanding its involvement in local public schools.As the investigation proceeded, however, faculty members spoke out against Felner's leadership, saying he was vindictive, manipulative and threatening and drove away talented people. Some of the faculty who had run-ins with Felner attended Friday's hearing, including Thomas Simmons, an education professor.

“I think it's sad,” Simmons said afterward. “The way he treated people at the college was just totally inappropriate.”

Hebert said UofL acknowledges mistakes were made, and noted the university has taken several steps to fix problems identified by the investigation, including a revamping of its grievance process, review of faculty governance procedures and creation of an Ombuds Office to address faculty concerns and complaints. “The university has owned up to its mistakes and we're ready to move on,” he said."

The interesting thing is Felner was a candidate for the Curry Dean position when Pianta was chair of that search committee and before he decided to take the job himself. Curry still got commercialism. That story is being repeated again and again (see University of Oregon, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin

The Coursera decision had the same old top-down smell of commercialization first, faculty input last.

@ nonsmoker may be right. See Chris Hayes new book Twilight of the Elite: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/9765-twilight-of-the-elites-a...