Responsibility for guiding the liberal arts passed this year from longtime dean Raymond J. Nelson to Melvyn P. Leffler.

Unlocking Doors to New Knowledge

To succeed in the future, the University must have the resources to both nurture young faculty and attract distinguished scholars. Yet budget cuts in the early 1990s caused average faculty salaries to fall far behind those at peer institutions, and Virginia has begun to lose faculty to schools with more resources.

Rita Dove: Portrait of a Poet

Alumni filled the Rotunda's Dome Room during Reunions Weekend to hear former U.S. Poet Laureate and Commonwealth Professor of English Rita Dove connect her teaching philosophy to her own experience of becoming a poet.

Dove was chosen by President Clinton as a recipient of the 1996 Charles Frankel Prize for leadership in the humanities, the government's highest honor for writers and scholars. She also was given a Heinz Award, one of the largest individual achievement prizes in the world, which celebrates the power of the individual in American society. Dove adds these prestigious awards to the others she has received during her career, including a 1987 Pulitzer Prize, the NAACP's Great American Artist award, and twelve honorary doctorates.

To remedy this situation, the General Assembly made a four-year commitment beginning in 1995-96 to boost faculty salaries to the 60th percentile among a nationwide group of peer universities. In 1996-97, the University ranked at the 24th percentile. Building on this initiative, the Board of Visitors responded by taking the unprecedented step of allocating $3 million from private funds to support this initiative in 1997 and $4.5 million in 1998. Soon after this plan was unveiled, the Alumni Association's Board of Managers pledged $1 million -- its largest gift ever to the University -- to support this goal.

The distinction of the University's faculty is exemplified by Raymond J. Nelson and Melvyn P. Leffler. Nelson, a noted authority on twentieth-century American writers, stepped down after eight years as dean of arts and sciences. Nelson is credited with improving the academic quality of the school's programs, while guiding it successfully through an era of deep financial austerity. Leffler, who replaced Nelson as dean this year, is winner of the Bancroft Prize, regarded as the premier award in American history. Leffler's priorities include enriching the intellectual life of arts and sciences through greater emphasis on interdisciplinary research and teaching.

The honors and awards that faculty have received reflect the success of the University's efforts to provide an atmosphere conducive to the highest scholarly achievement. They also set the standard for accomplishment by which we can gauge our progress in years to come.

§ Charles Wright, the Souder Family Professor of English, received the 1996 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his new collection of poetry, Chickamaugua.

§ J. Milton Adams, professor of biomedical engineering, was awarded the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award for his concern for students and his significant contributions to University life.

Thomas F. Gallagher

§ Two University professors received Virginia's highest science awards this year. Oscar L. Miller, Jr., the Lewis and Clark Professor of Biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award and Thomas F. Gallagher, the Jesse W. Beam Professor of Physics, was named 1997 Virginia Outstanding Scientist. Gallagher also received the Davisson-Germer Prize for his research.

§ Anita K. Jones was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers for her contributions to the development of computer software systems.

Bryan Hall

Bryan Hall, behind the amphitheatre, is home to the Department of English, one of the most respected departments in the country.

§ Joseph C. Miller, Commonwealth Professor of History and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was named president-elect of the American Historical Association.

§ William A. Wulf, AT&T Professor of Computer Science and president of the National Academy of Engineering, was selected as winner of the Virginia Engineering Foundation's 1997 Achievement Award.

§ Bennett I. Bertenthal, a professor of psychology, was named to a three-year term as assistant director of the National Science Foundation's Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.

§ Environmental sciences professor Alan D. Howard was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Howard has studied the effects of water on landscapes from Mars to Madison County.

§ Pamela S. Karlan, the Roy L. & Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Research Professor of Law, received a 1997 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Commonwealth's highest honor for college and university teaching.

§ William Lee Miller, the Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of Political and Social Thought, received the D. B. Hardeman Prize for Arguing About Slavery. The citation called it the best book on Congress in 1996.

§ Historian Nelson Lichtenstein's study, Walter Reuther, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit, was selected for this year's Phi Beta Kappa Book Award at the University.

§ Nursing school dean B. Jeanette Lancaster shared the American Journal of Nursing's Book of the Year Award with University of Kentucky coauthor Marcia

Matthew Holden, Jr.

Stanhope for their textbook, Community Health Nursing.

§ Matthew Holden, Jr., the Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, was voted president-elect of the U.S. Department of Energy's Task Force on Electric System Reliability.

§ Tibor Wlassics, the William R. Kenan Professor of Italian, was named honorary president of the American Association of Italian Studies.

§ Robert Hull, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, was elected president of the 12,000-member Materials Research Society.

§ James A. Smith, assistant professor of civil engineering, won the Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching award.

Judith Shatin

§ Judith Shatin, chair of the music department, premiered her composition Fantasy on St. Cecilia at Washington, D.C.'s Phillips Collection. Shatin's Sea of Reeds was showcased at the Virginia Waterfront International Festival, and 1492 was performed at Cabell Hall by the New York New Music Ensemble.

§ Paula D. McClain, former chair of the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, received a Gustavus Myers Book Award for Can We All Get Along? Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics.

Gene D. Block

§ Gene D. Block, vice provost for research and director of the NSF Center for Biological Timing, and Irving I. Gottesman, the Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology, were named to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Block is widely known for his research on the cellular and molecular basis of circadian rhythms in organisms, while Gottesman was among the first to view schizophrenia as a polygenic disorder, a hypothesis since supported by research.

The variety of University research is as exceptional as its quality. Faculty here

Janet S. Herman's colleagues and students thought highly enough of the geochemist's work to nominate her for the first Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. She has created a supportive environment for her students and attracted fellowship funding for women in her field. Herman received the award at a White House ceremony.

are forging the innovations on which society will depend in coming decades. The University has embarked on a number of initiatives to accelerate the flow of its discoveries to business. It has established two research parks -- the University of Virginia Research Park at North Fork and Fontaine Research Park -- to collaborate with industry. With a $1 million investment of technology and services from IBM, the University launched the Virginia Institute for Microelectronics to promote the growth of high-tech companies.

Much of the University's research has received external funding, an impressive recognition in times of tight budgets. At the same time, the University itself has provided substantial start-up funding for promising projects through the Academic Enhancement Program.  The following list highlights some of the many exciting research efforts now under way.

Artificial Hearts: Scientists at the University of Utah, world leaders in artificial heart development, turned to engineers at the University of Virginia for help in designing a new mechanical heart modeled after a pump. The School of Engineering and Applied Science is the preeminent U.S. center for research in rotating equipment. This year, the joint teams received a $3 million, three-year research grant from InterMountain Health Care to continue its collaboration.

The Everyday Fight Against Segregation

English professor Deborah E. McDowell revisits the civil rights era in Leaving Pipe Shop, her newly published account of her return to the Alabama town where she grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. McDowell captures the experience of ordinary African-American men and women of the period, torn between the security of their daily routine and the call to end segregation.

By focusing on the ebb and flow of small town life in those extraordinary times, McDowell succeeds in humanizing this period of momentous change, while reconciling herself to her own past.

The Civil War: With a $215,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, history professor Edward Ayers plans to produce a three-volume CD-ROM textbook on the Civil War.

Sustainable Design: With funding of $200,000, the University launched an Institute for Sustainable Design to create viable alternatives to conventional design and practice.

Distance Learning: The School of Nursing has added two new sites to its distance learning program for primary care nurse practition-ers with a $946,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Political Science: The National Science Foundation awarded the Bunche Summer Institute a $246,000 grant to encourage promising African-American undergraduates to pursue careers in political science.

Special Education: The Department of Education awarded $2.9 million to University researchers to establish a Center of Minority Research in Special Education. Curry School faculty Daniel P. Hallahan and James M. Kauffman will examine why a disproportionate number of minority children are assigned to special education classes.

Quality Control: With a grant from the National Science Foundation, assistant professor of systems engineering Christina M. Mastrangelo is applying new statistical methods to help manufacturers monitor key combinations of production data to increase efficiency and improve product quality.


President's Report 1996-97 Contents

Financial Report 1996-1997