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Health System Board discusses operations, Academic and Student Life Committee approves professorships

The meetings bookend day one of Board of Visitor’s session running from Dec. 8 through 10

<p>As a part of the Dec. 8-10 session of the Board of Visitors, the Health System Board heard about ongoing Health System additions and the Academic and Student Life committee discussed new professorships.</p>

As a part of the Dec. 8-10 session of the Board of Visitors, the Health System Board heard about ongoing Health System additions and the Academic and Student Life committee discussed new professorships.

The Health System Board heard prepared remarks from the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and medical system during its meeting Thursday. Members of the Academic and Student Life Committee discussed new professorships in entrepreneurship and engineering and a new directorship in the Center for Teaching Excellence. The meetings were a part of a two-day series of Board of Visitors meetings held Thursday and Friday.

Health System Board discusses operations

The Board of Visitors opened Thursday’s meetings with an open session of the Health System Board. Committee members were presented with written reports from the Medical Center, School of Medicine and School of Nursing before moving into closed session to discuss proprietary business information regarding the U.Va Health System.

The Health System Board governs and oversees the operations of both the University’s Medical Center and the Transitional Care Hospital for the joint commission purposes. Its meeting began with opening remarks from Chair L.D. Britt, M.D, who welcomed members and viewers before introducing Thomas Scully, the newest public member of the Health System Board.

The Health System Board discussed two major ongoing projects — the construction of a new U.Va. Orthopedics Center on Ivy Road and a joint Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program that is the result of a partnership between the University and Virginia Commonwealth University. 

After four years and an investment of $186 million, construction of a new, cutting-edge orthopedics center is scheduled to finish in 2022. The center will occupy 195,000 square-feet on Ivy Road and is equipped to provide opportunities for learning and treatment regarding musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions.

Dr. James Nataro, physician in chief at U.Va. Children’s and chair of the department of pediatrics, and Dr. James Gangami, surgical director of pediatric congenital heart surgery at U.Va. Health, then announced a ten-year agreement between the University and VCU to build a Pediatric Heart Program in Richmond. 

School of Medicine and School of Nursing reports

The Board also heard reports from the Medical Center, School of Medicine and School of Nursing. 

Wendy Horton, chief executive officer of U.Va. Health, presented on quality and safety performance metrics, patient experience data, leadership appointments, recent re-certifications and the financials of the transitional care hospital. Horton also discussed staff recruitment and retention, stating that the Medical Center will commit more than $30 million dollars to increased staff compensation, a move to more competitive pay positions for staff. 

Melina Kibbe, dean of the School of Medicine and chief affairs officer of U.Va Health, then presented on the School of Medicine’s search for new leadership, including the recent hirings of Jeremy Sibiski as chief operating officer and Allison Holt as associate dean for finance and administration.

Kibbe also discussed U.Va. Health’s staff and nursing shortages, despite being in the top decile nationally for clinical faculty voluntary turnover at a rate of 2.7 percent. The total faculty turnover rate including retirements was 4.8 percent in fiscal year 2021 — 60 of 1245 faculty members — in comparison to the fiscal year 2020 rate of 6 percent and the national average of 9.6 percent.

Pamela Cipriano, dean of the School of Nursing, presented an update on the school, beginning with the fact that its bachelor program is tied for No. 10 in the nation in the first-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking.

In September, the School of Medicine and School of Nursing formalized an agreement for the “sharing of simulation lab and learning assets, augment efficiency, and facilitate interprofessional and interdisciplinary learning between medical and nursing students,” according to the meeting agenda

This agreement included bringing the total amount of simulation learning space to 30,000 square feet, a $2.1 million dollar expansion that is now in its final phase of construction to be completed by spring 2022. The new space will be used for dissection, learning labs and physical examination practice, as well as other uses.

Following all reports, the Health System Board moved into closed session to discuss business-related information regarding U.Va. Health, School of Medicine and School of Nursing. 

Academic and Student Life Committee discusses new professorships, directorship in Center for Teaching Excellence

The Board of Visitors ended Thursday’s session with a meeting of the Academic and Student Life Committee from 3 to 4 p.m. 

The first action item of the meeting established the Donna and Richard Tadler University Professorship of Entrepreneurship. The Board also approved the establishment of the third Lawrence R. Quarles Professorship in Engineering and Applied Science, the Ann Warrick Lacy Distinguished Professorship in Engineering and the Barbara Fried Directorship of the Center for Teaching Excellence. 

Fried has been a member of the Board since she was appointed in 2014. 

“Barbara is a stalwart advocate for every one of our students and for the entire community of Charlottesville-Albemarle … and she’s always thinking of how to serve to make those around her better and the place better,” Provost Liz Magill said.

Next, Magill discussed the overall goal to transition the University’s research from “prominent to preeminent” by focusing on democracy, environmental resilience and sustainability, precision medicine, the brain and neuroscience, digital technology and society through the Grand Challenges Research Forums.

The Forums aim to “move the needle on globally significant research” that is designed to take the University to the next level. In addition to the Research Forums, $19 million was invested in specifically STEM-related proposals in the 2021 year. 

In terms of academic collaboration, the Real Estate Center is a pan-university initiative, involving the McIntire School of Commerce, the School of Architecture and the Darden School of Business and will “address environmental issues that affect us all,” Magill said.

The School of Data Science has also partnered the Darden School to improve how business is taught, researched and applied. 

In the area of the student experience, Magill discussed improvements to be made to “holistic undergraduate advising,” which includes academic, career, and personal advising.

Based on student survey responses, a review of practices at peer institutions and stakeholder discussion sessions, the Advising Task Force established by the Office of the Provost has identified that “advising in the first year creates a foundation for success,” Magill said. The task force also found that excellent advising requires a collaborative approach and that communication is key to success. 

Malo Hutson, who was recently appointed dean of the School of Architecture, was then introduced by Magill.

“As dean, he has brought a refreshing perspective on the role that architecture can play across the University in partnership with other schools and communities,” Magill said. 

Hutson presented an overview of School of Architecture programs, emphasizing its range of initiatives “from uncovering African-American burial grounds in Richmond,” to figuring out how to use microalgae for building.

Hutson identified the five priorities — climate resilience, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, making the School of Architecture accessible and affordable, supporting faculty and staff excellence and creating a dedicated space for collaborative design.

Melody Barnes, inaugural executive director of the Karsh Institute for Democracy spoke about the institute’s future, beginning with a declaration that “Democracy is in trouble.”

Barnes said the Institute’s mission is to “generate new ideas and share them with policymakers and citizens to strengthen democratic institutions, practices and culture,” which is a conversation that will take place both on and beyond Grounds. 

The Institute has built a non-partisan advisory board chaired by Larry Sabato, founder and director of the Center for Politics, and vice-chaired by Risa Goluboff, dean of the School of Law. The Board includes members who represent disciplinary advice in a range of areas and bring ideological diversity. 

“The goal is to help bring work out of silos and make it easier to collaborate, so that we can do more together or something different together than we could do separately,” Barnes said.