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December 14, 1988


                            COMMISSION ON RESEARCH

                               December 14, 1988

                            President's Board Room

                                   3:30 p.m.



  MEMBERS PRESENT:  L. J. Arnold, G. E. Bunce, R. A. Comparin, P. K. Edwards,

                    P. P. Feret, W. L. Flowers (for M. R. Geasler), J. C.

                    Lee, F. W. Stephenson, E. R. Stout


  MEMBERS ABSENT:   F. M. Asche, V. R. Fu, G. R. Hooper, W. G. Huber, D. F.

                    McTaggart, M. Potts, J. Randolph, M. G. Squires, H. H.

                    Stoevener, W. L. Stutzman


  INVITED GUESTS:   M. D. Shelton, J. L. Eaton






      Four candidates for the position of Director of Sponsored Programs and

      Research Administration have been interviewed -- two internal and two

      external.  The Search Committee will meet next week and it is hoped

      they will be able to make a recommendation to carry to Dr. Hooper and

      the Provost.


      Two members of the Commission, W. G. Huber and M. G. Squires, will be

      on leave next semester and D. F. McTaggart will be on leave for all of

      1989.  Replacement appointments have been requested from the units they



      Virginia Tech has received an award of a NSF Science and Technology

      Center in the amount of approximately $7.9 million over the next five

      years.  This is a very significant achievement not only for the faculty

      in Materials Science who put the proposal together, but it is the first

      Science and Technology proposal submitted by VPI&SU that has been

      funded.  The existence of the Center here will lead to other good

      things in Materials Science.


      The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for January 11th, the

      second day of classes following the semester break.  It is likely that

      this meeting will be cancelled for want of significant business.




      The Minutes of the November 9, 1988 meeting were approved as distrib-





      Mr. Haas distributed copies of the proposed revision of this form.

      What this new form tries to do is indicate or define the terms sole

      source and sole source/proprietary.  Sole source is defined as goods or

      services which can be purchased from only one source - the manufac-

      turer.  Sole source/proprietary is defined as goods or services which

      are produced by only one source but are distributed through various

      sources.  In the latter case the bidding process still must be carried

      out.  The purchaser will receive the merchandise as specified (no sub-

      stitutes), however, the bidding process must be followed.


      Mr. Haas asked members to look the form over and submit any suggestions

      they have to him by December 20th.  It was suggested that more space be

      provided for justification entries, preferably eliminating the lines

      currently provided.


      Mr. Haas suggested that a sub-group of the Commission on Research dis-

      cuss things that inhibit the purchasing process or require the purchas-

      ing process to take longer periods of time, whether they be internal

      constraints or external constraints.  A primary item for discussion

      would be proposing that the sealed bidding requirement be raised from

      $10,000 to $25,000.  This action would require legislative change and

      would need to be coordinated with UVA and VCU to take whatever action

      is necessary to initiate the process for legislative action.


      Mr. Haas informed the Commission that he and the buyers have been given

      terminals and PCs were being placed in the information processing area.

      A FAX machine that will speed up the exchange of information between

      Purchasing and suppliers has been ordered.  In response to the question

      of whether Purchasing is heading toward an electronic purchasing sys-

      tem, Mr. Haas indicated that is the direction they are heading toward,

      but it may be two years before this goal is realized.




      The Chairman reported that the AD HOC Subcommittee (Drs. Stout,

      Stephenson and Huber) took the recommendations that Dr. Hinkle had dis-

      tributed at the last meeting and ranked them according to the guide-

      lines developed by the Self-Study Monitoring Committee.  These

      recommendations are listed below by number.


      5-19:  That the Core Research Program be reviewed by a committee of ad-

             ministrators and faculty to determine whether the subprograms

             are still appropriate and whether the staff and operating re-

             sources are sufficient to meet the research programs envisioned

             under the University's contemporary land-grant mission.


             This was ranked as a '2' and the Chairman accepts that as his

             responsibility to initiate some organized review of Core Re-

             search.  He will put together a small group, with Dr. Hooper's

             help, to conduct this review.  The suggestion was made that this

             group be University representative.


      5-24:  That the Commonwealth and the University bring operating budgets

             to levels that will allow overhead return monies to be used for

             research-related activity, and serve to enhance research facili-

             ties and encourage faculty to do high-level research.


             Ranked '2' because it is an on-going process.  However, this is

             felt to be the responsibility of the President and his staff,

             with the usual budget recommendations from the Research and

             Graduate Studies Division officers.


      5-28:  That the University and the Commonwealth determine realistic

             goals for the research mission of the University, and develop

             long-range plans for new and renovated research space consistent

             with these goals.


             The Chairman expressed concern with the wording of this recom-

             mendation that calls for the Commonwealth to be included in de-

             termining realistic goals for research.  We should consider the

             Commonwealth's needs and interests, but it is our job to deter-

             mine what our directions are.  Some of this was done previously

             by the Commission when they developed a Statement of Goals and

             Objectives for Research that was sent to the University Council.

             The Commission will work on that part of the recommendation,

             with interface with the Planning Task Force.  However, the Re-

             search Division and Dr. Ford will need to address the research

             space part of this recommendation.


      5-34:  That a study be made of the resources and responsibilities allo-

             cated to all of the support groups to ensure that these allo-

             cations are appropriate to meet the changing needs of the

             University's expanding research programs.


             This recommendation seems to be the responsibility of central

             administration, not the Research Commission nor the Research Di-

             vision.  This was ranked '2'.


      5-35:  That a unified and concerted plan for administrative support

             services be developed in addition to the plans developed by the

             individual support units.


             Confusion was expressed as to what this recommendation meant and

             how it differed from 5-34 above.  Support services is thought to

             mean all of the non-academic services, such as Purchasing, Ac-

             counting, etc., and it was suggested that 'administrative sup-

             port services' might mean academic support services such as

             Admissions, Registrar, etc.


      5-37:  That the University re-assess the role of professional programs

             and how (and if) they can or should contribute to the research



             The discussion that followed emphasized the confusion members

             felt over the intent of this recommendation and the two previous



      It was recommended that both the Chairman of the Self-Study Committee

      on Research and the editor of the recommendations be invited to the

      next meeting of the Commission.  The Chairman agreed to invite them.


      Further discussion of this report will be delayed until the next meet-

      ing in order to accommodate the next item.


  5.  SPACE AND FACILITIES - Dr. David R. Ford


      The Chairman stated that there are three or four documents out in the

      University community having to do with space and facilities:  The Col-

      lege of Engineering's Planning Activity of a couple of years ago, the

      Physical Plant portion of the Administrative Processes chapter of the

      Self-Study, and the Construction Report done by the Commission of Re-

      search last year.  Dr. Ford was invited to the meeting to bring the

      Commission up to date on what action has been taken with regard to

      these studies/reports and respond to questions the Commission might



      Dr. Ford began by stating that those three studies were out there as

      well as a perception of how things work in the renovations area.  He

      felt that probably the biggest question they would want to ask was

      "With all that good advice, why haven't you done anything yet to take

      care of that?"  On Monday, December 12, Dr. Ford received a report from

      three of his counterparts at UVA, UNC-Chapel Hill and Cornell who have

      taken a look at the organizational structure within the Physical Plant

      in our University Architect Facilities Planning area.  They spent a few

      of days on campus visiting with several people in the campus community,

      representatives of various groups on campus.  They returned on December

      12th to give their oral report to the on-campus advisory group.


      The on-campus advisory group consists of Deans Steger and Sorensen,

      both of whom have had industry experience in addition to being within

      the University, Dan Ludwig in the College of Engineering, and Jim Wolfe

      in the Chemistry Department.  Also serving on the advisory group are

      two people from Physical Plant.  The advisory group will meet again

      next week in preparation for submitting recommendations to Dr. Ford

      shortly after Christmas.  Dr. Ford did not want to go any further prior

      to having received the final report.


      He explained how the capital project lists are formulated and how they

      are altered as priorities change.  By definition, a capital project is

      any new construction that exceeds $75,000 or any renovation project

      that exceeds $200,000.


      Discussion continued on how the Capital Outlay Master Plan is developed

      every ten years, how it changes, etc.  Dr. Ford stated that the Master

      Plan is mandated by legislature and represents the best thinking of the

      University community at the time it is devised.


      Asked if things like renovations were items that were unlikely to be

      funded by legislature, Dr. Ford responded that he has been told there

      was a more sympathetic ear to renovating space than to new space.

      Given the space deficit at Virginia Tech, renovating space does not do

      us any good at all.  We have to go through the pain of renovating space

      while trying to live in it because there is no new space to 'swing' to.


      Asked if we are gaining on the space problem, he responded that he was

      not sure we are.  We are leasing a tremendous amount of space and one

      of the ways we justify new space is by saying we will give up some of

      the leases, so until we get that out of balance, he is not sure we are

      gaining all that much.


      One possibility would be to use some of the upper quad dorms for aca-

      demic and/or administrative offices and build new residence halls,

      thereby addressing 'quality of student life issues' as well.  The

      Chairman asked if part of the rationale for converting residence hall

      space into academic space and building new residence halls that you can

      float revenue bonds to build student space?  Dr. Ford responded that

      this has to be taken into account because you have to have some source

      of revenue to build new buildings.  If you can do it in that manner,

      versus having a total appropriation of Non-General Funds, you might be

      more successful.


      The Chairman asked if we still have a person designated as 'Building

      Inspector' who follows up on each stage of the construction.  Dr. Ford

      responded that this function is preformed in two ways:  1) the Archi-

      tecture and Engineering firm has a person does that from the A&E stand-

      point and works with the contractor, and 2) the in-house situation is

      with the Architect's Office and that is headed by Virgil Decker, who

      has three or four people working with him.


      The Chairman thanked Dr. Ford for taking the time to appear before the



  Dwight Shelton announced that the FRS Summary Report for Research did go

  out with the November statements.  A notice will be published in the SPEC-

  TRUM in lieu of mailing notices to each principal investigator.  They did

  not have a mechanism for mailing just to PIs so the SPECTRUM announcement

  and the one that was included in the FRS Newsletter will have to suffice.


  The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for Janu-

  ary 11, 1989 at 3:30 p.m. in the President's Board Room.






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