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Virginia Tech
Governance Minutes Archive

September 9, 1992

                                    Minutes

                            COMMISSION ON RESEARCH

                              September 23, 1992

                                206 Sandy Hall

                                   3:30 p.m.

 

 

  MEMBERS PRESENT:  T. Brandon, H. Doswald, J. Eaton, P. Edwards, P. Eyre, J.

                    Johnson,  H. Kriz, J. Lee, R. Lytton, A. McNabb, R. Olin,

                    P. Rasnick, J. Tank, T. Wildman

 

  MEMBERS ABSENT:    C. Flora,  E.  McNeil,  M.  O'Brien,  J.  Pinkerton,  R.

                    Reneau, P. Scanlon, E. Stout, J. Wightman

 

  INVITED GUESTS:    M. D. Shelton, S. Trulove

 

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS.  Dr. McNabb asked everyone to introduce themselves.  She

      said  that some of the items on the agenda might be ones the membership

      could talk about and decide where they want to go with them during  the

      year.

 

  2.  AGENDA.  Agenda was adopted as presented.

 

  3.  MINUTES  OF  SEPTEMBER 9, 1992.  Dr. Eyre motioned approval of the Min-

      utes.  Dr. Lytton seconded.  Minutes were approved as distributed.

 

  4.  GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDING UPDATE.  Dr. Eaton stated that in the  1990-92

      biennium a request was made to go into the governor's budget to provide

      some  sort  of  tuition relief.   Clearly, the financial crisis hit the

      state before that budget was ever approved and that proposal did not go

      any further.  In 1990-91 we had 1.15M in state money for  instructional

      fee scholarships.  In 1991-92, in response to increased tuition and the

      recognition  that  we  were not going to be getting any relief directly

      from the state, the university put additional dollars in to bring us up

      to 3.5M in instructional fee scholarship dollars.  In this fiscal  year

      the  university  and  the  state put a little more money into the basic

      pool and we increased the total amount to 4M that we now have available

      for instructional fee scholarships.  That has been distributed  to  de-

      partments  and  colleges  and  a  small amount has been retained by the

      Graduate School to support graduate students  in  governance  organiza-

      tions,  to  facilitate  and  support minority students, and a couple of

      other uses that the Graduate School is interested in.  Dr. Eaton stated

      in the budget meeting held by Dr. Carlisle and Mr. Ridenour  there  was

      nothing  about additional support for graduate students.  Based on that

      discussion, it is unlikely that we will have another major tuition  in-

      crease  this year.   Although there will probably be some increase.  It

      also is unlikely that we will see large increases in instructional  fee

      scholarships.  That doesn't mean that we should not make a request.  He

      stated  that  he and Dr. Stout would appreciate the support of the Com-

      mission in making this request.  As far as anything going back  to  the

      state  is  concerned, Provost Carlisle and Mr. Ridenour believe that we

      are not going back to the good old days.  We are in a  different  envi-

      ronment  now  and we are all going to have to work in it.  He said that

      he did not see recommendations to the state as likely but that he would

      not discourage this group from recommending that the proposal  go  back

      in next biennium.

 

      Dr.  McNabb asked Dr. Eaton about coordinated efforts of graduate deans

      at Virginia colleges and universities.   Dr. Eaton responded  that  Dr.

      Hooper  tried to organize the deans but that the apathy about having an

      organized effort resulted in no progress.   The  group  will  meet  in-

      formally  in November and the issue will be addressed again.  Dr. Eaton

      does not see these deans as an effective group.  He feels that we  need

      the  leadership of the universities.  Hopefully other institutions will

      follow.  Dr. Eyre asked about the apathy.  Dr. Eaton responded that the

      apathy was for organization and not for the support of students.    Dr.

      Eyre  stated  that he could not imagine graduate school deans not being

      supportive  of anything that would enhance the graduate school program.

      Dr. Edwards asked if the deans have similar kinds of goals in terms  of

      what  they  want  to achieve.   Dr. Eaton responded no.  He said we are

      dealing with five doctoral institutions and another five or six masters

      institutions and they have very different goals and objectives.   There

      is fear on the part of the masters institutions of being subservient to

      the  goals  of  the doctoral institutions.  Dr. Lee asked if there is a

      set agenda for the annual meeting in November.    Dr.  Eaton  indicated

      there is an agenda and that one of the things gained by being organized

      is  a  sense of continuity.  The various institutions in the state host

      the meeting on an annual basis.   The  host  school  puts  together  an

      agenda  and it is whatever piques their interest that year.  The gradu-

      ate students in the state have organized somewhat and they are  setting

      an  agenda  for the state graduate deans.  He stated that that might be

      one of the best things to come along in some time.   Dr. Edwards  asked

      if there are data about how Virginia fares with respect to other states

      in terms of graduate school tuition and about how many states waive tu-

      ition  for  graduate students.  Dr. Eaton responded as of two years ago

      about half of benchmark institutions waive tuition and  about  half  do

      not,  but tuition waivers usually are associated with much lower gradu-

      ate stipends.  Dr. McNabb stated that it used  to  be  more  common  to

      waive  tuition  than  it  is  now and that is one of the ways cuts have

      hurt.  Ms. Tank stated that in a recent survey done by a  biology  com-

      mittee  a  number of departments have individually paid tuition as they

      try to work  through  the  problem.    She  stated  that  if  you  make

      $13,000-$14,000  a  year  and you have to pay tuition versus $8,000 and

      you don't have to pay tuition, when we adjusted for all the basic take-

      home things Virginia Tech was at the very bottom of the pile  in  terms

      of  our  peer institutions for the Biology program.  Dr. Edwards stated

      that Biology isn't waiving tuition but that they are paying it  out  of

      overhead  or  grants.    They  do  not have the power to waive it.  She

      stated that Ms. Tank is doing better  than  other  programs  where  you

      can't get a great deal of overhead.  Dr. McNabb stated that that is not

      true.  She stated that Biology has not been paying graduate student tu-

      ition  from  grants  or overhead.   Dr. Edwards stated that the stipend

      levels are higher because they are on level b or c.   Ms.  Tank  stated

      that  she  was  talking compared to other schools polled in the Biology

      Department.  Maybe at the university level there has never been a study

      of how our students compare to others.  A lot of departments have  con-

      ducted  their  own  studies by calling and asking the department secre-

      taries.

 

      Dr. Eaton stated that he did not think there is any debate that no mat-

      ter how you study the issue or which department you look at you are go-

      ing to find us near the bottom on a fairly regular basis.   Dr.  McNabb

      stated  that  was  not true about ten years ago.  Dr. Eaton stated that

      tuition has really taken off over the last ten years.   Ms. Tank  asked

      if  there  is  anything going on with the University of Virginia on the

      thing that came up last year at the Commission about the lower  tuition

      for  students  that  are just working on research.  Dr. Eaton responded

      that was briefly examined last year and that our budget office informed

      Dr. Hooper that it was not workable.  It is back as an agenda item  for

      the  Commission on Graduate Studies this year.  The bottom line is that

      there is a minimum amount of tuition that the university  has  to  col-

      lect,  and  we can manipulate the formula, but ultimately there is only

      so much money they have to have and cannot operate without.  Dr.  Eaton

      stated  that  one issue related to that and one which he plans to bring

      before the Commission on Graduate Studies is the issue of  students  on

      assistantships  versus  students on wage for summer.  He stated that he

      would like to find a solution that brings some  fairness.    The  early

      data  shows  that  it is indeed unfair.  Ms. Tank asked Dr. Eaton if he

      had any indication of which way will be fair.   He  responded  that  he

      wants  the  cost  to be the same to all students.  It comes back to the

      same issue; there is a minimal amount of tuition.  But if students  are

      on  wage  then his view is they are co-opting costs onto those students

      who are on assistantships and by spreading those costs  out  it  should

      reduce  the  cost to everyone.   Dr. Lee suggested that perhaps one re-

      search credit should be required of students on wage during the  summer

      session.    Dr.  McNabb  stated that that would require a change in the

      rules so that students didn't need to be fully  enrolled  in  order  to

      qualify  for a TA or RA.  Dr. Edwards asked what full enrollment is for

      the summer.  Dr. Eaton responded that is three  hours  for  holding  an

      assistantship;  maximum  enrollment is six hours.  Dr. McNabb stated it

      really cuts into assistantships.  Dr. Eaton stated that they  recognize

      that  but  they  would  like  to  find a way to make it equitable.  Dr.

      McNabb asked if there are other initiatives by the Graduate  Commission

      that  would  require coordination with the Commission on Research.  Dr.

      Eaton responded that there is an ongoing joint committee of  both  com-

      missions  carried over from last year.  Dr. McNabb asked if the member-

      ship would want to have some group from the Commission on Research  try

      to  collect data that might be helpful, or to work with any other group

      to try and find strategies to make our case better to the state.    Dr.

      Eaton  stated that perhaps a resolution from this commission to ask the

      University Provost and Budget Office to reexamine the issue of  tuition

      for  students  on  assistantships.   Dr. McNabb asked if Dr. Eaton felt

      that it needs to be backed up by additional data.  Dr. Eaton  responded

      that these issues came forward about the time that he came to the Grad-

      uate  School  and he does not know the history.  He suggested that per-

      haps Dr. Stout or Dr. Wolfe might know.  Dr. Lee asked if the  Graduate

      Commission would prepare a draft to send to the Provost this year.  Dr.

      Eaton stated that they are not discussing this issue.  He said it could

      be  if  the membership wished to have it there.  Dr. Eaton said that he

      plans to resolve the graduate wage issue this year in the Commission on

      Graduate Studies.  Ms. Tank asked that if the issue about lowering tui-

      tion for students just doing research is not feasible  then  how  could

      putting  up  the resolution to actually waive tuition for assistantship

      be positive.  Dr. Eaton responded that that one would have to  be  done

      with our money and the other with state taxpayer dollars.  It would re-

      quire  some  sort  of  an appropriation of additional dollars to offset

      that loss in tuition.  Dr. Eaton said that graduate  students  are  al-

      ready  being  subsidized considerably by our undergraduates, especially

      our out of state undergraduates.    The  graduate  students  pay  about

      $3,000  in-state  and  about  $5,000  out of state per year.   Those on

      assistantships don't pay out of state.  The reason they  don't  is  be-

      cause of what is called the unfunded scholarship monies which come from

      tuition  dollars  which  we  collect from out of state students who pay

      $8,000 per year.  Thus, our graduate students  are  subsidized  and  we

      would  like  to  subsidize them more.   Dr. McNabb stated that a lot of

      this relates to a number of years when graduate students could  get  by

      on  stipends without having to go in debt.  Undergraduates expect to go

      into debt.  We have had a history  of  graduate  students  hoping  they

      would  not  have to incur any more debts and so it feels like a penalty

      as it gets worse economically.  Dr. Olin stated that it gets harder and

      harder to recruit the top 40% of prospective graduate  students.    The

      bottom  line he receives from students is that it is just not worth it.

      Dr. McNabb asked what type of action the membership would like to  take

      on  this.   Ms. Tank asked about offering an alternative.  She said she

      was thinking about the unfunded scholarship that goes to out  of  state

      students.  She asked if you could ask students to become in-state resi-

      dents  as soon as they come.  Dr. Eaton said that helps but in relation

      to the total graduate population, he said that they encourage  students

      to become state residents.  Dr. McNabb asked Dr. Eaton if a large frac-

      tion  of  the tuition scholarships still must be given to in-state stu-

      dents.  Dr. Eaton said that it is true that about  1.5M  of  the  money

      must  be  used  that way.   The other part must be given to students on

      assistantships.  Dr. Eyre asked if it is the business of  this  commis-

      sion  or  the Commission on Graduate Studies to work on this issue.  He

      asked if the membership could not simply write to the chair of the Com-

      mission on Graduate Studies with some kind of  resolution  giving  them

      our  support.  Dr. Lytton said that part of the history of this commis-

      sion was there was a need felt to support  graduate  students  more  in

      terms  of  supporting  the  overall research mission of the university.

      Dr.  Eyre  stated that he felt it should be the other commissions busi-

      ness to make a ruling on this.  Dr. Edwards stated we should point  out

      how  important  it is to the research mission to have quality  graduate

      students.  Dr. Eaton stated that the quality issue is out there and  is

      a real problem.  The Cunningham Fellowship is a response to that but it

      only  gets  us about 10 students per year.  Dr. Eyre made a motion that

      Dr. McNabb write a letter to the chair on the  Commission  on  Graduate

      Studies  supporting  this  initiative, pointing out how important it is

      and hopefully it will have our unanimous support.    Dr.  Edwards  sec-

      onded.  Motion passed unanimously.  Dr. McNabb stated she would draft a

      letter and bring it back to the Commission at the next meeting.

 

  5.  COMMONWEALTH  CENTER  PREPROPOSAL  SCREENING  COMMITTEE ELECTION.   Dr.

      McNabb announced that the Provost's Office has decided that two members

      from the membership are to be elected to the  committee.    Dr.  McNabb

      asked  Dr.  Johnson  if  she knew more about the decision.  Dr. Johnson

      stated that the proposals are due in the Provost's Office October 5 and

      that they will be returned to the PI's by October 12.  Dr. McNabb asked

      if she knew how many proposals there will be or what the  demands  will

      be  like.    Dr.  Johnson  responded that they did not know; the antic-

      ipation is 6-8 proposals.  Dr. Lee asked if the Commonwealth Centers is

      a live program.  Dr. Johnson responded that they had received a  notice

      from  SCHEV and requesting that proposals be submitted.  The University

      will submit some proposals to the legislature.   The question  is  what

      will happen at the legislature.  Certainly there will never be anything

      coming from the legislature if the University doesn't submit proposals.

      Dr.  Doswald  asked  if  the  original  committee remains intact.   Dr.

      Johnson responded yes.  Dr. Doswald stated that he felt  that  the  two

      committee  members  should  be  faculty, since the committee is already

      heavily stacked with administrators.   Dr. Johnson responded  that  was

      the  idea  behind  the request for two representatives from the Commis-

      sion.  Dr. Edwards nominated Dr. Scanlon.   Dr.  Eyre  seconded.    Dr.

      Doswald  nominated  Dr. Olin.   Dr. Eyre seconded.  Dr. Eyre moved that

      nominations be closed.  Dr. Wildman seconded.   Drs. Scanlon  and  Olin

      were elected to the committee.

 

  6.  OWNERSHIP  OF DATA.   Dr. Olin reported to the membership on the status

      of ownership of data.  He stated that this originally came to the  Com-

      mission  in a memo from Dr. Hasselman last year.  There were some other

      faculty who shared similar concerns about people working in their labs,

      generating data and then at the time of their  leaving  the  university

      removing  their notebooks with them because they regarded the notebooks

      as personal property and not belonging to the university.

 

      A subcommittee of Dr. Knox, Dr. Boyle, Dr. Stout and Dr. Olin wrote the

      "ownership rights to data".  After a lot of discussion the document  is

      not  as  strong  as  some faculty might want but it is as strong as the

      committee felt was needed.  Basically the university owns the data,  no

      ifs, ands or buts.  If it is generated at the university, then the uni-

      versity  owns it.   It states what should be done to preserve this data

      and who should preserve the data.  If it is going to  be  destroyed  in

      any  form,  it  states what exactly should be done.  It states what re-

      course the university has if it is not followed.  Dr. Olin stated  that

      it should go to the membership to take and read and discuss at the next

      meeting.    Dr.  McNabb  asked if anyone had questions on the document.

      Dr. Lee expressed concern over the responsibility of each department to

      store and preserve such memos indefinitely.   Dr. Olin  responded  that

      the  previous  paragraph  gave instructions on how to destroy data.  If

      the department questions whether data should remain  stored,  then  the

      department  needs  to  reassess the data's usefulness.  How long should

      you hold on to the notebooks generated in a lab?  Dr. Lee  stated  that

      mention  had  been made of 7 years although some had said 3 years.  Dr.

      Olin stated that if the department head and investigator agree  to  de-

      stroy data, and they say this is the customary way for that field, then

      they  just  get  rid  of it.   With somethings that can't be recreated,

      there is concern from the university's point of view that we  keep  the

      data  around  so  that  the  lab books can be looked over and verified.

      That is the reason for having a set procedure.  Dr. Olin said  that  in

      one  area  it  might  be traditional to keep data two years, in another

      field it would be ten years.  It is a function of the area and that  is

      why  a  time  limit  could  not be set.   Dr. Olin stated that they all

      agreed that once the work is published or out in the open then there is

      no reason to keep the data.  Dr. Lee said that there could be a problem

      in finding room to store all the data.  Dr. Eyre said that it does  not

      say  that  you  have to store all the data just the memo which approves

      the destruction of the data.  Dr. Eyre stated that Dr. Lee makes a very

      important point.  He suggested that if there is a misconduct issue, the

      department head, dean and principal investigator could all conspire  to

      cover it up.  Then they could write a memo to cover it.  He stated that

      if  you  don't have any time limit on that then data could be destroyed

      in a month.  If there was an investigation of misconduct then  all  the

      evidence could be destroyed prior to the investigation.  He stated that

      he  would  be surprised if there wasn't some state or federal guideline

      covering this.  He said that where he came from it was five  years  and

      that  seven sounds okay with him.  He stated we need a legal opinion on

      that.  He felt that that particular paragraph was fraught  with  poten-

      tial  abuse  and that the paragraph will not hold up.  He said that his

      concern was not the time frame; it is the fact that without  some  time

      frame  it  is open-ended.  Dr. McNabb asked if the committee had sought

      any legal opinion on this.  Dr. Olin responded that  he  did  not  know

      whether  Dr.  Stout  had  consulted  with the lawyers or not.  Dr. Olin

      stated that he did not think the committee had considered that the dean

      would be in on a conspiracy.  Dr. Eyre mentioned the ethics  consortium

      which  had  occurred the previous week.  He stated that with the rocket

      accident such a scenario did in fact occur.

 

      Dr. Edwards stated that she was not clear about what form of  data  the

      document  refers to.  It talks about the student's thesis and disserta-

      tion committee preserving data then the next paragraph says to  destroy

      such  data.  That suggests the paragraph pertains to student thesis and

      dissertation data, not necessarily to sponsored projects data or  other

      kinds of data.  It doesn't tell her what data that is.  Dr. McNabb sug-

      gested that the word "such" be removed.  Everyone seemed to agree.  Dr.

      Olin  summarized that the membership wants a time limit put on the sec-

      ond to last paragraph.  Dr. Eyre suggested that Mr. Cain be approached.

      Mr. Kriz stated that one thing that was not addressed was the  possible

      historical  importance of notebooks, etc.  He suggested possible review

      by the Library as an option.

 

      Dr. Olin stated the main reason for the document was that  the  univer-

      sity  asserts  its rights to ownership of data.  If it has been done at

      Virginia Tech, then Virginia Tech owns it.   Dr. Edwards  asked  if  we

      have problems with people who take their data with them to another uni-

      versity.    Dr. Olin responded yes they do.  Dr. Edwards asked what you

      do about that and how is that addressed here.  Dr. Olin responded  that

      the  person is allowed to take copies but that the original data should

      stay at the university.  If the research had been performed here,  then

      it  belongs to the university.  Mr. Kriz mentioned that the words "such

      data" are used twice yet, in the fifth paragraph there is  no  previous

      reference to data.  He suggested that maybe the word data should be in-

      serted  in  the third paragraph.  Dr. Eyre suggested re-use of the ori-

      ginal wording - "research results"  as in paragraph three.  Dr.  McNabb

      stated  that  would  be more inclusive.   Dr. Eyre agreed.  Dr. Doswald

      asked if it is more inclusive.  Are notebooks research  results?    Dr.

      Eyre  and  Dr.  McNabb responded yes.  Dr. Doswald stated that they are

      part of the data that goes into the research product.  Dr. Eyre  stated

      that  things  written  in  the book are the data.  Dr. McNabb suggested

      that all members take the document home,  make  suggestions  and  bring

      them  back to the next meeting.  Dr. McNabb asked Dr. Olin if he agreed

      to approval of document at the next meeting.    He  responded  yes  and

      asked for other suggestions between now and next meeting be sent to him

      on  e-mail.  Dr. McNabb asked Dr. Olin if he plans to ask Legal Counsel

      about the issue of a time frame.  Dr. Olin responded yes.

 

  7.  MISCONDUCT IN SCIENCE.  Dr. Johnson updated the membership on the issue

      of  misconduct in science.  The interim response to PHS was distributed

      with the agenda.  It pertains primarily to  federally-funded  research.

      The  Committee  on Faculty Ethics would evaluate any alleged misconduct

      and would have three options:  dismiss, investigate it further  or  ap-

      point  an  expert panel.   If they determine that there had indeed been

      misconduct the faculty review procedure would be followed.

 

      The Committee on Faculty Ethics has taken this up as  a  debate  issue.

      They  began  it  last year and are planning to continue working with it

      this year.  First the university committee on faculty ethics is  trying

      to  define misconduct; they would like to see a broader definition than

      just misconduct in science and this has some basis.  In 1990-91 NSF is-

      sued a much broader definition that would include science and it  would

      include science, engineering and education.  It would not allow retali-

      ation  against  someone who honesty reported misconduct.  The Committee

      on Faculty Ethics would also like to see sexual harassment added as an-

      other point, that is within the scope and responsibility of the partic-

      ular committee.  The recognition of misconduct is an issue not only  of

      research with federal funds but also with sponsor supported funds.

 

      Another  major  issue  is the accountability of research - the account-

      ability of funds and how funds are used.  Dr. Johnson stated  that  ap-

      parently  federal  scientists are now confronted with whether or not it

      is ethical for them to belong to scientific societies.  They are  using

      federal  money and time to support scientific societies.  The Committee

      on Faculty Ethics plans to bring back another report from their subcom-

      mittee in October.  Dr. Johnson stated that  if  the  membership  would

      like to take anything to the Committee on Faculty Ethics that she would

      be  happy to bridge the gap.  Dr. McNabb asked if it would be redundant

      to do anything more than just give input to  them.    Dr.  Johnson  re-

      sponded that yes, that is correct.

 

  8.  DECENTRALIZATION  RELATED  TO  RESEARCH.    Dr.  McNabb stated that Mr.

      Shelton would give a brief report on  issues  of  decentralization  and

      that  Mr.  Shelton  will  talk about FRS reporting at a future meeting.

      Mr. Shelton stated that from the Minutes he felt that the  concern  was

      for  the  time  consumption or the amount of effort that goes into pur-

      chasing and personnel activities.  He stated that the payroll  function

      of  Personnel  reports  to  him  but  that the remainder reports to Ms.

      Spencer.  He stated that he talked with Ms. Spencer and that she  would

      be  happy  to visit with the Commission.  Dr. McNabb stated that we had

      in mind to ask Ms. Spencer to come to another meeting to talk about the

      personnel considerations.

 

      The Purchasing Department places priority emphasis on purchasing trans-

      actions for the research sector of the university.  In addition one  of

      the things that we are doing this year is the equipment trust fund.  We

      have  a sizeable equipment trust fund allocation this year.  The equip-

      ment trust fund allocation is throwing havoc to the Purchasing  Depart-

      ment.    He  stated that they have some vacant positions right now that

      they are trying to fill.  The university, through its central fund, has

      provided some additional temporary resources for them  to  try  to  get

      back  on track.   Since a lot of that goes to the research area that is

      one of the places where they are trying to  put  some  emphasis.    Mr.

      Shelton  stated  that  he  had visited this summer with the Director of

      Purchases Supply in Richmond for which we receive our  own  decentrali-

      zation.   He asked where Virginia Tech and other universities stand and

      what are our prospects for doing new things  in  the  purchasing  area.

      His overall reaction was that he was willing to look at other areas but

      he felt that like we were in pretty good shape.  He stated that the di-

      rector had met with the research community two years ago to take a look

      at  the impediments that the purchasing process was creating in the re-

      search community.  Mr. Shelton stated that we did implement  a  relaxed

      procedure  then for research and instructional purchases (up to a limit

      where state law takes over the procedures for purchasing); those  areas

      are now relaxed compared to administrative and other functions.  In ad-

      dition,  over  90% of all transactions are at the discretion of the de-

      partments.  We completely decentralized the SPO process with a limit up

      to $2,000.  Many departments have that but some  have  elected  not  to

      take  the  $2,000  SPOs.   We process something over 100,000 purchasing

      transactions per year.  Over 90% of those are SPO  transactions,  which

      means  that the Purchasing Department itself is processing a small per-

      centage of all those transactions.  One thing adversely  impacting  the

      ability to move things through the Purchasing Department faster is sole

      sources.    The  research  area creates a large percentage of the total

      sole source procurements.  About a year or a year and a half ago in re-

      sponse to some problems that occurred at other locations in the  state,

      the  governor's  office  issued  a  directive  which said that all sole

      source transactions over $10,000 must go through the governor's  office

      and be approved by the governor or the chief of staff of the governor's

      office.    We have tried several times to show Richmond that process is

      not needed.  In fact, they have never rejected one of our sole sources.

      The major universities have sent them hundreds and they have never  re-

      jected  one.    We did a study which we took to them and it looked like

      they were going to let us off the hook, but they did not.  The  Univer-

      sity  of Virginia is now doing another study trying again to get us off

      the hook.  He stated that they informally talk to  people  in  Richmond

      who  say yes they know they should do, that but it hasn't happened yet.

      Mr. Shelton stated that he did not believe that Purchasing is  deliver-

      ing  the  service  that  he would like to see it deliver.  He mentioned

      staffing problems and other problems that are precluding them from  do-

      ing  what  they should.  He stated that they have an effort underway to

      evaluate new automated systems for the purchasing area.  He stated that

      they have one in mind that would be a very good match for them and that

      it would improve the operations in the  central  Purchasing  Department

      and  would allow them to allocate more resources to the direct purchas-

      ing effort.  He stated that they are in a bit of  a  quandary  about  a

      current  solution  to  a  problem which might be a short term or medium

      range solution, versus taking a longer range view and building a system

      which will last a long time into the future.   If we  choose  the  long

      range solution we have to wait a long time to get it.  If we choose the

      short to medium range solution we can deliver some improvements but the

      benefit will not last as long.  It will not last through the 1990's.  A

      final  decision  has not been made.  The systems environment under con-

      sideration does envision an on-line entry of transactions  at  the  de-

      partment  level  for  all  procurement  processes.    It  envisions the

      manipulation of data at the department level, an automated  linkage  of

      the purchasing process to receive goods and payment transactions to re-

      lieve  administrative  processes on the back end of the purchasing dis-

      bursements cycle.   We do not have any  other  authorization  from  the

      state  to  improve the level of decentralized purchasing to departments

      at this time.  We talk to the state periodically about the levels  that

      they  have established and that should be evaluated.  If they were okay

      five years ago then they are  probably  inappropriate  now  because  of

      price  changes  and other factors.  Sometimes they hear and other times

      they don't.  He stated that he could say some of the same things  about

      Personnel  Services.    They  do some of that same emphasis on research

      funded positions.  Personnel Services is looking at a college now to do

      trial decentralization for employment screening for jobs and for  posi-

      tion  classification  for  several types of positions where the college

      would effectively take over the primary duties of  doing  those  tasks.

      He  mentioned  that Ms. Spencer is a proponent of more decentralization

      of the Personnel Services function into the colleges  and  departments.

      HRIS,  which  is  Human  Resources  Information  System, is an on-going

      project involving the Budget Office, the Controllers Office and Person-

      nel Services that takes a longer range strategy with development  of  a

      new  system.    It will be one that will last longer.  He said they are

      looking at one that will use a  lot  of  different  tools,  development

      techniques and results.  They also envision a source point data capture

      and distribution of the data in a different manner and a better manipu-

      lation  by  departments  in handling personnel transactions.  He stated

      that the biggest thing in  processing  personnel  transactions  is  the

      speed  to  move  them along the line, and a new system could do wonders

      for us in that manner.  That system is currently discussed  with  esti-

      mates  of being 18-24 months away.  He stated that components of it may

      come on-line earlier but whether 18-24 months is realistic he does  not

      know.  Dr. Edwards stated that one of the things that they have trouble

      with  is  losing  personnel transactions.   They just kind of disappear

      into the system and no one knows what happened to them.  It doesn't oc-

      cur when they expect it to on a grant so a charge  is  not  made  or  a

      transfer gets lost.  She stated that we need to have some way of track-

      ing these.  She said a lot of times it gets stuck on someone's desk be-

      cause  maybe  it  needs  a letter or something else that the initiators

      were not aware of.  Mr. Shelton stated that there are  a  lot  of  dis-

      cussions  by lots of people in both the programmatic and administrative

      areas about how many signatures are required on a document.  He  stated

      that they often question whether a signature was really needed and many

      cases  come to the conclusion that it was not.  The human resources and

      purchasing systems do try to envision that the initiator of the  trans-

      action should be the person who can send it all the way to its ultimate

      destination  point  and  that electronic copies would be sent to people

      who needed it for informational purposes.    Those  intervening  points

      would  not be a hindrance or a delay process in getting the transaction

      completed.  Mr. Shelton stated that he felt that  we  would  develop  a

      system  to  do  things in that manner.  He mentioned that there will be

      some problems.  There are some functions or people  in  the  university

      who  believe  they need to see those things before they go through.  He

      mentioned that there might be a college who would want to  see  what  a

      department  is  doing or that the Research Division might want to know.

      Dr. Edwards stated that the delays make it difficult to  find  out  how

      much  money  you have in a certain period of time and how much you have

      left to spend.  She thinks that if we do some kind of an  analysis  and

      find out how many of those are not approved we would probably find that

      it  is  a  very small proportion.  She stated that it makes her believe

      that those probably aren't necessary.  Mr. Shelton stated that the tra-

      ditional control environment has been set up to find the  1-2%  problem

      in  the front.  There are many people who believe that all forms should

      go through and that the 1-2% should be dealt with after the fact.   Our

      systems  are not set up to do that.  He said that in the personnel pay-

      roll process we don't have the automated tracking devices that everyone

      can get to even know where things are.  That is also a big item on  the

      list  for the Human Resources Information Systems team is targeting for

      a drastic improvement.  That system is going to evolve in the next cou-

      ple of years.  The purchasing system does a  better  job  of  notifying

      people about the status of their transactions.  There is an area on an-

      other  system  that  we look at on FRS that is a linkage of the payroll

      process to the accounting system to both encumber salaries on  accounts

      and  be  able  to  deliver details of transactions.  Mr. Shelton stated

      that the number one complaint he hears is the inability to encumber  or

      budget  salaries  in advance.   Dr. Lee asked about decentralization of

      classified positions.  Mr. Shelton stated that discussions  are  occur-

      ring  now  with one college.   He added that if Ms. Spencer visits that

      that is a pertinent question for her about career paths  and  how  col-

      leges  can  work  on  career  paths for classified staff personnel.  He

      stated that Ms. Spencer had mentioned to him specifically  lab  techni-

      cians  as  one of the types of jobs they would look into decentralizing

      the position classifications.  That is in their  target.    Dr.  McNabb

      stated  that  perhaps  Ms. Spencer can come next time and continue this

      discussion to see what else we can do on it.

 

  9.  CENTER REVIEWS.  Dr. McNabb stated that last time the membership talked

      about developing an agenda for the order in which the centers would  be

      reviewed,  and  the procedures for those reviews based on the first set

      of reviews.  Dr. Johnson stated that a meeting has been  scheduled  for

      the subcommittee to meet.

 

  10. ADJOURNMENT.  Meeting adjourned at 5:00PM.

 

 

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