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Casteen Chooses Planning Commission Heads

October 16, 1998

By Sarah F. Columbia, Senior Writer

A fter announcing plans for the creation of four new planning commissions in March, President John T. Casteen III appointed two more University faculty members to head the committees.

Rebecca Kneedler, currently the Education School associate dean for academic affairs, will head the commission on public service and outreach, while Computer Science Prof. Anita Jones has been selected to lead the Commission on Science and Engineering.

Jones said her commission's main goal was to "build a plan that will advance the University in science and engineering." Although she does not have any specific plans yet, Jones said she is planning a "commission with individuals from many areas that will, over the next one and a half years, come up with a plan that will really advance the University."

Jones attended Carnegie-Mellon University, where she earned her Ph.D. in computer science. She came to the University in 1988 as a professor and chairwoman of the computer science department. Jones has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, and President Clinton recently appointed her to serve on the National Science Board.

highlighting the current efforts of the University in public service.

"U.Va. is already making major contributions in terms of public service," she said.

She added that she will also be investigating how public service is defined and rewarded at the University.

Kneedler said she has had previous experience implementing these goals when she headed a University task force on public service in 1991. The task force was a small committee in the Faculty Senate, which Kneedler chaired during the 1996-1997 school year. Kneedler began working at the University in 1975 after graduating from the Education School. She also works for the General Assembly and the Virginia Department of Education.

In his State of the University address last year, Casteen said he planned to form four commissions to study closely the areas of public service and outreach, sciences and engineering, fine and performing arts and international programs at the University.

Officials said the main goal of all of the commissions is to look at other universities in the nation that have highly-respected programs and emulate those programs at the University.

During a Board of Visitors retreat Sept. 18, members appointed Drama Department Chairman Robert Chapel to head the Commission on Fine and Performing Arts.

Although committee members have not yet been finalized, Chapel said he hoped the commission would be composed of a diverse group of faculty members, including representatives from schools such as Darden, the College and the Medical School.

"The big question is, how do we want others to view the University in relation to the arts?" Chapel said.

Chapel said he hopes to "assess the current strengths of all of the programs and also to investigate benchmark programs we would want to emulate and then form a plan to strengthen all arts at the University."

He said long-term goals for the Commission on Fine and Performing Arts located behind Carr's Hill.

He added that a new arts center would enable all of the art programs to be housed together and would provide more performance space.

The Commission on International Activities will concentrate on how the University can benefit at home from overseas programs already in existence.

Although a head for that commission has not yet been selected, University officials are hoping to appoint a director within the next two weeks.

Kneedler and Casteen could not be reached for comment.

Anita Jones

Computer Science professor Anita Jones will chair the Planning Commission for Natural Science, Health and Engineering Research. Former chair of her department, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1994. From 1993 - 1997, while on leave from the University, she served at the Department of Defense where she was responsible for defense research and engineering.

"We have a strong statement from our president that we are to identify strategic actions that will bring about further excellence to the University. This is a great opportunity for the University as a whole, and I want to be a part of that," Jones said.

She plans to name her committee members and have them in operation by the end of the calendar year.

Original Article | Local Copy


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