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Map to the Future
Trustees endorse the numbers behind the vision

The plan for UVM’s next decade is bold—nearly a half-billion dollars in new and improved buildings and residence halls, 2,700 additional undergraduate and graduate students, a phalanx of new professors — but is it practical? Does the University’s wallet match its will?

An exhaustive examination recently completed by a multinational accounting firm says yes: the vision for the University of Vermont that President Daniel Mark Fogel initially proposed in February 2003 is not only practical, it is necessary. Projecting the financial status quo a decade into the future yields mounting red ink and a slow withering of the institution’s promise; carefully managed growth offers the surpluses necessary to attract the great students and innovative teachers and researchers who can extend the University’s prestige and promise.

PricewaterhouseCoopers presented the results of its independent financial feasibility study of the University’s growth-oriented vision and the strategic financial plan that supports it to trustees at the board’s May meeting. Trustees had already enthusiastically endorsed the plan, but before moving ahead with full implementation of the program, the group asked for an in-depth look at the financial realities that would drive the aspiration. The strategy calls for $475 million in capital investments by 2013 and proposes increasing research and tuition revenues by adding additional students and faculty. In concluding that the plan is feasible, the PwC study analyzed factors ranging from the student growth proposal to the construction of a proposed $70 million student commons to the addition of new facilities on- and off-campus supporting research in the life sciences and agriculture.

“With the right project management, it’s definitely achievable,” said consultant Michael McGuire. “It’s a bold plan, but I think it’s needed.”

Within the report presented to trustees, PwC analysts wrote, “The strategic vision and goals of UVM’s ten-year plan appears logical and well thought-out. The plan defines at a high level a strategic direction we have seen taken by other quality academic institutions.”

After considering PwC’s report and subsequent discussion, trustees unanimously supported a resolution authorizing the University to begin implementing the vision. Some eighty seconds of applause followed the milestone vote. The resolution supports the plan and its financial details in principle, while requiring board approval for each of the proposed capital projects and setting a schedule and process for monitoring the plan as it unfolds.

“When the board passed the resolution a year ago asking for a feasibility study,” said board chair James C. Pizzagalli, “we didn’t imagine it would be this comprehensive and in-depth. It would have been possible to deliver a much less comprehensive plan.”

The rigorous report advises that while the plan makes good management sense, it won’t be easy to implement. Analysts noted that the pace of change and size of growth outlined by the plan are ambitious and will require aggressive oversight and careful monitoring of progress.

“Having seen many institutions embark on new strategic directions, we have found that success is dependent not only on the soundness of the plan, but how carefully the implementation is managed,” PwC reported. “Intensive diligence must be exercised in monitoring the plan, in carefully phasing its execution, and in adjusting its implementation for both sub-optimal performance on one or more parameters and for inevitably changing circumstances.”

In his opening comments to the board, Fogel stressed that the plan has built-in flexibility to adapt to future challenges. “It is a map replete with alternate routes and lay-bys so that we can adapt to contingencies and changing circumstances with course adjustments that will carry us forward toward our destination and with changes in speed as required,” he said.

More detail on key aspects of the strategic financial plan follow. The PwC report is available at http://www.uvm.edu/president.

Enrollment Growth
Increasing undergraduate enrollment while maintaining or raising current admissions standards is a key part of the plan, which forecasts 2,000 new undergraduate students by 2013. Graduate student enrollment growth in the master’s and especially doctoral programs is essential to building UVM’s reputation and perceived value. Projections call for a 60 percent increase in graduate enrollments, about 700 more students.

New Facilities
Significant investment in new facilities and renovations are essential to building enrollments in a highly competitive market, consultants and University administrators agree. UVM is moving swiftly on several key projects. Work began this summer on a new 800-bed residential complex on the University Heights site and a full renovation of Living/Learning is under way. The University Commons building, planned for Main Street behind Morrill Hall, is designed to be a true crossroads of campus, creating a central space where the academic, co-curricular, and social lives of the UVM community come together. Trustees will likely consider a final go-ahead on Commons plans at the September 2004 meetings.

Research Growth
Over the next ten years, the plan aims for $68 million of sponsored research growth, a 58 percent increase. A major part of that growth would be driven by 50 new research faculty in the College of Medicine.

Additional space to support the increased research capacity would be created by building a new College of Agriculture and Life Sciences facility on campus. The current budget model also assumes increasing the College of Medicine’s research presence in Colchester, where the University could exercise the option to purchase leased space and expand a satellite research campus.

Private Support
A major goal of the current Campaign for the University of Vermont is building UVM’s private support, funding initiatives critical to the plan — scholarships, in particular. Scholarships are key because the financial strategy relies on steady, high-quality enrollment growth, which in turn depends on operating and endowment gifts for financial aid. This aid will allow UVM to attract the most talented high school students while keeping the University accessible to families of modest means. Private scholarship support, according to Fogel, is absolutely essential to achieving the plan’s goal of ever-greater academic quality.

3 Questions
Frances Carr, vice president of research and dean of the Graduate College, says the new Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies is a natural fit with the mission of a public university. The UVM-based center promises to foster the success of new high-growth, high-technology firms in Vermont, and is expected to play a crucial role in diversifying the state’s economy and potentially bringing revenue to the University. Federal and state funding, strongly advocated for by Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. James Douglas, have been key to getting the center rolling.

Q. Why is the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies good news for the state and its business community?

A. VCET provides opportunity and support for tech transfer, basically for patent opportunities, and for establishing relationships with private companies who may need the support systems of the University — such as access to equipment.

I think it’s important to note that the federal government recognizes the importance of these kinds of partnerships for economic development. It’s an important piece because there are those associated with universities and in the community in general, that say, “well, that’s not the role of universities.” Yes, it is. The federal government has recognized that since the 1980 establishment of the Bayh-Dole Act. Research is for the public good. It’s public money that funded the research, therefore, there’s an obligation to ensure that the results of the research are applied. It is part of the role of public research institutions — the mission of the land grant for sure — to ensure that we are able to improve the lives in the community in which we live. This is a different mechanism by which we do it, that’s all.

Q. What sorts of research are most likely to come to market through this process?

A. When you think of the breadth of inventions coming from faculty, we have a lot of important research being conducted that is appropriate for the incubator. Micro-strain technologies and the kits associated with diagnostics are more in keeping with the kind of incubator that we’ll have here. We expect to see technologies in particular emerging from engineering partnerships with the life sciences or the environmental sciences. Devices that would monitor changes in the stress related to bridges, for example. Medical technology. Platform-based diagnostics would be a really exciting opportunity for us, as well. Fields where the creativity and the innovation is happening at the intersection of engineering, life sciences, and the natural sciences.

Q. How has the faculty responded to the idea of VCET and collaborating more with the private sector?

A. The overall sense is that there has been a desire to move in this direction for quite some time. You can see that by talking with some faculty who went out and started their own companies and did their own patenting. In addition to all of the other benefits, it provides us with new opportunities to think about how we’re providing an educational foundation for undergraduate and graduate students.

photo by Andy Duback



Musical Refuge

As music major Viktorija Knezevic ’04 selected pieces for her senior piano recital, Sergei Prokofiev was a natural choice. The Russian master is her favorite composer, and because of Knezevic’s own personal experience with the harsh reality of war and displacement as a Bosnian refugee, an artist she is especially suited to understanding and interpreting.

Paul Orgel, an adjunct faculty member in UVM’s Music Department, has worked extensively with Knezevic during her years at the University. Her graduation recital, which included Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, was an outstanding performance that Orgel calls the best he has ever heard at UVM. To hear both teacher and student describe it, Knezevic’s technical skills were strong when she began study with Orgel, but she lacked expression. “I think Viktorija has moved from a very mechanical and somewhat stiff approach to a more thoughtful, artistic way of looking at music,” Orgel says.

For her part, Knezevic says she recently listened to a tape of a performance made near the end of her years in Germany, where her family lived from the 1991 outbreak of war in Bosnia until their 1999 relocation to the United States. “It sounds like I’m too scared to give anything,” she says and credits Orgel for helping her to improve in this critical dimension. “Paul tells me, ‘You don’t have to be scared. Give yourself. That is how you make music.’ I am not afraid to be what I am, and that’s a great feeling.”

But Orgel also subscribes to the truism that making great music is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. From the day he met her, Knezevic knew the importance of long periods of focused practice. On a fairly typical recent day, Knezevic put in eight hours at her job at the Clarion Hotel followed by a 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. practice session in a tiny Southwick Building practice room. “Some people like to read for hours and hours, I like to practice,” she says, shrugging.

Next stop for Knezevic is the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she’ll continue the musical journey that began at age six, years and worlds away in Bosnia.

Quote Unquote

I’m not saying the University is perfect. But it’s electric these days. There’s an energy, and a pride, I’ve never seen before. I know some of the people I work with are going to ride me mercilessly for using a sentimental word like “pride,” but I don’t care — if sentiment for the institution is a crime, then let me be guilty.

English Professor Philip Baruth in an April Vermont Public Radio commentary titled “UVM is Back.”

Alums elect Bryan 2004 Kidder winner
Frank Bryan estimates there are some 40 to 50 footnotes citing the contributions of students in his recent book, Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How it Works. Passing out credit where it is due is a natural part of the Bryan ethos, and his former students returned the favor when they selected him for the Alumni Association’s 2004 George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching.

Over nearly three decades, Bryan has examined the democratic tradition of town meeting and has taken students along for the ride. He guesses that roughly 4,000 of his students have spent a first Tuesday in March observing and reporting on the proceedings in a Vermont town hall. In an interview in the Fall 2003 issue of Vermont Quarterly, Bryan said: “Whenever I meet a student I haven’t seen in 20 years, I’ll ask them where they went to town meeting, and they’ll always remember, and then they’ll tell me a story about it. I’m proud as hell of that fact. So, they really learned something about democracy and the academic world both. There’s nothing like putting a kid right in the middle of it.”

Thanks to Bryan’s influence, many of those students found their way to a political science major, a master’s degree in public administration, or a career in politics or government.

Ann Hallowell ’85 G’89 was a self-described “middle-aged, nontraditional freshman” when she took Bryan’s American Government 101 class. “It was to be an experience that changed the direction of my life to this day,” Hallowell says. “I went from someone just ‘taking classes’ to a serious student, focused, challenged, and enriched by what I was learning from a remarkable teacher.” Hallowell’s subsequent political career included serving as a city councilor in Burlington and in the Vermont Senate. “Throughout all these years, the professor and I debated the issues and even when we didn’t agree, he always encouraged me,” she says.

Nick Warner ’83 G’93, who works in the City of Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office, cites the lasting impact of Bryan’s “Mom” lecture, in which the professor peels back all the layers of government he navigated to provide services for his elderly mother. Warner says the talk should be required for all public employees. “Professor Bryan doesn’t let us forget that ‘all politics are local,’ and that the value of working with our hands, minds, and souls should not be lost in the confusing systems we live in.”

See Vermont Quarterly online, http://www.uvm.edu/%7Euvmpr/vq/vqfall03/frank.html, for an interview with Professor Bryan (Fall 2003 issue) and a reprint of a past profile posted with the current issue.


Landscape Online
Site traces Vermont views

Paul Bierman swivels his PowerBook around to offer a window on Vermont’s evolving landscape, specifically the village of Vershire in 1897. The stark photo on the geology professor’s computer screen is one of his favorites, a hardscrabble New England hill farm that in Bierman’s eyes stands out for its illustration of human impact on landscape change. It’s a great teaching tool and ever the teacher, Bierman points out the stone walls, the roads, the sawmill, the dam, and the steep slope in the back pasture where clear cutting has been followed by inevitable landslide.

The Vershire photo is one of many on the Vermont Landscape Change Program Web site, a rich digital resource that has recently taken a significant step forward. With approximately 2,000 easily accessed images depicting much of the state, anyone interested in Vermont history, landscape, geology, or just interesting old photos, could easily click away hours on the site.

Beyond mere diversion, the archive is a significant resource for teaching and research. Bierman initially saw the potential five years ago while poring over thousands of UVM Special Collections images as he prepared a presentation on human-landscape interaction. A $70,000 pilot grant, which Bierman and co-investigator Christine Massey received from the National Science Foundation, helped get the project started. Laura Mallard G’00, then a graduate student in geology, coordinated the initial effort by involving high school students in seeking out historic photos and shooting their own contemporary views of matching sites. Some 400 pairs of images from that beginning form the core of the landscape archive.

With an unusual second round of NSF pilot funding, Bierman has worked with Jens Hilke G’03, a recent graduate of UVM’s Field Naturalist Program, to continue deepening the collection. Bierman says they’ve gone to a community-driven effort, hoping to draw people not only to view the site, but also contribute to it. “It’s the richest way for us to work on this, to mine all of those local town halls, historical societies, and grandparents’ attics that are full of photos,” he says.

To view the Landscape Change Program digital archive, go to http://www.uvm.edu/perkins/landscape.

What’s New
Undergraduate applications were up again this year, nearing record levels. A total of 11,368 students applied for admission next fall, a 10 percent increase over last year. That marks the second highest total in UVM history with numbers very near the peak levels of the late 1980s “public ivy” era. Diversity in the applicant pool was also up dramatically, with a nearly 30 percent increase in the number of applicants identifying themselves as African American, Latino, Asian American, or Native American. In May, 2,119 first-year students had made deposits for the fall semester, with a record 160 ALANA students among them.

The University Scholar Awards Program, which recognizes faculty members for sustained excellence in research and scholarly activities, has announced winners for the 2004-2005 academic year. They are Richard Albertini, research professor of pathology and medicine and professor emeritus of microbiology and molecular genetics; Dwight Matthews, professor of medicine and chemistry; Beth Mintz, professor of sociology; and David Scrase, professor of German.

Alumni Dr. James Betts ’69, MD ’73 and John Snow ’74, and UVM parent Anne Dodge have been appointed to six-year terms on the UVM Board of Trustees. They replace Milt Goggans ’66, Bruce Lisman ’69, and Pam McDermott ’73. Also joining the board are student trustees Colin Robinson and Christine Hertz.

University Press of New England, a consortium of New England college and university presses, has welcomed UVM as its newest member. Vermont becomes the fifth member of the publishing group, joining Brandeis University, Dartmouth College, University of New Hampshire, and Tufts University.

For more on these stories and other UVM news: http://www.uvm.edu/news.

[ Accounting ]

7,400 square feet of vinyl siding

7 toilets

64 doors

1,524 two-by-fours

308 fluorescent fixtures

22 exit signs

1,050 bricks

71 tons of building materials

…and more have been spared the landfill thanks to UVM’s participation in Recycle North’s construction materials re-use program during the demolition of the ranch houses at University Heights. In recognition, the Burlington organization presented UVM’s Architectural and Engineering Services with their annual Karen Taylor Reuse Award in April. New residence halls will be built on the former University Heights site.


Peace Prize Postscript

Jody Williams vibrates with moral authority and passion. But she’s an uncomfortable icon, quite willing to share her ambivalence about life as a Nobelist. On April 13, returning to the campus where she earned a psychology degree in 1972, the woman who won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her role as the coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines alluded to her personal story repeatedly to emphasize that regular people can do remarkable things.

Williams graduated from UVM “terrified,” she says, with no marketable skills after changing her major five times. “I wanted to be everything — and nothing,” she told her audience in Billings North Lounge. A time of “floundering” ensued, a decade of odd jobs and secretarial gigs and graduate degrees and purposeless despair. And then, as it does in every conversion story, came the moment that changed everything.

She was handed a leaflet at a metro stop in Washington, D.C.: “El Salvador — Another Vietnam?” Williams was soon drawn into the cause of working for peace in Latin America, growing into leadership roles that would prepare her well for the job she would take on with landmines in 1991.

What Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines have accomplished is remarkable — most of the world has given up a conventional weapon that was universally used for 100 years — a first in human history. The work goes on, and Williams still spends most of her time on it, but her role has changed. Not necessarily, she says, for the better.

“The Nobel? Big deal. Sure, it helps. It made my parents very proud, they can finally explain what I do…. But it only mattered then. What matters now is what I do next,” she says. “… After the prize, I had five years of hell… I couldn’t be the coordinator of the campaign any more, I had to be a talking head.”

All the talking, the endless requests to, as she says, “opine on every human rights issue in the world” whether she knows anything about it or not, is difficult for an introvert more comfortable with action than words. But she has come to at least partially embrace it. She speaks, she says, to inspire, to prod “one person to go out and do more than I’ve done” at every talk.

“I’m tired of hearing people complain. Emotion without action is absolutely a waste of time… If you care enough to complain, volunteer for one hour a week,” she says. “If that doesn’t fit into your schedule, one hour a month.”

Williams was invited to campus for her Mark L. Rosen Memorial Lecture by Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science Madeleine Kunin, a former Vermont governor.


Applied Knowledge
Federal funding key to environmental and agricultural research

Environmental and agricultural research, two UVM strengths that are critically linked to Vermont’s future, recently received a boost with the announcement of significant federal funding for next year. U.S. Senator James M. Jeffords has secured fiscal 2004 federal appropriations totaling $1.6 million in support of six diverse research initiatives at the University. Jeffords and UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel shared the podium at a May 3 press conference on campus.

“UVM research efforts find solutions to problems that allow all of us to lead more healthy and productive lives. This is such an important role for a university to play,” Jeffords said. “Financial support of research is critical to the health of our forests, our lakes, our agricultural crops, and our food supply.”

“Research is the lifeblood of the University,” said Fogel. “We are very grateful to Senator Jeffords for his support of this vital function and for his tireless work on our behalf. Advancing knowledge in environmental and agriculture sciences — and applying that knowledge in the real world — are critical to Vermont’s well being and to that of the nation and the world.”

The appropriation will support two ongoing research projects in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and four in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A glimpse of the six initiatives follows.

Acid Rain
Rubenstein School research over the last five years has yielded key insights into the mechanisms by which acid rain damages trees. Researchers Donald DeHayes, Paul Schaberg, Gary Hawley, and Tim Perkins have shown that acid rain attacks trees’ immune systems — curbing their ability to survive even normal stress like droughts, extreme cold, and common forms of disease — and is far more damaging to red spruce and, potentially, to other tree species like white pine and sugar maple, than is apparent on the surface.

Storm Water
“Redesigning America’s Neighborhoods for Storm Water Management,” a Rubenstein School project, focuses on storm water management issues that are the consequence of rapid development in South Burlington, a community that is representative of New England “sprawl” development. As one of the first comprehensive research projects to compare treatments over time in the same stream, the study’s conclusions should generate great interest among policy makers.

Recycling Whey
Researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences led by Mingruo Guo will continue their work finding new applications for whey, a by-product of cheese-making. New work, in partnership with entomologist Bruce Parker of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, will concentrate on an organic whey-based insecticide that incorporates naturally occurring insect-killing fungi. Maple Flavor Timothy Perkins of the Department of Botany will lead a group seeking to identify the types and causes of off-flavors in maple syrup as the first step towards developing a mechanism to reduce or eliminate their formation. Off-flavors, which usually develop during the boiling process, affected 25 percent of Vermont’s maple syrup crop in 2003.

Safe Cheese
A research team led by Catherine Donnelly in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences is inquiring into the natural barriers to pathogen development that occur in the production of raw milk cheese. The results will help inform the national debate over the safety of aged cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, like cheddar, swiss, gruyere, and camembert.

Agricultural Run-off
A constructed wetlands project, managed by Aleksandra Drizo in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department, provides an innovative alternative system for treating agricultural runoff. A prototype of the wetlands system, located at UVM’s Paul Miller Research Center on Spear Street, is well on its way to becoming a model that dairy farmers in a northern climate can use to handle run-off.


Economics for a small planet
New text takes on a different set of questions

Picture homo economicus, that most rational of utility maximizers, strutting off to purchase a larger-screen television to replace his large-screen model. Is this — the perpetual consumption of ever-increasing amounts of market goods — the whole story? Or can economics tell us more about the world?

Of course, says Josh Farley, a classically trained economist and assistant professor of Community Development and Applied Economics. His new 488-page textbook, Ecological Economics (Island Press), which he wrote with eminent University of Maryland Professor Herman Daly, is the first introductory text to fully take on the emerging discipline’s theory and practice. In that, it’s a radical departure from conventional economics.

“It starts from a completely different set of questions. The first question you have to ask is, what’s the desirable end?” Farley says. “Mainstream economics assumes that the desirable end is consumption.”

Ecological economics takes a longer, broader view. Consumption is fine, but what about clean air and water, an intact ozone layer, open spaces, wildlife, and social justice? Farley describes the field as looking “at how we live on a finite planet,” borrowing tools from conventional economics when appropriate, but also delving into philosophy, ecology, psychology, and other fields.

It’s an interlocking set of practices rather than a unified theory, and as such, it can be difficult to pin down, especially for textbook authors. Instead of following the ritual pattern of a microeconomics text, moving from supply and demand to efficiencies to property rights, Daly and Farley’s book breaks roughly into sections examining the interrelated questions of scale, distribution, and efficiency from an ecological perspective.

Feedback from the external reviewers has been good (with the partial exception of two “old-school” economists), and the book is being adopted in upper-division and graduate courses nationwide.

While the book occasionally twits conventional economics — “Herman has some pretty good zingers,” says Farley — it offers a sound explanation of basic typical economic concepts before expanding them. A conventional econ text, Farley says, might have two pages about public goods; his has 100. Another theme in Daly and Farley’s textbook is diminishing marginal utility.

“Consumption goes up, and up, and up,” Farley says. “How much more do we need? We’re getting diminishing marginal utility from market goods, even as we wipe out the ozone layer, the wetlands…”

Farley hopes that the work will help students learn the skills that ecological economists apply to those kinds of paradoxes, the contradictions caused when market forces collide with the natural world.

Grayscale: Poems
By David Huddle
Louisiana State University Press
Grayscale is the fifth volume of poetry from Professor David Huddle, who has taught writing at UVM for more than thirty years. “His is a hard-won simplicity of phrasing, and it produces touchingly gentle, stubbornly frank poems . . . fully adult poems,” wrote critic Ron Smith.

Nature, Culture, and Big Old Trees
By Kit Anderson ’76 G’81
University of Texas Press
The relationship between people and trees — in particular, the live oaks of Louisiana and the ceibas of Guatemala —is the focus of alumna Kit Anderson’s new book. The volume is the product of extensive travel in both regions, where the ethnobotanist photographed landmark trees and collected stories of their history and symbolism.

Duty and Character
By Jeff Freeman ’68
Alumnus Jeff Freeman rose from private to colonel over the course of a 32-year career in the Army and Army Reserve. Some ten years of Freeman’s military career was spent in Washington, D.C., and he filters that experience through the lens of fiction in Duty and Character.

Italian Through Film
By Antonello Borra and Cristina Pausini
Yale University Press
Antonello Borra, an assistant professor of Italian at UVM, and his co-author Pausini, who teaches at Wellesley College, offer up a cinematic way to learn the language. Chapters are structured around ten different Italian films, fostering a deeper understanding of both language and culture.