My name is Derrick Wang and I am the Student Member of the Board of Visitors (BOV). The Board of Visitors is the highest governing body at the University, responsible for long-term planning and approving all major decisions at UVA. This includes signing off on design and construction of buildings or renovations, academic and degree programs, tuition and budget proposals, uses of the Strategic Investment Fund, and many other important matters.
As Student Member, my role is to represent the 24,000+ students at the University on the Board, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in Charlottesville, Wise, and across the Commonwealth. Speaking for the entire student body requires that I understand all of your perspectives and experiences at UVA. I encourage you to reach out with your input through email or Facebook so that I can elevate the concerns and opinions of students to the Board of Visitors! I am always excited to hear from students and advocate on your behalf.
Review of June Meeting
The Board had its quarterly meeting on Thursday, June, 6 through Friday, June 7. Highlights relevant to students are below.
Academic and Student Life Committee-
- Undergraduate Advising – The Committee heard a presentation from Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Archie Holmes about undergraduate advising at UVA. We had a detailed and passionate discussion on how to improve advising for undergraduate students, especially faculty advising in the College. The Committee was very interested in finding ways to improve the advising experience for students.
- New Degree Programs – The Committee approved a new degree in the Curry School: the Master of Education in Quantitative Analytics in Education and the Social Sciences. The Committee also approved the establishment of the School of Data Science, after it was endorsed unanimously by the Faculty Senate on May 1.
- Mental Health – I invited student panelists from IfYoureReadingThis.org and the Madison House HELP Line to present about student mental health. In this discussion, we talked about student stress, mental health problems, and wellness. The Committee was very receptive and interested in ways we could continue to support students dealing with these difficult challenges.
Building and Grounds Committee-
- Data Science Facility – The Committee approved the location and design guidelines for a facility to house the newly approved School of Data Science in the Emmet/Ivy Corridor. It will join the previously approved hotel/conference center, which will be built next to the parking garage. This parcel of land will also eventually contain accessible green space as well as a performing arts center and other academic buildings.
- Inn at Darden – The Committee also approved the final design for the Inn at Darden, which is being renovated to become a larger modern hotel/conference center. The Inn will support Darden’s executive education program, and is being funded mainly through gifts.
- Memorial to Enslaved Laborers Timeline Inscription – The Committee approved the wording of a timeline that will be inscribed on the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, developed by the Timeline Subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Slavery at the University. The Memorial will be completed this fall.
- 2019 Capital Plan – The Committee approved the capital plan, which lists all major construction and capital projects for the next few years, as well as estimated costs and funding sources. Highlights include the Green Street on Brandon Avenue, the new Student Health & Wellness Center, and renovations of academic buildings.
Details including digital renders of new buildings, site location for the new facility, and the wording of the timeline can be found here.
- Discussion of Strategic Plan – The Board engaged in a long discussion of the strategic plan. The members of the Board commended President Ryan on the immense effort and outreach that went into crafting the plan. I was personally extremely encouraged to hear the Board affirm the importance of the student experience at UVA. I think the Board was absolutely right to emphasize that the University existed to educate and serve its students first. I also underlined the importance of engaging students from under-represented populations and increasing accessibility to those who might be excluded financially or socially, which is a key part of the strategic plan.
- Remarks by Student Member – I offered my first remarks to the Board. I introduced myself and my background, with an emphasis on why education was personally important to me as a child of immigrants. I discussed preliminary student reactions to the goals of the strategic plan. I then underlined the importance of financial accessibility, especially for our most vulnerable and under-represented populations. I concluded by urging the Board and administration to actively involve students in the implementation of the strategic plan and its student-facing initiatives, since engaging students as partners is crucial to student self-governance and the success of the plan generally.
The Board approved the strategic plan, which will now move into the next phase where the administration will propose timelines for implementation and sources of funding.
Feedback and Input
If you would like to offer your opinion or perspective on topics that the Board is discussing, please reach out to me at email@example.com or through my Facebook page. The Board will be engaging in further conversation around the strategic plan, so I encourage you to share any and all feedback or thoughts as soon as possible. I am also happy to answer any questions you may have about the Board. I will also hold in-person open hours in the fall to meet with students individually.
Student Member of the Board of Visitors | 2019-20
The Board of Visitors in the News
About the Board of Visitors
The Board of Visitors is composed of 17 voting members appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, for terms of four years. In addition, the Board of Visitors appoints, for a one-year term, a full-time student and faculty member at the University of Virginia as non-voting members of the Board of Visitors. The Rector and Visitors serve as the corporate board for the University of Virginia, and are responsible for the long-term planning of the University. The Board approves the policies and budget for the University, and is entrusted with the preservation of the University's many traditions, including the Honor System. The Board maintains offices in the Northwest Wing of the Rotunda and meets four times per year. Meetings are open to the public.
View the Board of Visitors manual
[Revised to reflect changes through December 7, 2018].
Comments, questions, or concerns? Contact Derrick Wang, the 2019-2020 Student Member of the Board of Visitors.