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Casteen addresses
U.Va.'s new rank

University Journal, (Friday, September 24, 1993).

Admitting that he had assumed that U.Va. would fall out of the annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of national research universities because of Virginia's decrease in funding to higher education, University President John Casteen said U.Va. stands as a "productivity model that is a model for the whole country."

"With all the talk that goes on about fat, about the tax on faculty and most recently on students ... the numbers speak for themselves," Casteen said.

U.Va. jumped in the U.S. News ranking from 22nd to 21st, although the school was in last place among the top 25 in the financial resources category. Last year, U.Va. was ranked 50th for financial resources and was almost dropped from the rankings, Casteen said. "The issues of the economics of running a university of this caliber, and the rank jumps right out at you," Casteen added.

Only four public universities, U.Va., the Universities of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles and the University of Michigan, were among the 25 schools ranked in the magazine. With such a low number of public schools, Casteen said that "the message here is that if you want a top liberal arts education, you have to go into the private sector, [and] if you can't afford the prices, you had better go somewhere else."

The University ranked lowest in educational programming expended per student, at $12,934. As Gov. Doug Wilder prepares his budget proposal for the 1994-96 biennium, Casteen said there is a possibility that U.Va. may have to undergo further "serious reduction plans."

"Everything is an the table at this point," Casteen said. There are three areas Casteen said would be protected from cuts: programs for women and minorities, the search for increased private funding to U.Va. and academic programing, adding that the first two areas are "essential."

The administration is "where we'll look first," he said.

"We're going to choose to sustain the academic programs ... If we cut academics, the news would spread quickly," Casteen said.

Casteen said that he believes "part of what goes into the [U.S. News] rankings is development of technology," highlighting the University's Electronic Text Center and the Grounds-Wide Information System.

Casteen said that there are three primary employers in Virginia. Both defense and agriculture are in the midst of steady declines in employee numbers. Education and research, on the other hand, have grown in the recent past, Casteen said.

Virginia needs to develop a "coherent approach to industrial growth," Casteen said.


Monica Nixon.