19 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. The affectionate deportment between father & son offers, in truth, the best example for that of tutor & pupil

      The choice of "father & son" as a descriptor for the relationship between student and pupil really emphasizes how exclusive the University was in its incipience, reinforcing the fact that it was closed to prospective female students at its beginning and until 1970. That sexism seems to be so ingrained in the school that it's even present in its founding document -- rather than say "parent and child," for instance, the founders have chosen to specifically chose a male relationship dynamic as a founding principle.

      Annie Parnell

    2. It may well be questioned whether fear, after a certain age, is the motive to which we should have ordinary recourse. The human character is susceptible of other incitements to correct conduct, more worthy of employ, and of better effect.

      This aspect of the document reminds me of UVA's policy with regard to Honor Code violations. Rather than a catch-all expulsion or other disciplinary policy, the University makes allowances for students to turn themselves in with lesser consequences and be counseled and tried by their peers through the Honor Committee. Although this wasn't established until later in the University's timeline, it's intriguing to me that this idea of understanding, rather than punishment, as a means for discipline is so deeply rooted in the culture of the University.

      Annie Parnell

    3. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens,

      I like that he referred to the students as citizens. This shows how Thomas Jefferson truly thought he was creating a community rather than a school. Also, these students had rights and interests that the University should uphold and these are constantly being tested today. As students, we should question if the University is giving is the rights we all deserve. Also important to note that he said men as women were not yet part of the school. I wonder if UVa had trouble outlining women's rights here as men's rights were established first. -Ella S. (es4vr)

    4. Ethics

      The fact that Ethics was one of the main areas of study that Thomas Jefferson thought of shows how much he valued a liberal arts education. Also shown throughout the document, he really wanted the University to be a community. I wonder if he thought there was a direct relationship between creating a community and ethics. In my Engaged Citizenship class we discussed how now we believe that ethics and citizenship (or being part of community) go hand in hand and we do see that aspect a lot at UVa. TJ may have thought about this first simply with creating a community who should value studying ethics. -Ella S. (es4vr)

    5. In the education of youth, provision is to be made for 1. tuition. 2 diet. 3. lodging. 4. government: and 5. honorary excitements

      This piece of the passage is particularly eye-catching to me because as a student here I too examine the break down of the overall cost of attendance. The 5 provisions from back then resemble the ones we have now (minus transportation and technology). Once again I see a scam brewing. I feel as though this is just a way to cover up the extra cost they may be requiring the attendants to pay. As to if those expenses actually go into what they claim they are is solely based on the designers of the provisions. I think this is something worth looking into with the recent news of UVA trying to raise tuition.

    6. They will be more advanced than we are, in science and in useful arts, and will know best what will suit the circumstances of their day.

      I find it hard to believe that these students will become more advanced than Jefferson and his crew or whoever the intended "we" he is referring to is. They have limited the amount of professors they had to about 10 and these professors are more likely than not the same ones that were hand chosen by Jefferson and his group. This ultimately means that these students will go through the same cycle of classes by the same professors and will all be learning the same things. Nothing more, nothing less. The point I'm attempting to present is the idea that Jefferson may not notice how his education set up is breeding clones rather than more advanced students. -Eliana

    7. each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions & discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive & constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge & well-being of mankind

      I find it interesting how the founders place such importance on the history of discoveries on the education of new pupils. Perhaps the University today could incorporate this in new ways, such as showcases of antique investigations from the 19th and 20th centuries in the various fields. I believe these might foster new ideas and help students feel connected in curiosity to those who came before. If nothing else, it might certainly be comical to look at certain papers put forth (especially in medicine) back then. Quentin M

    8. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.

      The optimism here is striking. Before the founding of this University, the only way for a man to achieve an education would be to pay exorbitant prices at the private schools in the country. Here, Jefferson and his associates wish to give every man who is able the tools with which to succeed. This goal carries through to today, and perhaps the University should revisit these goals when designing new programs and initiatives to ensure everything they do is for the benefit of the students who actually study here. Some schools have been known to make decisions to benefit faculty, boards of visitors, etc. It is nice to know the University, at least in the beginning, has favored its students. Quentin M.

    9. the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing & numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration (useful in so many callings) and the outlines of geography and history

      As I read through this report, it is interesting to see what Jefferson wanted most of the education to be focused on. There is huge emphasis on the math and sciences, and the history and languages, but there are incredibly few mediums included in this curriculum- not many in betweens. It makes sense in that time period why there was not a vast range of departments/subjects and it is intriguing to see the difference in UVA now where there are actually three curriculums that are somehow vastly different. When you look at what we have now, there are mediums consisted of engagements, politics, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and more. While Jefferson does mention politics and philosophy, it is nothing compared to how much UVA offers now. These may not have even been deemed as necessary when Jefferson was constructing the curriculum. As we progressed in understanding the human, the mind, and the works of where we live, these departments and classes became necessary. It is worth observing what was important in education back then and how that affected the courses given, to what is important right now, which is now far more complex.

    10. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      This is an interesting statement in this text given the context of the social environments back then, and the social environments now. Jefferson's goal here seemed to have his students become more socially aware of the surroundings they've been given. I wonder if this entails that they be aware of their higher ground they've been placed in society and to use that higher ground to their advantage. Interestingly enough, this goal works perfectly for the social issues happening now at UVA. If the many white students attending UVA that benefit from this higher ground, that is clearly still in place, can "observe with intelligence & faithfulness" their social relations, they too can become aware and use that higher ground platform to denounce the privilege they have been given. This meaning that they use that platform for the greater good, not for self aid.

    11. to appoint & remove professors, two thirds of the whole number of visitors voting for the removal

      In the current UVA policy directory, reasons for termination of a professor include a variety of reasons, one of which I was particularly interested: "unacceptable performance after due notice". This statement in the Rockfish Gap Report reminds me of course evaluations that we have been filling out at the end of the semester. I wonder if these are weighed to see if two-thirds of students disprove of a particular professor. If they do not perform their duties properly, why should they continue to teach? UVA has always wanted the best for their students. http://uvapolicy.virginia.edu/policy/prov-014

      -Lauren H

    12. We are further of opinion that, after declaring by law that certain sciences shall be taught in the university, fixing the number of professors they require, which we think should at present, be ten

      It amazes me to think that when this university began, it was fixed at only ten professors. Now, we have grown to the #3 public university in the country, with over 16,000 faculty and staff. Part of me wonders if Thomas Jefferson had envisioned this university to grow to where it is today. This document had great intentions for the university, but it seems like it exceeded expectations. http://www.virginia.edu/facts

      -Lauren H

    13. Three places were proposed, to wit Lexington in the County of Rockbridge, Staunton in the County of Augusta, and the Central college in the County of Albemarle: each of these was unexceptionable as to healthiness & fertility.

      Though I'm not from Virginia and don't know much about these three locations, I find it very interesting how all three proposals are located within the Shenandoah/Blue Ridge Mountain region. Especially given the time that this report was published, 1818, it would have been fairly difficult to get out to these parts of the state, much more so than the coast, Richmond, or NoVa. Though the writters offer the explanation that these three locations were healthy, fertility, and in close proximity to white populations, I think that there is a lot more to why they chose this region. Even today, with easy access to main highways and major cities, Charlottesville can feel extremely isolated from the rest of the world. The mountains have that effect of making everything seem more inclosed than they actually are. This can be very appealing for the establishment of a university, especially one that has an emphasis on a living-learning community. By founding a university so far removed from the rest of the world, students are able to fully engage within the school's community (something that is harder in more populous/centrally located areas). Katie N

    14. that education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort; not reflecting that an establishment

      This is an interesting take on the relationship between an individual and an institution. The writers of the Rockfish Gap Report are saying that what an individual at the University wants to do with theirself is entirely up to that individual and the actions of that individual do not have any reflection upon the values or beliefs of the University as a whole. On one hand, this makes sense as individuals have free will to do as they please and an institution like a University shouldn't really compromise that. However, one could also see it that the University is a governing body responsible for its members and their consequent actions. Therefore, the University could be liable for the actions of its members. Either way, the University's job is to educate its members and should uphold a certain code of conduct - for decency's sake.

    15. Chemistry, is meant, with its other usual branches, to comprehend the theory of Agriculture

      Though today Agricultural theory is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about chemistry, it certainly makes a lot of sense in the context of the times and Jefferson's vision of American society. Thomas Jefferson wanted America to be a nation of farmers, who best exemplify the crowning characteristic of civic virtue. He believed that small farm communities could preserve civic virtue, whereas an industrialized, city society would only lead to corruption within government and society as a whole. By teaching chemistry as a way to improve agriculture, Jefferson is able help preserve and improve his idea of a nation of yeoman farmers for decades to come. Katie N.

    16. The use of tools too in the manual arts is worthy of encouragement, by facilitating, to such as choose it, an admission into the neighbouring workshops. To these should be added the arts, which embellish life, dancing music & drawing; the last more especially, as an important part of military education. These innocent arts furnish amusement & happiness to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it;

      I appreciate the fact that the University acknowledged the importance of fine arts even back then. I find it amusing how they worded it "to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it". It makes it seem like the arts were recognized not only as a means of facilitating creativity and to supplement studies in more concrete departments like math and science but also as a way to keep students from getting into trouble. The part where they mention arts as an important part of military education also interests me. Perhaps it was a way to let students in the military program relax and spend recreational time which they felt was integral to their usual strict and discipline oriented education. Lauren L.

    17. And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      This objective seems a bit ironic to me especially considering the kind of exclusivity of the type of students that attended when UVA was first founded. Also, it's hard to ignore the fact that at UVA they are meant to "correct action" and "render themselves examples of virtue to others", both good moral values, except while African Americans were being oppressed and not given the same opportunities as these men attending the University. Lauren L.

  2. Nov 2017
    1. the care of the grounds

      Many students here at the University have no idea why we refer to the grounds in the way we do, myself included. It just seems to be tradition. Here in the Rockfish Gap report, the term "grounds" appears a whopping 2 whole times! I assume that it's from this document that we derive our tradition of calling our university "grounds." It's crazy how something so small has become so engrained in our student culture.

      It may be worth questioning as to whether or not this term invokes a sense of superiority and/or pretentiousness through its use both in the student body and in an outsider's view of the university.

      Jedidiah Park

  3. Oct 2017
    1. who, in the same act make other provision for the primary instruction of poor children

      This phrase really highlights how UVA was viewed as a continuation of public education. The foundations for what UVA would teach students was already there, as a result of the public education in the state. The founders of UVA saw the University not as a higher education for some, but for all. Because of this, UVA is seen as a central democratic institution.