17 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. Signed and certified by the members present, each in his proper handwriting this 4th. day of August 1818.

      I always find it interesting the power a signature holds. By signing one's name, they are agreeing with everything stated in the document and pledging their support. I love how it takes the time to emphasize "each in his proper handwriting" as if that is bringing even more validity to their signatures. It is proving the authenticity of this document. All of the document's credibility lies in these signatures.

    2. as men and citizens,

      This is a direct example of exclusion within the University. One of the explicit objectives of the University was to instruct men. It is sad to think that it wasn't until 1969 ( http://uvamagazine.org/articles/women_at_the_university_of_virginia/P7/ ) that UVA allowed women to join the University. Women have accomplished so many things at UVA and because of UVA, and it is hard to imagine what the school would look like without women in it today. Unfortunately, it is expected that a statement such as that would be put in this document, as women's rights were not something being talked about. I just find it shocking that it took UVA so long to begin admitting women.

    3. With this accessory, the seat of our university is not yet prepared, either by its population, or by the numbers of poor, who would leave their own houses, and accept of the charities of an hospital. For the present therefore we propose but a single professor for both medicine & anatomy.

      I find it interesting that because the founders could not justify building a hospital, they deemed it unnecessary to have multiple professors teaching in the medical field, as if teaching medicine was less important simply because there was no hospital. I also think it reflects the founders' favoritism towards the classics. Earlier in the document, it is stated that some of the most important goals of the University was to teach morals and politics and history and then, at the bottom of the list, was the objective of teaching the physical sciences. I'm not sure if the order to which the objectives were listed has meaning, I suppose that is up for individual interpretation, but if it does, it would, perhaps, show the founders' favoritism towards the humanities. However that is interpreted, it is clear that at the time the founders were not entirely concerned with the study of medicine as they only proposed one professor for the field all together. This is a link that shows that the UVA hospital was not built until many years later. https://uvahealth.com/about/health-system-info/history

    4. Latin V Physics or Natural Philosophy Greek Chemistry Hebrew

      I meant only to highlight the languages, as I was fascinated by the number of them being taught. It is impressive how, at those times, there were fluent speakers in both the language being taught and English, willing to work at a new University, founded just after the American Revolution. Although America was the New Land, were most unemployed Europeans wished to go, due to the scarce labor and high wages, the costs of transportation were huge at that time. Indeed, it amused me how the University managed to get language teachers, I suppose foreign, that were scholarly respected.

    5. and tho rather, as the proofs of the being of a god, the creator, preserver, & supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all the relations of morality, & of the laws & obligations these infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics;

      This paragraph is kind of contradictory, as it first advocates for the equality of religious thought, but then describes God as the supreme ruler of the universe, "author of all the relations of morality". There was no space for the possibility that God did not exist, which is today a realm of religious manifestation. Perhaps before this was not a contradiction, as the existence of God was almost universally acknowledged. Now, however, both theism and atheism are scholarly accepted and respected. Furthermore, it is fascinating how, despite the rejection of atheism, the university strived to teach a large spectrum of religions; Thomas Jefferson was not satisfied with UVA teaching only the classical religions.

    6. Of another parcel of 153 acres near the former, and including a considerable eminence very favorable for the erection of a future observatory.

      This excerpt is very interesting as the reservation of land for the specific purpose of constructing an observatory seems to be very peculiar when considering the primary plans for the University. However, its inclusion is very relevant, as such reservations lead to the construction of the Leander McCormick Observatory, which currently sits on the summit of Mount Jefferson, commonly referred to as Observatory Hill. Though it took nearly 70 years for such plans to be carried out, the implementation of the McCormick Observatory has proved to be a prominent addition to the University, as it has helped enhance the education and has also served as a platform for astronomical research within the Astronomy Department.

      Link: http://astronomy.as.virginia.edu/research/observatories/mccormick

  2. Nov 2017
    1. As well might it be urged that the wild & uncultivated tree, hitherto yielding sour & bitter fruit only, can never be made to yield better: yet we know that the grafting art implants a new tree on the savage stock, producing what is most estimable both in kind & degree.

      I believe this metaphor to be very profound, as it challenges the statement within the previous sentences that, "man is fixed." The excerpt vividly depicts how a tree that yields sour and bitter fruit can be changed, through artistic processes, to produce a rather sweet fruit. These artistic processes serve to represent how man can be improved and changed through the role of education. Consequently, the Rockfish Gap Report discusses how education is crucial to the positive development of man, further illustrating Jefferson’s vision of the University of Virginia, where individuals will not only continue to grow as students, but also as cordial and honorable members of society. I believe that Jefferson’s vision has been fulfilled, as the University’s academic programs have enhanced the minds of those who have been, and are currently, students, while also providing them with a foundation of integrity and honor which will stay with them throughout their lives.

    2. Districts of such extent as that every parent should be within a days journey of his son at school, would be desirable in cases of sickness, and convenient for supplying their Ordinary wants and might be made to lessen sensibly the expense of this part of their education.

      I find this part to be extremely interesting! A days journey now is A LOT different than a days journey back then. Now, we are spoiled with cars, trains, and planes to find our way back to Grounds. Parents hours away, in different states, can make their way here in less than a day! Back then, however, a day could be somewhere merely 2 hours away by car. The diversity of the school couldn't be nearly as different as it is today!

    3. diet

      If this still holds true, then why don't we improve the dining hall food? The typical meal found in the dining hall lacks proper nutrients. We should continue to enforce the importance of a healthy diet through the food we are forced to consume.

    4. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either. To know his rights; to exercise with order & justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciaries of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence with candor & judgment. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      I found these specific objects of primary education to be quite important to the standing and image the school wanted and still wants to portray. It addresses the purpose of the University to create better more intelligent citizens for Virginia and the country. However, to me it seemed somewhat ironic due to the University’s background. It reveals earlier in the article that University's location was chosen based on its centrality to the white population in Virginia. This statement clearly implies a bias against non-white Virginians, even though the listed purposes of the University and what it hopes to impart to its students in this report depicts a different message. It paints a picture of in which the students utilize their higher level education to behave morally, accepting, self-aware, and faithful to social relations and knowledge. Does this mean these standard morals don’t apply to non-white Virginians? The irony highlights how the purposes of the University can be interpreted in different ways, either as a way to serve the white people in order to “preserve [their] ideas” of bias and superiority. Oppositely, the students could use their newfound knowledge to “improve [their] morals” and work to bring about change in society by education others ethics and equality.

    5. 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; needing, at the same time, no regular incorporation with the institution, they may be left to accessory teachers, who will be paid by the individuals employing them; the university only providing proper apartments for their exercise.

      In an article I found about the importance of arts being included in education states that “Arts experiences boost critical thinking, teaching students to take the time to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the world”. I found this segment of the report to be interesting because it is the only segment that regards the university attitude towards the arts. The language of this segment is very passive, and does not imply its importance, rather it finds these activities to be more of an optional pass time. The authors of the report refer to the arts as "innocent," implying that they are childish and not the foundation of a mature job. However, I am not surprised that this was the view towards arts in that time period because their society, especially for men, was to get an education and job to provide for their family and community and arts was never involved with that idea. That being said, these days we are getting much better in recognizing its importance in actually helping “critical thinking”, this boosting achedemivc education as well as happiness and morality. I find that arts education produces well-rounded students that think holistically, contradicting the reports depiction of the arts being more extraneous.


  3. Oct 2017
    1. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.

      Within the highlighted excerpt, I want to focus on the masculine articles of "he" and "his" as they depict the forms of gender discrimination and inequality that were present within the University prior to 1920. Preceding 1920, women were not legally allowed to enroll within publicly funded professional and graduate schools. Consequently, following 1920 and the legislation which allowed female enrollment, the University exercised forms of gender discrimination within its application process, thus illustrating its masculine roots. However, following a law-suit accusing the University of its discrimination, it was determined that the school could no longer exercise any forms of discrimination, "with respect to race, color, religion, national origin, or sex." Therefore, as a result of such legislation, female students now consist of 55% of the student population thus inviting the revision of masculine pronouns within the Rockfish Gap Report, thus illustrating the University's progress toward gender equality.

    2. It was the degree of centrality to the white population of the state which alone then constituted the important point of comparison

      I find the selected excerpt very profound and relevant to modern society, as it creates an aura of inequality and racism surrounding the University of Virginia, which has, as a result, been protested against within the recent months. The reality that one of the aspects considered for the location of the University was based on its, "degree of centrality to the white population," conveys the belief of white as a superior race. Furthermore, this directly correlates with the events that have transcribed within the local Charlottesville community over the past few months; not only have neo-nazis publicly illustrated their personal forms of hate and racial inequality on grounds, but students have also pushed for equality at the University by protesting its public display of such historical bias, which has led to the removal of plaques commemorating confederate soldiers from a place of public display, to a place of historical remembrance.

    3. critically compleated, by a study of the authors of highest degree

      I find the detail and specificity of this sentence to be interesting. One of the hopes of the University was that the students would not just complete their classical learning, but critically complete their classical learning. And not by just studying authors, but by studying authors of the highest degree. The tone that this sentence sets through the use of its words conveys a University that thrives on independent thinking and intellectual curiosity. It is creating the prestige of the University by making it clear that students will be taught and learn from those of great intellectual capacity and those of the highest degrees. It's not just education that matters to the University, it's education of the highest quality.

    4. him

      I think the use of pronouns in this document is something worth noting. The pronoun 'him' in this sentence is referring to the gender of the professor who will teach medicine and anatomy. The implied gender of the professor was male, because at that time, there were only male professors, along with only male students. This document is concerned with creating the best school possible that will allow its students to intellectually and academically thrive, but by prohibiting women to join the University as professors or students, the school is hindering its ability to intellectual thrive by cutting itself off from the perspectives and ideas offered by women. In 1963, UVA welcomed their first female full professor, and to this day a plethora of women teach at the University. However, most University programs report to have fewer female faculty representation than male representation, so equal gender representation is something we are still working on. http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/04/a-gender-gap-in-faculty-salaries

    5. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then 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, and this brings us to the point at which are to commence the higher branches of education, of which the legislature require the development: those for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      I think this paragraph is significant to the understanding of the document as a whole. At first, it says "to instruct the mass of our citizens", focusing on the importance of building a society. Then, at the end, it says "and the individual happiness", directly referring to the development of the individual. This equilibrium between the individual and the society, and the importance of building both at the same time, complementing each other, is perhaps one of the university's primary objectives.

    6. after declaring by law that certain sciences shall be taught in the university

      It is interesting the regard to which the university upheld the sciences, in a time were religious thought predominated, and religion and science have long been thought as incompatible.It appears to me as if the university did not have this idea. Rather, there was space for both religion and science.