Chace discusses pay equity, maternity and tenure issues

President Bill Chace discussed a broad range of issues affecting the climate for women at Emory in a special meeting Nov. 20 with the President's Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW).

The topics discussed at the meeting were divided into three categories: issues affecting women staff, students and faculty. The PCSW's Staff Concerns Committee has been studying the issue of pay equity between male and female staff since last year. After collecting largely anecdotal information from women staff through several focus group sessions last year, the committee wants to move ahead with collection of more quantitative data this year.

"We want to do an analysis of pay equity by gender," said committee chair Mary Krueger. "which will involve an analysis of pay ranges within pay grades."

Chace expressed support for the analysis, recommending that the committee focus on two or three pay grades that are sufficiently representative of the entire campus. He said such a focus would provide the committee the information it is seeking without exhausting the resources of the Human Resources staff. He said that if the data indicate that Emory as an institution is not being friendly to women on the pay equity issue, other methods might need to be used to determine the underlying causes of that unfriendliness.

The Faculty Concerns Committee has been focusing on maternity/adoption leave and tenure/promotion issues, said committee chair Victoria Phillips. "We need some feedback on the issue of women faculty who might be vulnerable to having no paid leave when they need family or maternity leave," Phillips said. "We are concerned about the lack of a floor below which no one can fall."

The committee is also concerned about polices that are worded in ways that are family-unfriendly, such as asking women to time maternity leaves to coincide with the academic calendar and unwillingness in some areas to stop the tenure clock while women are on maternity/family leave.

Chace said the committee's requests "strike me as imminently sensible. I see no reason why this shouldn't be done." He said the nature of the family and extended family has changed a great deal, and the University will always be sensitive to those issues, while remaining competitive with other schools.

In response to concerns about the lack of a sound appeal process in tenure and promotion decisions, Chace urged the committee to bring the issue to the attention of the new Presidential Advisory Committee.

The Student Concerns Committee raised a number of issues, including a planned effort to create a resource guide for women students. Committee chair Karen Brown-Wheeler said almost all the information planned for the guide is currently available in existing publications, but the committee wants to bring all the information together into a user-friendly format for women students. Chace expressed support for the idea and offered to pay all printing costs required for the project.

Chace concluded the session by sharing his concern about the "lack of women in high places" at Emory. He said that forthcoming searches for a provost and College dean will provide fresh opportunities to include women candidates in the search process.

--Dan Treadaway

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