Issues in progress

Faculty Council

At the Council's Nov. 19 meeting, Provost Billy Frye and Council members continued their discussion of what should be included in a long-range strategic plan that Frye, President Bill Chace and other administrators are developing this year.

Ideas and issues raised during the discussion include:

*Ensuring adequate space and time for College faculty to conduct their research programs, without diminishing Emory's renewed emphasis on excellent teaching.

*Redefining the traditional perceptions of what both research and teaching mean by increasing opportunities for experiences that combine the two, thereby diminishing the perception of a dichotomy between teaching and research.

*Having Tenure and Promotion Committees place more emphasis on excellent teaching in their decision making, thereby encouraging faculty to make teaching a higher priority in their work.

*Finding more ways to lower the faculty/student ratio, not just in Emory College, but across the entire University, which in turn will vastly improve the likelihood of more students receiving a higher-quality educational experience.

*Creating better yardsticks for determining what excellent teaching is, yardsticks that are as effective as those in place for evaluating research and service.

*Establishing a strong visiting scholars program that would bring prominent scholars to campus for an entire semester to teach, give public lectures and engage faculty and students in discussions about their work.

*Building small sub-communities in which faculty intellectually stimulate students and each other.

*Addressing the space and financial concerns around allowing retired faculty to remain a part of the Emory community by doing consulting work.

*Constructing a Faculty Center that would go beyond the traditional role of a Faculty Club by providing a space for some of the initiatives discussed in the meeting, as well as others. Faculty Council President Luke Johnson emphasized the importance of having a separate building for such a purpose, partially due to the current lack of "faculty space" on campus.

President Bill Chace said that many of the ideas raised in both the October and November Council meetings can roughly be grouped under the umbrella of "Growth by Substitution." Chace said such growth is occurring at many large universities with the aid of a "tax" on individual colleges and schools to support new initiatives that foster the development of a university-wide intellectual community. He said such a tax is usually based on a college or school's anticipated budgetary growth.

Frye said he developed a similar plan while at the University of Michigan in which the proceeds from the tax on academic units were redeployed to the areas with the greatest need. He said that in cases where cuts had to be made, faculty committees in the individual units made the decisions on what to cut.

Chace cautioned that implementing such a plan could be difficult during a time of relative growth and prosperity.

Frye requested that his discussions with the Council continue next semester.

In other business, Associate Vice President for Equal Opportunity Programs Bob Ethridge announced that he will be asking the deans to appoint liaisons who will serve as contact people for handling complaints of sexual harassment. Ethridge said he believes that appointing such liaisons will help ensure that complaints of sexual harassment that are initially made on an informal basis to someone in the victim's college or school actually reach the Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) staff. He said that complaints can be handled either by the local liaison or by EOP, but in any case EOP must be made aware of the complaint.

Johnson announced that representatives of the firm selected to conduct a campus master planning process for Emory will attend the Jan. 28 University Senate meeting. "This is an invaluable opportunity for we as faculty members to put specific academic values before the planners and administrators involved in this process," Johnson said. An announcement of which firm has been selected for the master planning process is expected in the next few weeks.

In addition, Johnson announced that Nanette Wenger, professor of medicine, has agreed to chair the Council's Faculty Life Cycle Committee. Assisting Wenger on the committee will be Frank Lechner, associate professor of sociology and former Faculty Council president, and Nancy Eiesland, assistant professor of sociology of religion in the Candler School of Theology. The committee hopes to create a sketch of the faculty life cycle to identify common interests and needs during distinct stages of the life cycle.

--Dan Treadaway

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