President Bill Chace announced at the Council's Feb. 20 meeting that he has formed a President's Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of nine senior faculty members from across the University.
Chace said the committee, which he wants the faculty to elect in subsequent years, will serve two purposes: 1) to review annually all faculty tenure and promotion cases to ensure proper procedural handling (as opposed to content issues) and 2) to advise the president on "difficult and thorny matters." Chace cited as an example Provost Billy Frye's consultation of faculty members in 1994 when deciding whether to let an appearance by a Nation of Islam member go forward. The latter function would be performed on an ad hoc basis.
The nine committee members include: R. Wayne Alexander, School of Medicine; Richard Freer, School of Law; Brooks Hollifield, School of Theology; George Jones, Emory College; Harvey Klehr, Emory College; Deborah Lipstadt, Emory College; Reynaldo Martorell, School of Public Health; June Scott, School of Medicine; and Jag Sheth, Business School.
When asked if he could imagine a scenario in which a faculty member successfully completes all the existing stages of tenure and promotion evaluation and then is rejected by the PAC, Chace said he could imagine such a situation, but characterized it as very unlikely. "I think the committee would be much more likely to remand the faculty member's folder for further consideration, rather than turn it down," he said. "Only if a case involved controversy over procedural issues would I expect to receive their good advice."
Although some of the specifics of the committee's operating procedures have yet to be worked out, Chace said he expects members to serve two- or three-year terms, perhaps on a staggered basis.
"One happy result of this committee," Chace said, "could be that faculty will know more of the University and more of the different criteria of the various schools." He said he expects the committee's identity to grow and evolve in time and take on a "sharper silhouette."
In other business, the Council discussed a proposal from the University Senate Fringe Benefits Committee that would specify benefits that are available to retired faculty and staff. Committee Chair Sid Stein said the recommendation lists 19 benefits that would be available to all retirees (some of which already exist, some of which are new proposals from the committee) and two that would be available at the discretion of the appropriate dean.
Stein said the recommendation grew out of the committee's overall review of retiree benefits and its attempt to "come to grips with just what those benefits are."
Several Council members expressed concern that retiree access to EmoryCare should be explicit in the recommendation. EmoryCare is currently available to retirees under the same terms that it is available to active employees. The committee recommendation, however, did not address EmoryCare access.
Concern was also expressed about retiree use of resources affecting their availability to current faculty and staff. "I don't see this proposal as a resource problem based on retirees," Stein said. "The theme of the committee's discussion centered around continuity of community. The notion that retirees are no longer part of the Emory community didn't appeal to us at all."
Stein said he would incorporate Council members' suggestions into the recommendation before it is considered by the University Senate at its Feb. 27 meeting.
The Commission's Staff Concerns has identified three primary goals to pursue for the remainder of the academic year and into next year. Committee member Glenn Williams announced the goals at the Commission's Feb. 19 meeting. The goals include recommending adoption of policies that would:
*Require all supervisors, chairs and deans to participate in a prejudice reduction and inclusivity training program;
*Require supervisors, chairs and deans to identify as part of their performance evaluation their programs, practices and plans for increasing diversity among their faculty, staff and students; and
*Require the presence of minority community members on all search committees and selection panels.
William Bailey of the Student Concerns Committee said that the committee will hold a retreat on March 23 bringing together members of minority-related student organizations to talk about their concerns and discuss their efforts with each other. He said the Commission's Student Concerns Committee continues to focus on the issues of campus relations, financial aid and student involvement.