Issues in progress

Faculty Council

Provost Billy Frye asked Faculty Council members at their March 19 meeting to consider the idea of creating a "Frequently Asked Questions" column to appear in Emory Report.

Frye said the idea emerged from recent discussions with several faculty members about methods for the faculty and administration to communicate with each other. The questions would be answered, Frye said, by him or other appropriate University officers. Although he would like the focus of such a column to be on the faculty, other community members would not be excluded, he said. Frye said if the column is initiated, he would like to have a number of questions in hand to ensure the column appears on a regular basis. He asked the Council to consider the matter and let him know their feelings about the proposal later.

Nursing Dean Dyanne Affonso discussed a proposal from the World Health Organization (WHO) to form a partnership with Emory to "find creative ways to look at health care and promote health in other countries." Affonso, who is chairing the Emory Task Force on the WHO Initiative, said that WHO specifically wants a University partner to bring an academic perspective to the project. She said that WHO wants to bring together the entire campus, not just the health sciences units, in an effort to "embrace the possibilities" of how to improve health globally.

WHO is focusing much of its work on Africa, Affonso said, and would like to inaugurate the partnership with a series of events that showcase Emory's activities that are related to Africa. To begin highlighting those activities, an "Africa Seminar" is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, in the WHSCAB Auditorium. The event is open to the entire campus. Affonso said she will keep the Faculty Council apprised of all developments with the WHO Initiative.

Council member Larry Beard asked about the status of an idea raised at last month's University Senate meeting to allow staff Senate members to run for president. Currently the president must be a faculty member. Council President Richard Letz, who also serves as Senate president, said the Senate Executive Committee does not support the idea. Letz also said he talked with several staff Senate members who do not support the idea, primarily because of the work-related conflicts a staff president would face. Letz said any Senate member can propose a change in the Senate's bylaws that would allow election of a staff member as president, but he believes there would be minimal support in the Senate for such a proposal. The next Senate meeting is scheduled for March 26.

President's Commission on the Status of Minorities

After receiving a list of responses from President Bill Chace on issues of concern they raised last fall, Commission members voted at their March 18 meeting to select some priority issues to work on with Chace for the remainder of this academic year and next year.

At an earlier meeting of the Commission's Executive Committee, Chace advised the Commission to select a few achievable, concrete goals to work on for the near future. Chace said he wants to work closely with the Commission to achieve those goals.

Issues selected by the Staff Concerns Committee include proposals for mandatory diversity training for all supervisors, including department chairs, and to provide tuition funds in advance to staff members who take courses outside of Emory. The current Tuition Reimbursement program reimburses most of an employee's tuition once the course is successfully completed. The Staff Concerns Committee has argued for several years that low-income employees cannot afford to pay tuition for their initial course and, therefore, never take advantage of the program.

The Faculty Concerns Committee will focus on issues of campus climate and community as well as mentoring and retention of junior minority faculty. One idea suggested at the Executive Committee meeting is the sponsoring by President Chace of informal dinners with deans, department chairs and minority faculty. The goal would be for minority faculty to get to know deans and department chairs on a personal level and therefore be included in informal faculty networks. Chace expressed support for the idea and said it could also filter down to deans and department chairs sponsoring informal dinners themselves.

Student Concerns Committee members said they will meet soon to select the issues they will focus on, but those issues most likely will have to do with the racial climate on campus as it relates to equal treatment of and opportunities for minority students.

--Dan Treadaway

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