Issues in Progress

University Senate

A report whose initial recommendations called for an aggressive Emory role in determining the future of Emory Village was dramatically altered at the Oct. 22 Senate meeting.

The report was written by the Senate's Emory Village Committee, formed nearly two years ago amid faculty concerns over the general appearance of and mix of businesses in Emory Village. The report was completed last spring and originally offered three recommendations to the University: 1) establish an Emory Village Committee of the Board of Trustees to carry out the two following recommendations; 2) establish a standing University policy of land purchase in Emory Village in the interest of acquiring sufficient leverage over the long-term to influence or control redevelopment, and (if deemed necessary and desirable) to allow for the physical expansion of the campus through placement of University facilities in the Village; and 3) negotiate cooperative agreements with Emory Village land owners, lessees and appropriate DeKalb County agencies to accomplish objectives related to ongoing redevelopment including visual enhancement, vehicular traffic control, ease and safety of pedestrian access, addition of green space, shared parking and enrichment of the mix of businesses.

Secretary of the University Gary Hauk said the first recommendation is probably unnecessary because the Board of Trustees already has a Real Estate, Buildings and Grounds Committee that handles matters such as those outlined in the report. Hauk also pointed out that the Emory Village report was undertaken prior to a campus master planning initiative on the part of the University, an initiative that will take Emory Village into account.

Although the entire Senate expressed general support for the third recommendation encouraging cooperative agreements with landowners, a number of members expressed concern over the appropriateness of the land purchase policy called for in the second recommendation. Bill Buzbee of the law school wondered why the recommendations placed no limitation on the use of Emory Village property purchased by the University. Buzbee said the goal of improving an important community gathering space could be overwhelmed by internal ambitions for more academic and health care space.

Senate President Luke Johnson said he understood Buzbee's concerns, but believed that the report's aim of enhancing an existing community gathering space would be understood within the full context of the report.

After a lengthy discussion of the recommendations, Johnson proposed that the first and second recommendations be deleted. After a motion to do so was passed, Johnson further proposed that the third recommendation be approved as the report's sole recommendation to the University, with the addition of the word "efforts," so that the final recommendation calls for Emory to "negotiate cooperative efforts and agreements..." The motion passed unanimously.

Prior to the Emory Village discussion, Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Johns addressed the Senate, sharing his thoughts on the challenges faced by academic medicine.

Johns said the overwhelming challenge at the moment is blending a core academic mission with a core clinical business. "Health care is becoming more and more commoditized," Johns said. "Costs have been increasing at a rate that is not sustainable for most employers. That has driven health care into the marketplace, which has reduced costs. But now health is more of a commodity than it ever was before."

In addition to Emory's ongoing mission to strengthen its medical science education programs, Johns said that now the University also has to relate to the outside world of the business of medicine, which is putting a greater demand on Emory's resources.

Despite these dramatic changes, Johns assured the Senate that the Health Sciences units "will stay focused on being part of the University, on our core academic mission, because without it we wouldn't be necessary."

Employee Council

At the Council's Oct. 16 meeting, the Special Issues Committee continued its brainstorming session from the previous meeting on how to make Emory community members at locations off the main campus feel more included in community life.

Ideas mentioned included holding more social/recreational events that include larger numbers of Emory community members, such as picnics or softball games; informal cross-departmental training to expose staff members to the operations of their counterparts in other departments; and including a comprehensive definition of the Emory community in the staff orientation process.

Following the Special Issues meeting, Kym Harris, training manager in Human Resources, discussed the transition of the Human Resources Career Counseling function to a Career Development function.

--Dan Treadaway

Return to the October 28, 1996 contents page