President Bill Chace and other upper-level administrators will be spending a good deal of their time this year on completing a Comprehensive Strategic Plan requested by the Board of Trustees last winter.
Chace attended the Sept. 3 Senate meeting to discuss the strategic plan and other issues of community concern.
A draft of the plan was presented to the trustees in May, and the administration plans to have the final version ready for presentation next April or May. Before that can happen, Chace said those working on the plan must have input from the entire Emory community. Chace said the administration will begin seeking such input very soon, and that he will periodically update the Senate and the entire community on the plan's progress.
Provost Billy Frye said that Board of Trustees Chair Bradley Currey Jr. asked that the plan be based on Choices and Responsibility, which Frye wrote two years ago and which the trustees adopted last year as Emory's values platform for future growth.
Turning to other topics of community interest, Chace said that he has decided not to proceed with plans to form an Equity Commission, which he proposed during his inauguration address nearly 18 months ago. Chace said that after only two meetings of the committee charged with forming the Equity Commission, it became clear that the three existing presidential commissions on the status of women, minorities and lesbian/gay/bisexual concerns were already working well, as is the Ethics Center. "It became apparent that adding another presidential commission would be redundant," Chace said, "and that such a group would not be doing an important job."
Addressing concerns expressed by some faculty last year about the lack of a Faculty Club at Emory, Chace said he has broached the idea of locating a Faculty Club at the Houston Mill House with the management of that facility. "[Executive Vice President] John Temple and I have talked with the Houston Mill House to see if they could expand their facility to include a Faculty Club and manage the club," Chace said. "I believe that Emory is missing something valuable by not having a good Faculty Club, and I'm sure these discussions will continue."
On the topic of Affirmative Action, Chace said that recent court decisions have placed such programs in even more jeopardy than they were in the recent past. "I'm a strong believer in what Affirmative Action can do," Chace said. "Such programs have enhanced the quality and feel of Emory, and I want to see that sustained." The challenge for Emory and other universities, Chace said, will be determining how to sustain Affirmative Action in the context of court rulings that have rendered it a more "free and open" program. He said that such determinations will turn not only on future court decisions, but also the forthcoming presidential election.
Secretary of the University Gary Hauk reported that the once-controversial Hope Lodge project, planned by the American Cancer Society to be constructed adjacent to the University Apartments and Lullwater, has been redesigned and is again moving forward. Hauk said the new design is acceptable to the Senate's Committee on the Environment, which expressed opposition to the original design over concerns about encroaching on the natural environment of Lullwater. Hauk said the American Cancer Society is expected to sign a lease agreement soon, and that construction on the project should begin this semester.
Hauk also reported that the President's Senior Staff has approved a retiree benefits proposal endorsed by the Senate last spring, with one exception. Hauk said the Senior Staff did not support the extension of a guarantee of retiree benefits in perpetuity, meaning the University retains the right to modify the benefits plan. Hauk said the change gives the University the flexibility it needs to offer a strong benefits package over the long term.
Senate President Luke Johnson announced that Julie Johnson has been hired as the first staff secretary for the Senate. Johnson will serve as a resource person for both the full Senate and its standing committees. Johnson can be reached by telephone at 727-7879 or by e-mail at <email@example.com>.
The Senate elected two students to serve on the Executive Committee: Emory College student and Student Government Association President Jeremy Berry, and Candler School of Theology Student Kara Stalcup. Other Executive Committee members include the Senate president, president-elect, past president and secretary, as well as the president of the Employee Council.