Issues in Progress

President's Commission

on the Status of Women

The issues of faculty maternity leave and tenure success for women continue to occupy the work of the Commission's Faculty Concerns Committee. At the Commission's April 3 meeting, Faculty Concerns Chair Victoria Phillips reported on a recent meeting with President Bill Chace in which those issues were discussed.

Phillips said that tenure for women faculty is inconsistent across the University, which provides the minimum maternity leave allowed by federal law. While individual departments have the latitude to grant more generous leave, they also must fund replacements to fill vacancies created by additional leave. Phillips said she would like to see faculty maternity leave become a Universitywide issue, with the creation of a central pool of money to help smaller departments who wish to grant more generous leave to their faculty.

On the topic of tenure, Phillips discussed with Chace the possibility of following a specific group of women faculty (all of those hired in 1989, for example) to track their progress through the tenure process. She said that problems with the process include the fact that men and women faculty are mentored differently and women faculty are expected to teach and take on more committee work than men. She also said that tenure reform will probably take at least two to three years.

The Staff Concerns Committee is moving ahead with its examination of pay equity within four University pay grades. George Engelhard of Educational Studies has agreed to analyze pay grade data supplied by Human Resources.

Commission members elected officers for 1997-98, including President-elect Joyce Jones of The Carter Center and Secretary Maureen St. Laurent of Oxford College. Current President-elect Joann McKenzie of Institutional Planning and Research will become chair in September.

-Dan Treadaway

Faculty Council

In its final meeting of the 1996-97 academic year, the Council voted to restructure the Committee on Faculty Relationships with the establishment of a Faculty Hearing Committee (FHC) that would be responsible for arranging and presiding at a hearing in advance of a dean's decision on termination or suspension. As reported previously, the FHC would make findings of fact to help inform the dean's decision on whether the employment of a faculty member should be terminated or suspended. While the FHC would make a recommendation, the dean would not be obligated to concur with it.

Consideration of the other committee recommended in the restructuring, a Faculty Mediation Committee, was deferred until the fall.

President Chace, in attendance at the meeting, said he would receive the Council's recommendation "very happily" and would create no impediment to its adoption as University policy.

Other committees made their final reports for the academic year. The Faculty Life Course Committee, said chair Nanette Wenger, will conduct a demographic characterization of the faculty, gathering and analyzing data such as age and gender. Preliminary questionnaires will be developed this summer, said Wenger, then brought back to the Council this fall for approval. Rick Letz, chair of The Carter Center Liaison Committee, reported that 15 faculty members were paired with Carter Center programs this year to lend their expertise and learn more about Carter Center initiatives. Letz proposed and the Council approved extending the liaison term to two years, so that faculty will have more time to determine the type of initiatives needed and expend an appropriate amount of time developing them.

Council President-elect William Cody submitted recommendations for the 1998 Distinguished Faculty Lecture, and members voted on the recommendations.

Dean Danner, chair of the University Research Committee, reported that guidelines for grant proposals to the committee are being modified to aid both grant applicants and reviewers. For the 1997-98 academic year, a total of $1,555,075 was requested of which $555,370 was awarded, he said. Since the program began in 1983, the University has committed a total of $3,353,536 to the program, generating outside funding of $37,981,259, a "ten-fold return on investment," said Danner.

Reporting on the first year of operation of the University Teaching Fund Committee, V.S. Sunderam said that of the provost's initial allocation of $250,000 for grants to support teaching improvement and innovation, 37 grants totaling $235,936 were awarded from 91 proposals with requests totaling $990,341. The committee recommended and the Council approved requesting that the funds available for the program be increased by 10 percent to help provide adequate administrative support for the program.

Outgoing Council chair Luke Johnson paid tribute to the contributions of Provost Bill E. Frye, "for his profound commitment to process and for trying to engender an effective faculty self-governance for the University."

­Elaine Justice

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