Issues in Progress

University Senate

Representatives of the architectural firm conducting Emory's campus master planning process gave a progress report on their work at the March 25 Senate meeting.

In his presentation, Adam Gross of the Baltimore firm Ayers/Saint/Gross said the plan his team is devising should be the blueprint for the physical implementation of Choices & Responsibility, written by Provost Billy Frye in 1994. Gross said that Choices & Responsibility has the kind of language to serve as a basis for a physical campus plan. He said that since his team's meeting with the Senate in January, they have met with more than 1,100 people in more than 100 groups to obtain input for the planning process. Using that input and Choices & Responsibility, Gross and his team compiled seven guiding principles for the team's master planning process at Emory:

Observations that Gross made about the campus include a common architectural language; a compactness that should lend itself to a pedestrian orientation, disconnected open spaces and an urgent need to eliminate surface parking in the central campus.

Gross also pointed out some weaknesses in the Emory systems that have led to planning-related problems, including too much administrative autonomy for individual units, which Gross said has led to patchwork planning and a fragmented campus. Another problem is a lack of connection between administration and physical planning, which has led to policy and other types of problems.

Prior to the master planning presentation, Associate Dean of the Graduate School Joy Usher gave a presentation on the student information system project (SISP). Usher said the software included in the system will tie together four student-oriented functions: admissions, financial aid, the registrar's office and student accounts. The software, to be purchased from California-based PeopleSoft Inc., will address problems that have arisen over a number of years as a result of different departments developing their information technology systems at vastly different rates. That, in turn, has led to communication problems among the different technologies.

Usher said that to address these communication problems, Billy Frye formed the integrated student information system (ISIS) team three years ago, which is chaired by University Registrar Chuck Nicolayson. That team, which has recommended the purchase of the PeopleSoft software, continued to meet regularly to discuss issues such as what the SISP data needs to look like and whether it will meet the needs of all the units that will be using it.

The decision to purchase the software, Usher said, also represents a change in philosophy from simply repairing old technology to rethinking how business such as registering and billing students is done.

SISP is in the early stages of development at Emory, said Usher. Emory is one of 11 universities that has decided to purchase the PeopleSoft software and will help test it.

In addition to the student software, Emory also has bought Human Resources and general ledger software from PeopleSoft.

Testing of the software will begin this fall. The final product will be available to Emory by fall of 1998, when the software will begin to replace current systems.

In other business, elections for Senate officers for 1997-98 were held. Virgil Brown, a Candler Professor in the Department of Medicine, was chosen president-elect. David Pacini, associate professor of historical theology, was elected secretary. Current President-elect Bill Cody, associate professor of political science at Oxford College, will become president in September.

President Luke Johnson reminded Senate members that the April 15 meeting will be the final one of the academic year and will include annual reports from the Senate's nine committees. The meeting will begin at 3:15 in the Rita Anne Rollins Room, 8th floor, Rollins School of Public Health.

-Dan Treadaway

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