Issues in Progress

University Senate

At its Feb. 25 meeting, the Senate heard a preliminary report on a pilot study being conducted on participant satisfaction with the EmoryCare health insurance program.

Glen Maberly of the School of Public Health faculty is serving as chair of the EmoryCare Oversight Subcommittee-part of the Senate Fringe Benefits Committee-which is conducting the pilot study. Maberly said the results of the study will be used to determine whether a much larger, more comprehensive survey of EmoryCare participants is needed. The subcommittee's charge was to determine the primary concerns that EmoryCare participants have regarding the health plan.

Maberly said that preliminary results of the pilot study show overall satisfaction with the medical care provided under EmoryCare, but some concern over claims and billing was expressed.

Sid Stein, chair of the Fringe Benefits Committee, added that a recent survey of the PruCare health plan revealed similar results, with the only significant concern expressed over medical care being a delay in being able to schedule an initial gynecological examination. The vast majority of concerns expressed in the survey, Stein said, had to with administrative issues.

Maberly said the pilot study will be completed soon, at which time the subcommittee will be able to tell whether a more extensive survey should be undertaken. He said that while the pilot study has raised the level of knowledge about EmoryCare from the anecdotal to the qualitative, a major survey is needed to obtain quantitative data.

Donna Brogan of the public health faculty, who is assisting with the pilot study, said a major survey of EmoryCare participants could cost up to $20,000.

Senate President Luke Johnson asked the subcommittee to present a more finalized report at the April Senate meeting as part of the Fringe Benefits Committee's annual report.

In other business, the Senate approved a number of bylaws revisions, most of which clarify existing processes and practices. Among the changes was the addition of the Employee Council president to the Senate Executive Committee-marking the first time a general staff member has held a formally designated seat on the committee-and the addition of the chancellor, provost and vice provosts as ex officio Senate members.

In addition, Johnson opened nominations for president-elect and secretary for 1997-98. Johnson reported that the Executive Committee has nominated Virgil Brown of the School of Medicine as president-elect. Johnson said nominations for both posts will remain open until elections are held at the March 25 meeting.

-Dan Treadaway

Employee Council

Solicitation of employees during the University's annual United Way campaign was the primary topic of the Special Issues Committee meeting held during the Council's Feb. 19 meeting.

Council member Wayne Barnes reported that he had spoken with Bill Horne, business manager for Institutional Advancement and coordinator of Emory's United Way campaign. Barnes said that Horne told him the University does not require employees to return United Way pledge forms that are distributed to them regardless of whether the employee chooses to contribute. At the January Council meeting, Barnes expressed concern that employees in some divisions are being told that they must return United Way pledge forms even if they don't contribute to the campaign. Barnes said some employees have told them that they feel coerced by that requirement.

Special Issues Chair Erik Oliver recommended having Council members poll their constituencies to find out how United Way contributions are handled across campus. Oliver said that for areas where supervisors compel employees to return forms, perhaps the Council can ask the administrators overseeing those areas to put a stop to the practice.

In other business, Council members elected new officers for 1997-98. Ron Foust of the Information Technology Division was chosen president-elect and will serve as president in 1998-99. Barbara Mann of the General Libraries was chosen secretary-elect and will serve as secretary in 1998-99. Other officers include: Kathy Barbay, administrative services, treasurer; Patricia Chebat, Emory Hospital, historian; and Jay Harris, Facilities Management, parliamentarian. Terms for the new officers are April 1-March 31.

The Council also elected new University Senate representatives: Lee Ann Bausch of Emory Hospital and Marsha Hendricks of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Those terms begin in September.

Provost Billy Frye will address the March 18 Council meeting concerning the University's Strategic Plan.

President's Commission
on the Status of Minorities

A proposed inward refocusing of resources was discussed at the Commission's Feb. 24 meeting.

For 10 years, the Commission has spent the overwhelming majority of its budget-$4,000 of an annual budget of $4,500-on its Professional Development Fund, formerly called the Minority Conference Travel Fund. The fund supports minority faculty, staff and students who need financial support to travel to conferences in which they are participating. Last year, the Travel Fund Committee received $30,000 in requests. Earlier this year, the Commission voted to allow students to apply for funds along with faculty and staff, a move that's expected to put an even greater strain on the travel fund budget.

To address the situation, some Commission members are suggesting getting out of the travel fund business altogether and spending the Commission budget on workshops and conferences at Emory instead. Pat Marsteller, immediate past chair, filling in for Chair Bob Lee, requested that the question of whether the Commission should continue its Professional Development Fund be placed on the March agenda so the entire Commission can have time to consider the question and discuss it together.

Marsteller also proposed that the Commission sponsor a fall conference that would explore the issue of the added value that diversity among faculty and students brings to a university. She said that several campus organizations can be approached to secure matching funds for the two-day symposium, tentatively planned for late October. She asked Commission members to come to the March meeting prepared to discuss the conference proposal in greater detail.

In other business, Marsteller reported that the Commission's Executive Committee has proposed that the full Commission begin meeting bimonthly rather than monthly in an effort to increase the efficiency of the Commission's work as well as meeting attendance.

Sylvester Hopewell offered a compromise plan in which monthly meetings would continue, but every other meeting would be devoted to subcommittee work sessions rather than full Commission business meetings.

The Commission was not able to vote on the proposal due to the lack of a quorum, and the matter was tabled until the March meeting.

Bret Kadison of the Student Concerns Committee said that his group has proposed a majoring revamping of itself. The proposal calls for the committee to receive $1,000 annually to spend on "minority issues of student concern" and $500 annually to fund a student essay contest on a subject relating to diversity.

One immediate goal outlined in the students' proposal is working with the other two presidential commissions on women and lesbian/gay/bisexual concerns to suggest revisions to the Campus Life Acts of Intolerance Policy.

The proposal will be considered at the March meeting.

-Dan Treadaway

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