Emory Report

January 26, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 18

Issues in Progress

President's Commission
on the Status of Women

Chair JoAnn McKenzie spent the few minutes before President Bill Chace's arrival at the Jan. 15 meeting discussing old business. She reported an encouraging response to the PCSW brochure, information from which she is entering into a database.

The bylaws committee reviewed and made changes to Article I at its last meeting, McKenzie reported. Near the end of January, further revisions will be distributed to commission members for feedback at an upcoming meeting.

After Chace's arrival, McKenzie gave him an overview of the commission's projects and accomplishments last semester and turned the meeting over to committee chair reports.

Faculty concerns committee chair Mary DeLong told the president her committee's primary objective for the year is outlining a recommendation on "what we are going to call family obligation and leave policy." The committee hopes to have a working paper to Chace by May that incorporates the present policy and the committee's suggestions, which include one semester's paid leave for full-time faculty and unpaid leave for up to one year following childbirth or adoption; tenure clock and appointment extensions to meet family needs; and the option to temporarily reduce job responsibilities after the birth or serious illness of family members.

Chace responded favorably to the proposals and said at first glance they probably can be implemented after discussion with Interim Provost Rebecca Chopp and the presidental advisory committee. Faculty committee members agreed to work with the staff committee to create a comprehensive proposal.

Also studying equity in the tenure process, the committee has considerd requesting funding for an outside firm. Chace responded that tenure equity is a much more difficult issue to quantify, principally because "pre-tenure attribution is a mystery ingredient."

"Is it procedurally possible to get at this?" Chace wondered aloud, saying there are good outside firms and bad ones to conduct a study. "The firm must understand the subleties of an academic culture and the Emory community," he said. But, he acknowledged, "the best thing to begin with is the facts."

Deb Floyd, chair of the staff concerns committee, said her committee has decided to conduct a facilitative retreat to make clear what needs to be done to implement a study and find out if a glass ceiling exists at Emory.

Student concerns chair Karen Brown-Wheeler said the women's resource handbook is about two-thirds complete and the publication date has been pushed back to the spring or, at the latest, fall. She sought Chace's feedback on faculty-student interaction. Students continually ask him about this, the president said, noting that faculty rarely do. He also touched on what he termed "negative aspects of faculty-student interaction" such as sexual harassment and said guidelines will be issued regarding the kinds of interaction faculty have with students on an intimate or sexual basis if they are also in positions of power over students. "It's a national problem, and it has manifested itself here," Chace said.

Asked about the status of a new child care center for Emory employees and students, Chace said administrators have explored two sites for a center. The first is off Old Briarcliff Road where a proposed parking structure might include a child care center. Neighborhood opposition, DeKalb County ordinances and the isolated setting are problematic, Chace said, but a center could be built there quickly.

The second site at University Apartments would require long-term planning and a lot of capital, said Chace. "The dilemma is to build at the less attractive site or wait," he said. A commission member suggested the possibility of leasing space until a permanent site could be built, and Chace agreed to take that option back to the master planning committee.

After Chace's departure, commission members decided upon guidelines for the upcoming writing awards and appointing nominating committee members: Joyce Jones, chair; Mandy Gordon, co-chair; and Maureen St. Laurent, Sharon Potter and Mary Ellen McClellan as members. At-large members will also be appointed from the University community.

-Stacey Jones

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