Emory Report

September 21, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 5

Chace overhauls University's decision-making groups

Citing a need for Emory's decision-making to be driven more "by the essential priorities of the institution," President Bill Chace has reorganized the structure of the senior administrative committees.

What before was the Program & Budget committee has been reorganized into the President's Cabinet and the Ways & Means Committee; the former will articulate the University's major plans and goals, and the latter will set about finding ways to make those plans happen.

"Too great a part of the action before was defined by what I call 'walk-on' or 'emergent' items, rather than being controlled by the essential priorities of the institution," Chace explained. "In other words, we were being driven more by what would happen in a given week or month than we were by what we wanted to do. I want to have this more a priori way of driving the meetings."

The President's Cabinet is made up of Chace, Provost Rebecca Chopp, Executive Vice President for Fiscal Affairs John Temple, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Johns, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Bill Fox and Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Frances Lucas-Tauchar. It will meet weekly with Chace as chair.

The Ways & Means Committee will include Chopp, Temple, Johns, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs Ronnie Jowers, Associate Vice President for Administration Edie Murphree and Senior Vice Provost for Administration Charlotte Johnson. University Secretary Gary Hauk will attend the meetings of both groups and serve as an "interlocutor," Chace said.

"There has to be an articulation going back and forth between the proposing agency and the disposing agency," Chace added. "Obviously, if [the President's Cabinet] proposes something, and there were no ways or means to do it, they'd have to say, 'Well, it's great that you've had this idea, but the cupboard is bare.'"

In outlining this reorganization, Chace undertook a task no one at Emory had ever done before, at least as far as anyone can recall: analyzing and illustrating exactly how major decisions at Emory are made. He's created a flowchart of senior administrators across the University to help define their relationships to each other.

The members of the cabinet and the Ways & Means Committee are part of a larger group, the Administrative Council, which also includes the deans, directors and other vice presidents. This body will meet twice each semester and once during the summer and "will serve most importantly as a forum for sharing information," Chace wrote in a letter to its members.

Finally, Chopp will chair the Council of Deans, which will meet bimonthly to deal with academic matters. "Over the summer the Council of Deans and I have worked to craft a list of academic priorities," Chopp said. "We are entering a new generation or stage of our organizational life together, by which I mean how we communicate with one another, how we make decisions, how we govern the organization and how we exist as a complex group of academic cultures. The restructuring allows us to meet in effective ways that are at the same time efficient."

Chace said the reorganization was not brought about by any particular incident or circumstance, and that its form is not modeled after that of any other particular institution. "This is not a corporation, and this is not the military," he said. "But I wanted a clearer sense of people's responsibilities and how things were to work together in a process."

-Michael Terrazas

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