Emory Report

January 25, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 17

Issues in progress:

President's Commission on the Status of Women

As he does annually, President Bill Chace visited the January meeting of the commission. Before his visit, members voted to adopt and sign a resolution on child care. The resolution stressed the urgency of the child care situation on campus, where the list of parents waiting for a spot at Clifton Child Care often numbers in the hundreds and the "9-5" nature of child care services leaves many hospital employees and graduate students with few options.

Chace opted to listen to subcommittee reports before addressing the commission. Faculty concerns committee co-chair Lynna Williams said the group had chosen to focus on a pilot mentoring program for 10 women faculty next year and passed out a draft proposal. "There's a surprising amount of research that supports the idea that structured mentoring is the way to go--not just informal collegiality," Williams said. The program's purpose is to provide young women faculty with the career guidance male faculty often receive informally.

Williams estimated that it would cost about $5,000 for the pilot program and said the committee would eventually like to see the program opened up to male and female junior faculty.

Chace told the commission that he's discussed the tenure clock issue--last year's focus for the faculty subcommittee--with Provost Rebecca Chopp, Vice Provost Harriet King and Emory College Dean Steven Sanderson. The topic is on the docket for the academic deans to discuss at an upcoming meeting, he said, and The Academic Exchange, a publication produced by the provost's office, will devote its first issue to the topic. What's more, the March 15 faculty town hall meeting will examine tenure, and Sanderson plans to place the issue before the Emory College faculty council for discussion.

Chace also reported that Chopp said it's generally thought the tenure clock stops or slows down for family requirements throughout the University. "But it's a de facto situation, not de jure policy," he said. Chopp is looking at about 15 other institutions to examine their policies, he added, but national figures show about 40 percent of the professorate is not on the tenure track. "Tenure is changing--both by conscious intention and by the facts on the ground," Chace noted.

Staff Concerns Committee Chair Kathy Reed reported that the data gathering for the "Invisible Barriers to Advancement" survey is complete. More than 500 women completed the study, Reed said, a statistically valid sample. The committee also obtained proportional representation in each of the five Human Resources categories represented in the study, she said. While Reed presented Chace with raw data at the meeting, she said the information needs to be analyzed and weighted before he receives a final report in May.

Overall, Reed said, there don't seem to be any troubling "red flags" that stand out from the data. For example, she said, sexual harassment doesn't appear to be a large issue, and participants generally report that managers are supportive of family issues and work. Thirty-three percent of the women surveyed said they'd been "asked to do something they felt a man wouldn't be asked to do," Reed said, while 40 percent said they'd been asked to work longer than their primary work hours. Subcommittee members want the results of the survey made public in Emory Report or in a public forum such as the commission's fall event, she added.

Leigh Tillman Partington told the president the student concerns committee had completed distribution of the student handbook for women freshmen, and they are looking for a partner-either the College Office or Campus Life--for upcoming editions. About 800 incoming students received the book and 400 copies remain. Tillman Partington announced that the second Faculty-Student Tea will be Feb. 10 from 3-5 p.m. in the Women's Center. Because fewer faculty than students showed up for the Nov. 11 tea, students will be asked to invite faculty (or vice versa) and register as a pair. Eventually the subcommittee would like to hold two teas each semester, Tillman Partington said.

DeLong presented Chace with the signed child care resolution and said, "Accept this as our total and complete support [for moving] the child care issue closer to the top of master plan priorities." Several members encouraged the president to think of the long-term gain such a policy would effect by strengthening productivity and recruiting and providing Emory with a reputation as a "family-friendly" community.

Chace said he'd take the issue up at the Jan. 25 meeting of his cabinet. "I'll move this as energetically as I can," he promised. Ali Crown asked that administrators remember that child care needs don't end for parents "at age 5," when children start school.

In other news, Janice Latoza announced that Student Health Services will now dispense birth control pills to students at a greatly reduced rate. She also reported Emory is one of four institutions chosen by the Female Health Foundation to pilot the distribution of female condoms. Health Services will distribute 1,000 free condoms, after which they will be sold eventually for about $1 or less, Latoza said.

The PCSW's next meeting will be held Feb. 4 in 400 Administration Building, beginning at 3:15 p.m.

--Stacey Jones

Return to Jan. 25, 1999, contents page