Emory Report

September 27, 1999

 Volume 52, No. 6

Issues in Progress

Faculty Council

Chair John Boli called the first meeting of Faculty Council to order Sept. 21 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration Building. After introductions around the room to get new members acquainted, Boli listed several of his objectives for the year, many of which coincided with those he discussed at the University Senate meeting two weeks previous.

Boli said he would like to see the faculty mediation proposal, which had "gone astray" last year, get back on track. He would also like to improve communication between the council and high-level bodies such as the Presidential Advisory Committee and the Deans' Council. Boli said, for lack of a better term, he will call the year-long process of reevaluating the faculty's role at the University "Faculty at Emory."

Harriet King reported on the status of certain resolutions passed by the council. Its proposal on consensual sexual relationships was signed into policy by President Bill Chace in August, she said. She also said the deans were working on their own language addressing the question of adjusting the tenure clock to allow for family leave time, and they expect to have something to present to Faculty Council in six to eight weeks.

Provost Rebecca Chopp said the discussion process that produced the consensual relationships policy should be a model for effective work by Faculty Council. She also said the council and her office are the two entities on campus responsible for "monitoring, identifying and supporting issues related to faculty life." She updated the council on searches about to get under way for deans of the theology and graduate schools, along with the search for a vice provost for international affairs when Marion Creekmore retires at the end of this academic year.

Chopp said the provost's office looks for programs related to faculty support; she cited the mentoring program, "Passages," launched this year by the President's Commission on the Status of Women. She also discussed specific initiatives such as Emory West, plans for which are "moving along nicely," she said.

Chopp's remarks prompted some discussion of faculty input in governance, and some council members said that crucial to the work of Faculty Council is the feeling that such work is respected. Gay Robins said, "There's a widespread feeling that nobody listens to faculty opinions."

President Bill Chace said he "didn't know what else to say" to drive home his point that he welcomes faculty input. "Ultimately Emory's strength depends to a large degree on whether more people become engaged with the life of the institution," he said. "Something has to be at stake for the faculty; they have to feel they have a dog in this fight."

Boli went over committee rosters. He reported that two ad hoc committees, one on disability and learning and another on consensual relationships, felt like they had met their charge and were now "lying dormant." Boli proposed combining and making permanent two other ad hoc commitees, one on junior faculty and another on faculty life course. A motion was made and passed to combine the two and make them a standing committee.

At Boli's invitation, Scott Lilienfeld, assistant professor in psychology, addressed the council on student course evaluations, their validity and how they may be better used in determining teaching performance. After his presentation, Lilienfeld answered a number of questions such as whether there was any research on qualitative course evaluations, if all research was based on undergraduate courses, the possibility of multiple evaluations over the course of a semester and others. Boli said the topic would be brought up again at subsequent meetings in hopes of prompting some kind of action.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be Oct. 19.

--Michael Terrazas

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