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December 2, 2002

Faculty Council hears budget projections, plans

By Michael Terrazas

Chair William Branch opened the Nov. 19 Faculty Council meeting by introducing Richard Ward, professor emeritus of psychiatry, who Branch said will serve as acting representative for Emeritus College until the council can adopt a more formal method of electing emeriti representation.

Reporting on an initiative launched in October, Bruce Knauft and Jim Grimsley suggested holding in February 2003 a series of small, informal faculty lunches with select student leaders; the goal is to determine methods for preempting any possible ethnic/religious tensions related to the Middle East and/or Iraq. President Bill Chace had urged the council to investigate how faculty could facilitate such discussions.

Knauft and Grimsley suggested involving Campus Life in the lunches, which could be a prelude to larger events down the road. They stressed that the informal gatherings be focused on deciding how best to handle the situation at Emory, rather than political discussions geared more toward “solving” international crises.

Interim Provost Woody Hunter briefed the council on budget projections his office has prepared. With growth in endowment income projected to slow considerably through fiscal year 2007, Hunter said University budget officers have asked the Board of Trustees to consider shifting the current allocation of such income.

For several years, Emory has used a 4.75 percent spending rate for unrestricted endowment income, with 4 percent going to the education and general (E&G) budget and another 0.75 percent used to support capital projects. Hunter said the board is considering shifting the capital match allocation to 0.375 percent, which would maintain debt service on existing projects while devoting more money to the E&G budget.

This shift, while it would not solve the decline in short- to mid-term endowment income growth, would ameliorate the situation in terms of day-to-day University operations, Hunter said. It also would constitute a freeze on unfunded construction for at least three years. The board’s finance committee is scheduled to discuss this possibility at its Dec. 5 meeting, according to the provost’s office.

On a more positive note, Hunter noted that sponsored research funding continues to grow steadily, even outpacing the budget growth of some of the funding institutions (such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation) themselves.

Updating another project launched earlier in the semester, Sharon Strocchia reported on the council’s ad hoc committee on communication’s recommendation for improving the flow of information and discussion between the council and its constituents, as well as between Emory faculty as a whole.

The committee identified three possible solutions:

• better use of the Faculty Council website to provide more information about University governance as well as links to other governance groups.

• adapting University listservs for use in electronic communication and discussion of governance issues.

• creation of a LearnLink-type online discussion area, in which information could be disseminated and exchanged freely among faculty.

The council decided more study and discussion is needed before acting on the committee’s latter two recommendations, but the group voted to begin work immediately on revamping the council’s website.

In his remarks, Chace, who recently announced he will step down from the presidency, clarified that he will remain in office “until my successor is actually sitting in [the president’s] chair, reading e-mail.” He had initially said he hoped to step down at the end of the 2002–03 year, but Chace said he will stay as long as necessary.

William Casarella moved that the council pass a resolution of gratitude to Chace for his work as president. The council passed the motion unanimously.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Jan. 21, 2003, at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration Building.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail chair William Branch at