Interim Provost Woody Hunter opened the Feb. 19 meeting of Faculty
Council by announcing the Board of Trustees had approved the Universitys
Educational and General Budget for fiscal year 2003 (see story).
[Budget deliberations] are an annual exercise in self-flagellation
coupled with fiscal discipline, Hunter quipped, adding that
the budget is tighter than wed like but still
accomplishes the Universitys goals.
Public healths Claire Sterk and philosophys David Carr
briefed the council on the Research at Emory Commission. Sterk (who
chairs the commission, with Carr as cochair) said the commission
completed its faculty hearings last semester, adding meetings at
Oxford and Grady Hospital to the original schedule. Sterk said the
group hopes to formulate some draft recommendations for review by
faculty later this spring and in the fall, with final recommendations
to come in spring 2003.
Gary Wihl, acting dean of the graduate school, addressed the council
about the year-old Quadrangle Fund, designed to encourage more involvement
of graduate students in research projects. Wihl said the grant program
is not limited to researchers in the Arts & Sciences, and he
welcomed applications from researchers in the professional schools.
Wihl also discussed the upcoming seminar, Philanthropy and
the Research University, to be held on campus April 1516.
The conference will explore the current and historical relationships
between modern research universities and philanthropic foundations.
Staying on the topic of upcoming conferences, Don Stein informed
the council of the 2002 Sam Nunn Policy Forum, to be held at Emory
April 57. The event is titled Commercialization and
the Academy, and Stein said it will explore such issues as
intellectual property rights, patents and copyrights, commercial
funding of academic research and other realities of modern academia.
This isnt a screed against commercialization,
Stein said. This is an attempt to provide a balanced perspective.
John Bugge, campus president of the American Association of University
Professors (AAUP), addressed the council regarding the current discussion
about possible changes to employee benefits programs. Bugge said
AAUP has set itself as a watchdog of salary and compensation
issues in academia, and while the organization has not done extensive
work with collateral benefits, it has done some.
Cutting benefits, Bugge said, would have a variety of undesirable
consequencesa negative impact on morale being one exampleand
he urged the council to ask the Board of Trustees to think seriously
before taking any action.
The discussion dovetailed into President Bill Chaces remarks,
which were scheduled to conclude the meeting. The council raised
a number of concerns with Chace, who was frank in his answers. No
decisions have been made about any benefits changes, he said, but
I dont think theres any doubt well have
to make some changes in how we finance this institution.
The council seemed to be primarily concerned with possible changes
to the courtesy scholarship program, and indeed several professors
said the scholarships are a large part either of what drew them
to Emory or what is keeping them at Emory, or both. One suggestion,
which Chace said was particularly valuable, was that since the need
for benefits changes is being driven largely by spiraling health
insurance costsan external factorany changes should
based only on external factors, not internal programs such as courtesy
Chace said the administrations financial projectionsassuming
the University makes no changes to benefits, that national economic
conditions remain constant, and figuring in operational costs for
new facilities due to come onlineshow that by 2004 the Universitys
discretionary budget will be just $248,000, leaving virtually no
room to implement new programs or grow existing ones.
If we do nothing, Chace said, it will mean the
almost total disappearance of any form of innovation on this campus.
Some professors said one opinion on campus is the University places
too high a priority on capital projects; Chace said, save for projects
already under construction, Emorys building program has been
brought to a virtual halt.
When asked if any benefits changes might be only temporary, Chace
said that anything in the future would be up for grabs.
He said a number of meetings have been scheduled between the administration
and various campus groups, and he is open to even more of them.
The next Faculty Council meeting will be held March 19 at 3:15
p.m. in 400 Administration.
If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail chair
Frank Vandall at email@example.com