October 6, 2003

Senate's goal for '03-'04: shared governance

By Michael Terrazas

President John Snarey convened the year’s first University Senate meeting Sept. 23 in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room by welcoming the new senators and inviting them to join one of the body’s standing committees.

Snarey then used a PowerPoint presentation to introduce his theme for the 2003–04 year: “Strengthening Shared Governance.” Citing the Association of American University Professors, he said shared governance is a “necessary condition” of academic freedom, and that his two concrete goals were to obtain greater transparency and consultation from the administration on decision-making, and working to build effective partnerships with the Board of Trustees.

After approval of minutes from the final meeting of 2002–03, University Secretary Gary Hauk reported on Senate recommendations from last year. The Senate’s drug-testing recommendation was declined by former President Bill Chace, and suggested revisions to the Senate bylaws were approved by the BOT. Trustees chair Ben Johnson is discussing ways to appoint faculty to nonvoting positions on the board’s major committees, Hauk said.

Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, introduced himself to the Senate. As he’s begun his job at Emory over the past three months, Mandl said one theme that has emerged from his conversations is the need to recognize the primacy of Emory’s academic enterprise. He added that one goal is to make more transparent the University’s financial reporting processes, saying this would both ease decision-making and enable groups to look at Emory’s entire budget rather than only sections.

President Jim Wagner made his first appearance before the Senate, urging the body to grab opportunities for leadership. He encouraged the group to pick a small number of issues, perhaps only one or two, to push throughout the year. Wagner added that, in his short time as Emory president, he has been surprised by a culture that is somewhat lacking in communication; one reason for this, he suggested, could be an overattention to structure, and Wagner said he would like Emory “to be unstructured in communication but very structured in action.”

Wagner also said the recently formed search advisory committee for the provost position was due to meet for the first time on Oct. 2, and he urged senators to read and comment on the proposed vision statement that is linked from the internal home page (www.admin.emory.edu/Vision/).

The Senate then heard reports from its standing committees about their plans for the upcoming year:

Campus Development: Nancy Bayly said the group will focus on helping to enhance Emory Village, forming a sculpture/public art subcommittee, recruiting student members and helping update the Campus Master Plan.

Fringe Benefits:
Sid Stein said the committee is working with Human Resources to offer supplementary disability insurance and also plans to revisit 2002’s reductions of fringe benefits for employees.

Library Policy:
Steve Strange congratulated Linda Matthews on being appointed vice provost and director of University Libraries, and said the committee will examine issues of library budgeting, storage, network access and security, circulation, and alternate uses for Woodruff Library’s first floor now that periodicals have been moved to Candler Library’s Matheson Reading Room.

Parking and Transportation: Lynn Magee said the group hopes to place route schedules next to shuttle stops on campus, review its membership guidelines and develop a mission statement.

Athletic Policy: Ruth Pagell said this committee will investigate starting a “library athletic program” to help Emory student-athletes when they must travel to events, and it will continue to examine issues of financial aid and gender equity.

Tim Bryson said the committee hopes to formalize its new relationship with Facilities Management in light of the appointment of John Wegner as Emory’s first campus environmental officer, as well as help prepare a University energy policy and implementation strategy.

Campus Life: Mark McLeod said the group will continue to focus on mental health needs of Emory students.

Senate President-elect Sharon Strocchia now chairs the ad hoc committee charged with examining Emory’s drug-testing policy, and she said Wagner has been open to continuing last year’s discussion about this policy. Strocchia said the committee hopes to have a recommendation to bring before the Senate in the October meeting.

After approval of 2003–04 committee rosters, Snarey adjourned the meeting. The University Senate will next meet at 3:15 p.m. on Oct. 28 in the Jones Room.

If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail President John Snarey at jsnarey@emory.edu.