September 22, 2003

Wagner, Mandl greet Faculty Council


By Michael Terrazas


New chair John Snarey convened the year’s first Faculty Council meeting on Sept. 16 in 400 Administration by asking each of the members to introduce themselves and offer their major goal or concern of the year for the council.

After the get-to-know-you, Mike Mandl, Emory’s new executive vice president for finance and administration, gave a brief address in which he said his first 100 days (Mandl arrived July 1) would be devoted to listening to the Emory community as he casts his role as a partner to the University’s academic enterprise. Mandl said he hopes to use Faculty Council as a resource, possibly asking members to participate in various ad hoc projects through his office.

Responding to questions from council members, Mandl said he deliberately has declined to identify the major issues confronting his office during his initial 100 days. Once he has a better grasp of both the University’s fiscal situation and the community’s interests, Mandl said, he will determine what those issues are.

President Jim Wagner, also attending his first Faculty Council meeting, followed Mandl with an introductory address of his own. Wagner said his former employer, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, also had a faculty council, and his experiences with it were positive.

“I sense this is not a reactive body,” Wagner said. “This is a forum where people understand they can create their own trouble; they don’t have to wait for other trouble to come to them. And I look forward to helping you.”

Wagner repeated his hope to have a preliminary vision statement for the University out for community review and input in the immediate future. This “working vision,” as he called it, would be vetted among various Emory constituencies before it is finalized into a mission statement that could serve as the basis for a serious strategic-planning effort. He said a website will be established through which individuals can give feedback to the working vision throughout October.

Emory needs to present a set of “compelling excellences” to audiences both internal and external to the University, Wagner said, as it markets its vision in no small part to attract investment in that vision. Of the various revenue streams to any university—tuition, sponsored research, endowment income and fund raising—Emory has “room to do more” in the latter, he said.

Wagner also announced the creation of a search advisory committee to fill the provost position (see story).

After Wagner answered questions from council members, Snarey presented statements from the various standing committees and their rosters for approval.

Reporting for the communications committee, Sharon Strocchia said work continues on developing an interactive online discussion environment—akin to a cross between LearnLink and a Google-like search engine—where faculty can communicate across schools. Working with staff from the Information Technology Division and John Mills, University webmaster, Strocchia said the committee has identified the software FuseTalk as a powerful, sophisticated tool that could accommodate many uses and purposes for such a forum.

Before rolling the product out to the University, Strocchia said, the committee needs to develop an etiquette protocol for use of the site, and also to design an initial package to present (for example, what issues and forums should the site feature first?).

Reporting for the new Committee on the Future of the University, Bill Branch said the group is focusing on getting faculty representation on the Board of Trustees’ major committees, something to which BOT Chair Ben Johnson agreed in principle last year.

Following approval of committee rosters, Snarey adjourned the meeting. Faculty Council will meet next on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail Chair John Snarey at