February 23, 2004

Fowler briefs council on ethics center

By Michael Terrazas

Chair John Snarey opened the Feb. 17 Faculty Council meeting in 400 Administration by reminding council members that the March meeting is the last opportunity to introduce new business for this academic year. The April meeting is devoted to year-ending committee reports.

First on the agenda was a presentation by Jim Fowler, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Theology and Human Development and director of the Center for Ethics, who briefed the council on the ethics center's various programs and history, passing out copies of its spring 2004 newsletter, "Ethics News & Views."

Fowler introduced the center's assistant director, John Banja, associate professor of clinical ethics, who urged council members to consider applying for the center's 2004 summer faculty seminar on "The Moral Self: Ethical, Psychological, Cultural and Theological Constructions." Banja, who has run the summer program the past four years, said faculty converge for an intensive, eight-session seminar that begins just after Commencement, exploring ethical questions in their disciplines and others.

Participants in the summer seminar receive a $400 stipend, and either breakfast or lunch is served at each of the eight half-day sessions. Interested faculty should contact Banja at 404-712-4804 or at jbanja@emory.edu .

Next, Senior Vice Provost Charlotte Johnson walked the council through the current model for the 2004-05 Educational & General Budget. Johnson passed out a summary of budget drivers across the Emory enterprise, from faculty and staff salary programs to financial aid and teaching support, to operational costs and research infrastructure investments.

The latest model (the budget will go before the Board of Trustees in April, Johnson said) shows Emory's budget growing by 6.89 percent to $470.5 million. Some income streams continue to struggle–endowment income is predicted to drop by nearly $2 million–but increases in revenue from tuition, indirect cost recovery and the Academic Enrichment Fund for health sciences offset the decline.

In his remarks, President Jim Wagner said the trustees responded favorably to the administration's outline of the upcoming strategic planning process, and certain pieces of the plan are about to be implemented. On the ongoing provost search, Wagner said he heard the four final candidates referred to as "an embarrassment of riches" by one Emory colleague. Wagner said he hoped to make an announcement about the provost position soon.

Wagner closed by addressing the practice of community. He said there are four components that must be pursued diligently (see column at left): commitment, communication, policies and procedures, and vigilance. He spoke favorably of grassroots faculty groups, such as one between the anthropology and psychology departments, that have converged to address the issue, and he said all four provost finalists supported the idea of charging some senior administrator, either in an existing or new position, with the task of actively advancing community on campus.

Closing the meeting was a motion by the business school's Rich Metters to reduce the number of Faculty Council meetings each semester from three to two, and allowing council members to participate via e-mail in council votes. A brief discussion revealed the council felt strongly that it should not reduce its meeting schedule, and Metters' motion was defeated. However the council did feel the second part of Metters' proposal deserved further consideration; presently, the council's bylaws state that only members present at meetings can vote. Absent members are allowed neither to vote via e-mail nor to appoint voting proxies. The issue will be reintroduced at the March meeting.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Tuesday, March 23, at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail Chair John Snarey at jsnarey@learnlink.emory.edu.