January 26, 2004

Faculty Council discusses commission report

By Michael Terrazas

Chair John Snarey opened the Jan. 20 Faculty Council meeting in 400 Administration by announcing the Distinguished Faculty Lecture committee's nominee for its 2005 speaker. The candidate was approved unanimously by the full council, and the nomination will be forwarded to President Jim Wagner to formally invite the individual to speak.

This year's Distinguished Faculty Lecture will be delivered by Brooks Holifield, Candler Professor of American Church History, on March 25 at 4 p.m. in Winship Ballroom.

Mike Rogers from Oxford College announced he will chair an ad hoc committee that will examine academic leave policies and asked for volunteers to serve. The group's original charge was to review sabbatical policy, but Rogers said the committee--which also included Jim Morey and Cathy Caruth from English and Tom Frank from theology--decide to expand the scope to all forms of academic leave.

Wagner then delivered his remarks to the council, first providing updates on several ongoing projects:

work on Emory's strategic planning process is beginning in earnest. Wagner said Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, and Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs and director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, have been collaborating on the "plan for the plan," and the process should begin to take shape very soon.

the provost search has been narrowed to four finalists (see story, page 1). Wagner encouraged council members to attend public meetings with the candidates during their campus visits. "I want everybody to do two things: participate to be critical, and participate to be encouraging," Wagner said. "At this stage, they are interviewing us as much as we're interviewing them, so keep that in mind."

the search for a new senior vice president for Institutional Advancement is under way, but Wagner cautioned that search likely will have a "higher level of confidentiality" than the provost search. He said Emory is "looking for a proven person for this position, not a diamond in the rough."

To close the meeting, Claire Sterk, cochair of the Commission on Research, appeared with fellow commission members Howard Kushner and Kim Wallen to speak with the council about how to follow up on the recommendations of Research at Emory and keep its principles current in University discourse.

Some of the report's suggestions have been or are in the process of being addressed, Sterk said, and this is satisfying. For example, she said Human Resources has begun meetings with graduate faculty and administrators to discuss reclassification of research staff; and the Office of Research is looking at modifying its grant proposal submission processes.

"We don't want to see Research at Emory ending up as just another report on the shelf," Sterk said.

The council entered into a lengthy discussion of the report and certain specific recommendations, as well as larger philosophical principles. Wagner said the report was a valuable piece of self-examination and will figure prominently in the research component of the upcoming strategic plan.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 17, 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.