May 3, 2004

PCSM ends year with staff survey discussion    

By Stephanie Stinn

Members of the President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) held their last meeting of the academic year on Tuesday, April 27, which included a discussion with President Jim Wagner.

Wagner was on hand to discuss the group’s proposed staff diversity climate survey; he gave a brief update on the progress of the review of the discriminatory harassment policy and procedures, and urged the commission to place Hispanic/Latino representation on its agenda for the coming year. The diversity climate survey originally proposed by the commission was to be a web-based questionnaire administered in March. The President’s Cabinet recommended that PCSM work with Human Resources (HR) to take on and retool the survey before its campuswide release. Wagner presented the group with a proposed survey draft, which was created by HR representatives and an outside consultant.

He suggested the group include students, faculty and staff in its survey, but PCSM members said they would like the survey to continue its focus on staff. HR representative Pat Douglass said a staff survey would be a big step for the University since a comprehensive, all-staff survey had never been conducted at Emory and this could lay the foundation for future surveys.

Wagner suggested the group meet for a summer retreat to re-examine the charge and mission of the PCSM in general, and in particular to discuss the survey with members of the general counsel’s office and HR. Chair-elect John Hammond said he would submit a proposal to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs for retreat funding.
“We are encouraged that you, the general counsel and Human Resources are taking this very seriously,” Hammond said to Wagner.

In other business, Chris Grey presented a proposal for next year’s professional development fund, which awards grants to minority faculty and staff attending conferences and workshops. He suggested offering the awards in the fall instead of spring semester and to do away with hard-copy mailings. Grey proposed using electronic mailings and the group’s website as a way to distribute grant applications. Grey said he will ask for a budget increase to $7,000, and ideally he said he would like the fund to have $10,000 to distribute.

Members also discussed the commission’s membership nominations. Brenda Nix said
it needs seven new faculty members, three new staff members and 10 new student members. The commission will continue to discuss nominations with current members via e-mail.

The PCSM will meet again in September.

If you have a question or concern for PCSM, e-mail John Hammond at