Emory Report
November 29, 2004
Volume 57, Number 13


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November 29, 2004
Employee Council planning second town hall for spring

BY Eric Rangus

The Employee Council’s recent town hall with President Jim Wagner was such a success that another is being planned for next semester, it was announced at the council’s most recent meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the Rollins Room in the Rollins School of Public Health.

Speaking for the council’s communications committee, Past-President Don Newsome said Wagner found the Nov. 9 presidential town hall—the 13th edition of the annual event—so positive that he suggested a repeat in spring 2005. Newsome said planning already has begun and that other senior administrators may be invited as guest speakers. The period just before spring break is being considered.

In other council business, Terri Campen of the special issues committee said council members observed staff orientation sessions earlier this month and are preparing feedback with the goal of improving the sessions.

Membership chair Jennifer Vazquez distributed nomination forms for 2005–06 officer elections, which will take place in April 2005. Council members can nominate others or themselves, she said.

Historian Woody Woodworth said that while researching the council’s history in Special Collections, he found many sources describing student and faculty experiences at Emory over the years, but few from staff. “I’m not finding people’s stories,” he said. “Who was cooking the food? Who was opening the doors at 7 a.m.? What were their lives like?”

To fill this void, Woodworth said he wants to create a written history of the lives of Emory employees and would like to begin asking them about their work experiences.

Woodworth also announced a one-time session for staff to discuss strategic planning from an employee perspective. Several council members signed up to attend. The event would run from 30 minutes to two hours and would focus on “setting the agenda for Emory staff” regarding what, if anything, they would like to change on campus. Woodworth said the session would take place during the week of Nov. 29.

Guest speakers included Kimberly Campbell from the Office of the Secretary, who discussed the role of the Board of Trustees; Chris Grey, chair of the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity, who discussed the upcoming Campus Climate Survey that will be distributed to all employees the week of Nov. 29; and Johnnie Ray, senior vice president for Development and University Relations, who gave not only an overview of the upcoming comprehensive campaign, but also offered several observations on the state of Emory today, where it could be going tomorrow and what he feels is its role in society.

“When I look at this place,” Ray said, “I see a place that has become indispensable. If Emory University suddenly disappeared, imagine how compromised the quality of life would be—not just in Atlanta but nationally, I would argue.

“Emory is a very fine, highly regarded private institution,” he continued. “But it has a very important public-service role. Service ought to be at the very foundation of the way we teach and do research. Our commitment to service supporting society is imperative. It is not a choice.”

The next Employee Council meeting will be held Dec. 15 at noon in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library.

If you have a question or comment for Employee Council, send e-mail to President Susie Lackey at slackey@rmy.emory.edu.