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February 28, 2005
University Senate gets master plan preview
BY Michael Terrazas
University Senate President Sharon Strocchia opened the body's Feb. 22 meeting, held in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library, by calling for officer nominations for 2005-06. Strocchia said the Senate's bylaws call for elections to be held before the end of March.
Next, Strocchia gave an update on the work of the Benefits Review Committee, which she chairs. The group is reviewing Emory's employee benefits package with the goal of submitting recommendations for changes to President Jim Wagner by the end of the semester. Strocchia said some 2,796 people responded to last month's benefits preference survey, marking a 33 percent response rate and giving the committee a valid data set as it continues its work.
Jen Fabrick, director of campus planning, previewed the updated campus master plan, which originally was to be released last fall but was held in order to synthesize it with other ongoing efforts like the strategic plan and the Clifton Corridor transportation management plan.
Fabrick said the plan follows the guiding principles formulated for the 1998 master plan, with the addition of another principle stressing environmental stewardship. To that end, she showed the Senate the land classification map that groups every square foot of Emory real estate into one of five categories: restricted, preserved, conserved, managed and "developable."
Emory has big plans for the last category, which Fabrick demonstrated with a tour through the various precinct studies that form the meat of the master plan. From the roundabout and new greenspace planned for Emory Village, to the new School of Medicine home next to WHSCAB, to a new shuttle road passing underneath Clifton Road along the CSX rail line, to an extensive reconstruction of campus residence halls, and many other possible building sites, Fabrick took the Senate on a dizzying tour through what the physical future could hold. (Toward the end of the presentation, Wagner quipped, "This is the two-year plan, right?"; Fabrick responded, "Hey, if you've got the money.")
After Fabrick's presentation, Tim Bryson and Nancy Bayly, chairs of the Senate committees on the environment and campus development, respectively, offered their perspectives on the master plan. Both praised Facilities Management for the increased communication that now characterizes project development. Bryson said he hoped adequate attention will be paid to protecting Emory's forested areas. Bayly said she'd hoped the plan would address future uses for the Briarcliff Campus (Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, said he will ask an appointed committee to study this issue).
Both Bayly and Bryson said they're paying close attention to the transit study. Fabrick said data show the daily population of the Clifton Corridor will grow by some 7,000 people by 2009. "If every one of those people drives his or her own car, that could be a problem," she said.
Public health's Richard Levinson, chair of the honorary degree committee, presented a confidential list of proposed degree recipients for 2006. Levinson said his committee only considers individuals who've been nominated by the community, and he urged the Senate to solicit nominations, particularly of women candidates.
To close the meeting, Wagner said he expects to have results back from last fall's Campus Climate Survey "within a couple weeks." He also pledged to heed student requests to make mental health awareness a more prominent issue on campus, and he said at its most recent meeting the Board of Trustees focused on the strategic plan. Wagner said the plan is at a "blossoming point," and he urged Senate members to take part in campus discussions surrounding the overall plan and the proposed signature themes.
The next Senate meeting will be Tuesday, March 29, at 3:15 p.m. in the Jones Room.
If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail Strocchia at email@example.com.