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January 31 , 2005
Ray points Senate toward upcoming campaign
BY michael terrazas
To open the Jan. 25 University Senate meeting, held in the Jones Room of Woodruff Library, President Sharon Strocchia updated the Senate on progress of the Benefits Review Committee, which she chairs.
The committee is conducting an overall review of Emory's employee benefits package, and Strocchia said the first product of its efforts is the benefits-preference survey that should have found its way into every employee's mailbox last week. The survey, which runs through Feb. 4, is an attempt to gauge what employees need and want most in fringe benefits. Strocchia said the committee will have the survey results by the end of February and will publish a summary soon after.
She added that employee benefits can be divided into five broad categories: retirement, health care, paid time off, security and tuition. The committee's goal is developing recommendations that would optimize Emory's offerings across all those areas, making the University's benefits package competitive with the other top research universities in the country. It will present ideas for deliberation in the Senate later in the semester, with the hope of submitting recommendations to President Jim Wagner before summer.
Alice Miller, vice president for Human Resources (HR), gave a presentation summarizing actions taken in response to changes to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Last August HR announced that more than 800 employees would move from salaried positions paid monthly and exempt from overtime eligibility to hourly positions paid biweekly and eligible for overtime (nonexempt).
After an extensive review of affected positions that enlisted the help of an outside consultant, it was determined that 623 employees will make that switch, while 210 will remain exempt (see story, page 7). Seven new job titles were created to take into account variations in duties and responsibilities among the affected employees.
Next, Senior Vice President Johnnie Ray from Development and University Relations introduced himself to the Senate and discussed his vision as Emory moves toward a comprehensive fund-raising campaign, which he said will begin in September, last for a period of at least seven years and aspire to raise upwards of $1.5 billion. Ray, recruited last year from the University of Texas, said he would not have come to Emory if he did not see a chance for the University to advance into the highest echelons of U.S. research institutions.
"We're a long way from pulling this off," he said, "but the opportunity clearly exists."
Ray said he has three goals for his tenure: to be "very intentional in bring the public perception of Emory in line with reality"; to develop "the next generation of volunteer leaders" for the University; and to successfully conduct the comprehensive campaign. Key to the final goal, he said, will be to closely connect strategic planning to the campaign, so that Emory not only will raise a lot of money, but will put that money to good use.
"It is possible to raise a whole lot of money but not really feel the impact," Ray said. "I don't want that to happen here."
Mark McLeod, director of the Emory Counseling Center and chair of the Senate's committee on campus life, thanked members for suggestions they made last semester and distributed one product of those suggestions. McLeod passed out business cards, one side of which featured information about the Faculty Staff Assistance Program, and the other with contact numbers in case a faculty or staff member is concerned about a student's psychological health.
Strocchia introduced Leslie Campis, sexual assault prevention coordinator, as the new chair of the Senate's safety and security committee. Campis said she looked forward to working with the Senate, adding that many threats to student safety come from the students themselves, in the form of sexual assaults and drug and alcohol abuse.
To close the meeting, President Jim Wagner said 2005 will be "the year of the strategic plan" and said the planning process' next stage will involve discussion of a series of proposed signature themes for Emory.
The next University Senate meeting will be held Feb. 22 at 3:15 p.m. in the Jones Room .
If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail Strocchia at firstname.lastname@example.org.