Emory Report
May 2, 2005
Volume 57, Number 29


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May 2, 2005
Faculty Council closes year with budget news

BY Michael Terrazas

Provost Earl Lewis and Senior Vice Provost Charlotte Johnson began the April 19 Faculty Council meeting, held in 400 Administration, with the year’s final budget presentation. With the realignment of the University’s budget cycle to coincide more closely with that of Emory Healthcare, the Board of Trustees will not officially approve Emory’s Unrestricted Operating Budget (UOB) until mid-May, but Lewis said he was confident the trustees would approve it.

Together, both the academic units and Emory Healthcare will spend some $2.45 billion in fiscal 2006, which begins Sept. 1 of this year. The academic side accounts for $1.08 billion, and of that some $575 million constitutes the UOB, a 5.9 percent increase from FY05.

Since this was the third time Faculty Council had gotten a preview of the budget, there were no big surprises. Endowment distribution, calculated on a three-year rolling average of market value, is projected to drop 4.88 percent in the pooled funds, but Johnson said this will be partly offset by contributions from the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Fund for a net decline of 2.3 percent. The FY06 budget includes a 3 percent merit salary program, along with additional salary funds to build up faculty lines in various key academic areas, Lewis said.

One new piece of information was the “strategic plan fund,” which the administration has been promoting on campus as a pool of money that will jump-start initiatives of the strategic plan until support begins to flow in from the upcoming comprehensive campaign. This fund, which Johnson said could reach some $20 million annually, will come from three sources: royalties from Emory patents in the marketplace; a restructuring of Emory’s “internal bank” that maximizes cash reserves; and a change in the endowment distribution, which previously reinvested a certain percentage of the distribution for a subset of funds.

On behalf of the council, Rich Metters of Goizueta Business School worked with Johnson to review the budget, and he said its sometimes complex accounting reflects a philosophy that protects individual schools from radical budget swings from year to year. The practice involves shifting University money from unit to unit, sometimes creating the illusion, Metters said, “that money is being hidden somewhere.”

“Long story short, that’s not the case,” he added. “I don’t think [the administration is] trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”

Next on the agenda was a proposal to change the Faculty Council bylaws so that its eight appointed members will be selected by the council’s executive committee in consultation with the University president and provost, rather than solely by the president. The change, which had been debated at the March meeting, was approved unanimously.

Closing the meeting were year-ending committee reports. Briefly, they were as follows:

University Research Committee: Currently in the midst of its spring grant cycle, the committee awarded some 21 applications a total of $564,711 in the fall. Chair David Pacini said the committee continues to urge more funding requests from the humanities.
University Teaching Fund (UTF): Chair Arri Eisen’s written report said the committee awarded $110,680 to 25 proposals from across the University. Though Eisen’s report predicted the end of the committee as Emory considers consolidating its teaching support activities, the council moved that UTF continue until a viable replacement is identified.
Faculty Life Course: Chair Nanette Wenger reported a very successful year, from working with the schools and Human Resources to change HR processes for new faculty hires, to the creation of a new-faculty orientation guide posted on the provost office website, to the extensive array of activities organized by Emeritus College.
Faculty Hearing: Chair Jim Hughes said no news was good news, as the committee received no requests for hearings during 2004–05.
Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Chair Mike Rogers reported that Dennis Liotta, professor of chemistry, has accepted an invitation to deliver the 2006 lecture.

In ad hoc committee reports, Chair Sharon Strocchia said the communications committee ended its activities in November, ceding its work to the ongoing EmoryLink initiative. And John Snarey recommended the Future of the University Committee continue its work, as no mechanisms have been established to replace the current faculty advisers to the Board of Trustees, who are completing the second year of their initial three-year terms.

Faculty Council will next meet in September.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail Chair Mike Rogers at rogers@learnlink.emory.edu.