January 29 , 2007
BY kim urquhart
Assistant Debate Coach James Roland views his job at Emory as anything but work.
“My work is an extension of what I see as my purpose in life, and I see many of the people that I work with as family,” said Roland, who has introduced thousands of students — many of them at-risk youth — to the power of words. “I’ve been at Emory seven years, but I could see myself being here 70.”
Roland is a member of Emory’s newly formed Work-Life Task Force, where he hopes to help others find a work-life balance. As part of the University’s strategic planning process, the task force is evaluating ways to enhance the work, health and well-being, and family life of Emory’s faculty, staff and students.
The Work-Life Task Force grew out of a recommendation from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Assistant Professor of Law Julie Seaman explained. Attracting and keeping talented women is a key focus of Seaman’s Recruitment, Tenure, Retention and Promotion Subcommittee.
“It has been said that the biological clock and the tenure clock coincide,” said Seaman, “with a disproportionate impact on women.” Extending the timeframe for earning tenure because of family responsibilities is one of the faculty issues her group is examining.
Subcommittees also are working in the areas of dependent care and flexible work options, with staff members such as Laura Papotto, Betsy Stephenson, Steve Sencer and Allison Dykes leading the charge. Health and wellness, work-life stressors and professional development are among the other issues that the task force is exploring.
Co-chaired by Rosemary Magee, vice president and secretary of the University, and Vice President of Human Resources Peter Barnes, the Work-Life Task Force has created an online forum at
www.admin.emory.edu/StrategicPlan/WorkLife where community members can voice their opinions.
“We are trying to create an environment where people see themselves as part of a greater whole,” Roland said. The task force is assessing existing strengths, identifying and addressing barriers, and mapping out Emory’s future as a destination workplace.
“We want to be the place that people say ‘If I could be anywhere, I want to be at Emory,’” Roland said.