Emory Report
April 14, 2008
Volume 60, Number 27


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April 14, 2008
A culture of support: Report backs ways to enhance work-life experience

By katherine Hinson

Over the last two years, members of the Work-Life Initiative Task Force have met and discussed the work-life experience of faculty, staff and students, especially in light of the changing needs and expectations of today’s society.

The Task Force considered a wide range of practices, programs and processes that would address the concerns of an increasingly diverse faculty, staff and student population in a competitive global market.
“Given that the University is a special place unlike any other institution, a place where preparation for the future and immersion in the moment are interwoven, the Task Force envisioned an ethos of engaged reciprocity that encourages an active partnership and collaboration between the University and its individual members so that each feels a deeper commitment and sense of responsibility to the other,” said Rosemary Magee, vice president and secretary of the University, who co-chairs the Task Force with Peter Barnes, vice president of Human Resources.

An important result of this two-year initiative was the creation of the Work-Life Report, which was presented to President Jim Wagner last fall. The report sets out the following goals, each accompanied by separate recommendations:

Strengthen work-life culture
Strengthen a work-life culture for individuals and families of all shapes and sizes within a university environment of engaged reciprocity.

Broaden resources that support Emory community
Broaden access, options and programs for child and dependent care to support working families.

Develop work-Life policies and opportunities for staff
Develop and promote flexible, collaborative working environments that sustain personal growth, encourage professional development, and nurture community and family life.

Enhance work-Life policies for faculty and graduate students
Create a new, more flexible model for academic advancement that sustains personal growth, encourages professional excellence, and nurtures community and family life.

Promote a culture of joy
Promote a culture of joy where respect for traditions, immersion in the moment, and preparation for the future are inextricably interwoven.

Engage in a vigorous campaign of support
Enhance Emory’s academic culture and community life through courageous leadership, dialogue and innovation — truly making Emory a destination university for the 21st century.

In the months following submission of the report, Magee and Barnes met with the University Senate and the Administrative Council as well as the Faculty Council, which unanimously supported the recommendations with some additional refinements.

Several of the report’s recommendations have already been initiated, including the approval to create a Work-Life Resource Center. The University has begun a national search to hire a manager for this center, which will collaborate with Human Resources and the Office of the Provost to support and coordinate many of the recommendations contained in the report.

“The resource center’s first steps will be to work with the University leadership, commissions, and councils to establish the priorities and processes for further consideration and implementation of recommendations,” said Barnes.

To read more about the goals and recommendations of the Work-Life Initiative Task Force visit https://www.admin.emory.edu/StrategicPlan/WorkLife/.