Campus News

May 9, 2011

Governance groups, commissions wrap productive year, look ahead to next one

Faculty Council/University Senate

Erica Brownfield, who will lead both the University Senate and Faculty Council next year, describes a new platform and a range of continuing issues for each body.

"It seems timely to lead a platform on health and health care," says Brownfield.

She cites several aspects that would contribute to the platform:

• Updates on the joint operating company between Emory Healthcare and Saint Joseph's Hospital;

• Plans for a new health care facility;

• The tobacco-free policy; and

• Updates on a potential partnership between the School of Medicine and Khalifa University in the Middle East.

The University Senate is co-hosting with the Committee on the Study of Class and Labor an open forum Wednesday, May 11, to discuss the recent student arrests on campus. Open to both faculty and students, the forum will be at 1 p.m. in White Hall 208.

"In the wake of current events on campus and preparing for the new academic year, I look forward to hearing initial reports from the Committee on the Study of Class and Labor led by Dr. Nadine Kaslow," Brownfield says.

This campus-wide committee was formed earlier this year by Provost Earl Lewis to explore the nature of status and the relationships between different categories of staff and faculty within Emory.

Brownfield expects the Council and the Senate will invite a number of relevant University groups, including Sodexo representatives, to present on this issue. 

She indicates "…discussions will also focus on how best to encourage dissent and protest in a manner that does not violate community."

Brownfield continues: "As health is also a personal interest of everyone at Emory, I would like to lead efforts to further promote health and well-being among the members of our community."

Taking up Lewis' challenge and with the leadership of Wright Caughman, executive vice president of health affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, she plans to "explore and define the essence of an academic health center."

Other expectations are recommendations by the faculty advisory committee to the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration. This is a new committee formed to provide feedback and guidance to that office on potential policy changes and on priority focus areas that support faculty in their work.

The Faculty Council's ad hoc committee examining faculty grievance policies and procedures in the University's various schools is expected to report mid-fall about the policies it identified and any recommendations for change. William Buzbee is the committee chair.

Brownfield credits past president Steve Everett with "an outstanding job in bringing University concerns to the administration and tirelessly leading an effort to challenge faculty governance structures throughout Emory."

The work of the Faculty Council can be followed on the Council Concerns blog.  Editor Allison Adams says she expects the blog to continue next year. 

"We will be doing a May issue that will summarize the main stories from the 2010-11 academic year, and it will circulate to the entire faculty," Adams says.

Employee Council

The Employee Council celebrated a milestone this year.

"The Employee Council at its 40th anniversary is quite different than it was at inception," says outgoing president Angie Duprey.  "We have a robust human resources department and a multitude of resources at our fingertips.  Employee Council is a conduit to those resources and a sounding board."

"Hot Topics" was initiated this year "based on feedback we received from our members and staff constituents," Duprey says. 

The use of "Hot Topics" was immensely popular for the annual Town Hall the Employee Council sponsors and organizes every March with President Jim Wagner and other administration officials, and those from finance and health care.

She mentions the "many concerns" about childcare, work-life balance issues, parking and transportation. "We hope to continue the trend of soliciting feedback and ideas through our website, and will work on improving the action, response for these submissions," she says.

That feedback has resulted in a new parking status. The Transportation and Parking Office is creating a night parking pass, Duprey says, with a prorated price.

For the next year, the Council executive committee puts these issues high on the list for priority to work on:

• Parking and transit; and

• Tobacco-free initiative.

Incoming president Jessica Perlove notes interest in the bike paths, "so I may incorporate that with transportation under the sustainability initiative."

She also indicates she'd "like to start looking into on-campus childcare, as that was an issue raised at Town Hall," held March 15.

Both Perlove and Duprey say the Hardship Fund will continue to be a focus for Employee Council.  "Applications are up," Duprey says. "One thing we learned is that there is great need.  We are continuing to promote the giving component of that."

President's Commission on the Status of Women

The PCSW's accomplishments focused on four main themes: leadership, communication, inclusion and connection.

"Over 200 women participated across five 'Taking Charge' workshops, a series of professional development workshops open to all Emory women and led by senior women administrators," says outgoing chair, Amy Stalzer Sengupta.

As a result of one of those workshops, and ongoing interest by PCSW members on better ways to connect all women across the campus, "we created an open networking group on LinkedIn called ‘Women of Emory Network'," she says.

The commission plans to continue the Taking Charge workshops and additional networking initiatives into next year.

At the final meeting of the year, awards were presented for:

Student Writing:

• Betty Woodman, PhD candidate, Emory College

• Sarah Head, PhD candidate, Rollins School of Public Health

• Allison Meyer, undergraduate, Emory College

Relational Mentoring:

• Joy McDougall and Laura Donnelly, Candler School of Theology

• Kim Kitzler Gernert and William Steve Pittard, School of Medicine

PCSW conducted a review of the recently published Office of Community and Diversity "Diversity Profile Report."

"We analyzed the 10-year trends related to women in faculty, staff and student roles, and identified several recommendations for future focus which have been presented to President Wagner," Stalzer says. 

The PCSW also met with Wagner twice, along with the other commissions, to talk about the community at Emory.

Co-chairs for 2011-12 are Adair Heyl and Felicia Bianchi.

President's Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Queer Equality

Every year the Human Rights Campaign publishes the Human Rights Equality Index that rates health care facilities on the quality of care and access given to LGBTQ individuals.

Priyanka Sinha, incoming co-chair, says with a key area of focus for the commission this past year was on health care equity, "commission members and the Office of LGBT Life worked closely with Emory Healthcare to ensure that our rating improved from 1 out of 7 to 6 out of 7." 

Expanding basic insurance coverage for transgendered Emory students, faculty and staff will continue to be a priority. The commission will work to ensure "that all relevant units, from housing to human resources at Emory are able to support transgender individuals," Sinha says.

Also over the next year, the PCSGDQE will support a visibility campaign, highlighting Emory's non-discrimination policies, LGBTQ benefits and resources using the stories of LGBTQ individuals and allies.

This is in response, she says, to a needs assessment completed in March to which there were a significant number of homophobic responses.

Another issue will be vendor accountability. This includes tracking the merger of Saint Joseph's Hospital and contracts with other companies.

Sinha points to Emory's policies and procedures that protect basic human rights in cases of harassment, intimidation, and acts of omission.

The PCSGDQE will be asking these questions, she says:

• Do we hold our vendors to these codes of conduct?

• If not, what does that mean about our Emory community's commitment to access and equity, especially in terms of diversity and class difference?

• How can we ensure that all are protected by Emory's non-discrimination policies?

Kristin Dunkle is co-chairing with Sinha next year.

President's Commission on Race and Ethnicity

PCORE partnered with other commissions and groups on a variety of events and issues this year, using cross-collaboration as a way of sharing resources, reaching wider constituencies and education.

For example, the commission co-sponsored with the Office of LGBT Life, the President's Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Queer Equality and the President's Commission on the Status of Women the Eli Clare events held during Women's History Month.  

PCORE also worked with PCSGDQE on "Transgender 101: Exploring Sex and Gender," a panel session held in March on gender identity disorder.

"We have also been very much involved with the recent resolution by Emory University Board of Trustees expressing regret for its legacy of slavery," says James Scott, who with Sheryl Heron, co-chaired PCORE this year.

PCORE joined with the Race and Difference Initiative, the Office of Multicultural Programming and Services, Transforming Community Project, Equal Opportunity Programs plus the School of Medicine and Emory Healthcare on a variety of race and ethnicity issues, including discussions on violence toward women.

The commission plans to continue raising its visibility on campus and gather data on issues staff, faculty, students and others would like to see addressed.

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