Campus News

November 30, 2011

Governance groups wrap up first half of year

The Employee Council, University Senate and Faculty Council have concluded their meetings for fall semester 2011. Work on ongoing issues continues.

Employee Council

The Employee Council's November meeting was held at Oxford College, highlighted by a tour and a "romp through" the history of Emory's original campus, as told by Dean of Campus Life Joe Moon.

Urging members to "volunteer for and/or donate to the Hardship Fund," Lisa Parker, who heads the Council's Hardship Fund Committee, reported that the fund – set up to assist faculty and staff who are experiencing financial hardship due to a catastrophic event --was "doing fantastic" with contributions up to $2,800 per month. The goal is to reach $5,000 per month in payroll deductions, she said. Parker also said that videos would be coming soon of recipients telling their stories.

Rachelle Lehner spoke on behalf of the President's Commission on the Status of Women about Mentor Emory, which pairs employees seeking career advice, guidance and development with more experienced staff members. "We encourage people to apply to be mentors and mentees for Mentor Emory. This year you will be able to request a specific gender for your mentor."

The PCSW is seeking nominations for awards by Dec. 8. Honors will be given in three different categories: gender diversity in academics, such as a school or unit; student writing awards for graduate and undergraduate students; and for relational mentoring.

Council representatives were asked to post fliers within their department seeking participants in a focus group with the Committee on Class and Labor set for Thursday, Dec. 15 in the School of Medicine building.

Topics to be explored include ideal employment if you were leaving Emory; work frustrations; Emory's responsibility to its employees; the best medium to communicate to employees; and how to report worker mistreatment.

Faculty Council

Committee on Class and Labor co-chair Nadine Kaslow presented an overview of the committee's work so far at the Faculty Council's Nov. 15 meeting.

Kaslow explained there will be "multiple versions of this committee," noting that academic labor will be examined in a later phase. She then outlined the five main points of the committee's charge in its current phase:

1) Examine whether class and the status it affords is a significant factor that influences relationships at Emory;

2) Know the basics of the non-academic labor force and the related labor market;

3) Gather data on promotion, advancement and self-improvement in the non-academic labor force;

4) Identify structural impediments to employment and career advancement for the non-academic labor force;

5) Understand the role of contracting on campus.

Following Kaslow's presentation, Council members divided into smaller groups for a "focus group" discussion with committee members as part of its data gathering.

Also at the meeting, Provost Earl Lewis elaborated on an external review process of the University Libraries during this academic year. The Woodruff and the Health Sciences libraries are the focus of this periodic review, which will include an internal self-study; a visit from a team of external reviewers; and an opportunity to submit confidential letters to be read only by the provost and by President Jim Wagner.

Related: Follow Faculty Council issues on the Council Concerns blog and newsletter

University Senate

How Emory can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy savings was among the agenda topics for the November meeting of the University Senate. The Senate approved carbon reduction goals for the University, following a presentation by Director of Sustainability Initiatives Ciannat Howett. The Climate Action Plan recommendations will go before the President's Cabinet on Dec. 6.

Bill Shafer, a professor in the School of Medicine, provided a summary of concerns from the faculty in the medical school and the Rollins School of Public Health. These concerns include:

• Infrastructure related to research support and management;

• Funding for teaching;

• The need for a 5-10 year strategic plan to support teaching;

• Transparency of decision-making processes;

• How decisions by one school can have university-wide ramifications;

• Clarity of maternity leave policies among the various schools;

• Budget development and how indirect costs are distributed;

• How the current state of outside funding will impact faculty development and tenure.

Senate member Susan Bauer-Wu provided a summary of concerns from her School of Nursing constituents. Among them: The need for faster processing of new Emory Cards, more timely payments for consultants who perform research studies, and for the Emory Barnes & Noble bookstore to carry more merchandise with the School of Nursing name and logo.

She also expressed concerns from School of Nursing faculty, staff and students about the inconvenience of parking registration for commute options.

She told the group that some faculty have requested to have opportunities for "after work conversation" with colleagues from across campus that wouldn't be event-driven or a special time of the year, "but rather more informal connecting as a community."

According to Senate President Erica Brownfield, among the issues expected to be explored next semester are:

• An overview and discussion of ways to create more effective governance structures across Emory's campus;

• Dialogues in both the Senate and Faculty Council around the future of academic health centers; and

• A follow-up with the Faculty Grievance Committee, who is examining the various faculty grievance policies and procedures in place in each school.

The Senate is continuing to help the Committee on Class and Labor coordinate focus groups through January.

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