Campus News

March 7, 2011

Committee formed to study class and labor

Provost Earl Lewis and Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, have appointed a Committee on the Study of Class and Labor to explore, via a multi-phase process, the nature of status and the relationships between different categories of staff and faculty within Emory.

The committee will be co-chaired by Nadine Kaslow, past-president of the University Senate, who is a School of Medicine professor and chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital; and Gary Hauk, vice president and deputy to the president.

For this first phase, started last month, the 16-member committee of faculty, staff and students will gather information and generate a campus conversation revolving around several central issues:

•    What is the role of class at Emory?

•    What is the role of Emory as an employer in the non-academic labor market of Atlanta and the metropolitan region?

•    What do the available data show about promotion, advancement and self-improvement for the Emory non-academic labor force?

•    Are there structural impediments to career advancement that can be improved?

•    What is the role of subcontractors at the University, and what principles guide their use?

"Class is a cultural, political and financial construct that is also influenced by power positions and relative job status," says Lewis. "We are asking the committee to examine whether and how class and status play a significant role in influencing relationships among people in our university community."

Considering the complexity of these topics – including the hierarchies that are built into the very structure of an academic system that distinguishes faculty from staff, tenured from non-tenured faculty, scholarship from non-scholarship students, and so forth – it is likely that a full examination of class and status at Emory will take two to three years.

"Emory is recognized nationally as a great place to work," says Mandl, citing recent surveys by the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications. "But there are always opportunities for enhancement and we regularly undertake efforts to better understand them."

As part of its fact-gathering work, the committee will examine how Emory University, as one of the largest private employers in metro Atlanta, compares with others in the region, including the total picture of compensation and benefits for employees.

Members of the committee are:

•    Elizabeth Bounds, associate professor of Christian ethics in the Candler School of Theology;

•    Kenneth Carter, associate professor of psychology at Oxford College;

•    Sheri Davis-Faulkner, graduate student in American studies;

•    Angie Duprey, assistant athletic director;

•    Ozzie Harris, senior vice provost for community and diversity;

•    Wanda Hayes, director of learning services;

•    Theresa Milazzo, associate vice president of human resources;

•    Jackie Owen, manager of employee relations in Campus Services;

•    Jonathan Prude, associate professor of history;

•    Benjamin Reiss, professor of English;

•    Bridget Guernsey Riordan, dean of students;

•    Stephanie Spangler, a junior in Emory College of Arts and Sciences; and

•    David Trotman, a tradesworker in preventive maintenance in Campus Services.

Peter Barnes, vice president of human resources, will serve as an adviser.

In charging the committee, Lewis and Mandl asked that it report and make recommendations on the first phase of its findings before the end of fall semester 2011.

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