Campus News

March 18, 2011

Employee Town Hall explores ways to grow Emory's greatness

Transportation was among the issues discussed at the 2011 Town Hall.

The theme of the Employee Council Town Hall, "Emory would be GREAT if…" prompted President Jim Wagner to note, "You could argue that Emory is great in many ways. But being great has certain responsibilities. Emory being great doesn't absolve us from further responsibilities — just the opposite, it burdens us to be better."

The annual event was Tuesday, March 15, in Tull Auditorium.

Wagner, Provost Earl Lewis, Interim Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Wright Caughman and Executive Vice President for Finance Mike Mandl commented on issues and answered questions collected through the Employee Council website.

Human Resources Vice President Peter Barnes and Transportation Director Lisa Underwood participated from the audience.

Employee Council President Angie Duprey summarized the ideas and moderated the discussion

Among the issues:

• Fast-tracking the tobacco-free campus:

Barnes said plans are to brief the University Senate in April on recommendations of a 25-member steering committee working on this issue with the goal of the tobacco-free campus by the end of summer.

• Shuttles:

A new shuttle service contract will be signed "any day," Mandl said, with "a complete replacement over the next couple of years" of the buses.

Underwood said there will be an interim fleet of shuttles at first because there's a 12-month lead time on new vehicles. She also said there will be a "spot on the buses dedicated to getting information to passengers."

Underwood said while a number of adjustments had been made to relieve crowding, on bad weather days, "shuttle use tends to peak and you can't design a system for those situations."

• Parking rates:

A new rate for second-shift employees is coming. Mandl said the University "has tried to keep parking rates flat," revising the rate structure a few years ago at a level appropriate for an urban campus and making available low-cost options and free MARTA.

• Emory Healthcare's relationship to the University:

Caughman said, "It is a significant component of what this University does…The market for health care is changing but what makes us distinctive is we are an academic leader," citing its three parts: teaching, research and health care.

"We've made a lot of traction in the last five years, in terms of patient satisfaction and mortality rates. We've got a ways to go but we are dedicated to these high, aspirational goals," he explained.

• Opportunities for subcontractors' employees:

Mandl said Emory requires subcontractors to use a rate of pay identical to that of Emory employees. However, subcontractors are not required to have the same benefits package.

Wagner said, "We would have to evaluate specific benefits relative to other benefits they provide, and see if it makes sense."

"It's an important question, and we'll look into it," said Lewis.

• Professional development:

  Wagner said the University had made headway in preparing people for leadership and succession, noting that formerly an "unacceptably high number were hired from off our campus." He listed the leadership programs Emory has developed: Excellence Through Leadership, leadership development programs for administrative professionals, managers, academics, frontline supervisors and the Woodruff Leadership Academy.

• Mentor Emory:

"Mentor Emory is going on and is wildly popular," said Barnes. "There are more mentees than mentors so we are always looking for those. But we're going to continue it and grow it if we can."

• Staff participation in revenue generation:

"The five traditional ways of generating revenue at Emory are tuition, research, investments, fundraising and patient care reimbursement," Wagner explained. 

Lewis said the directive to grow revenue means to "think in innovative ways." As examples, he cited the law school's proposed one-year master's program and a proposal for a cyberlaw partnership with Georgia Tech, plus ideas for apps from Information Technology. "If you have any good ideas, we welcome them," he said, urging people to "advance them through your unit."

Caughman said the health care units were exploring partnerships with other institutions and international opportunities.

"Emory needs to do what universities do best — create and innovate, while staying true to our mission," Wagner said.

• Workplace flexibility:

Barnes encouraged employees to access the WorkLife Resource Center website. "It's been benchmarked as one of the best of its kind," he said, noting it provides information on flexible work schedules and more.

A webcast of the Town Hall will be available on the Employee Council website.

Duprey urged those with additional issues or question to send them to the council website, and these would be sent to the appropriate departments.

File Options

  • Print Icon Print