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Research grants, campus life vision and diversity discussed at governance meetings

Faculty Council  

A project to streamline the administration and processing of research grants at Emory will launch pilot programs within select departments beginning in April, said Chief Business Practice Improvement Officer Bill Dracos at the March 19 Faculty Council meeting.  

Dracos discussed the Office of Business Practice Improvement's plans for implementation of the "Transform Research Administration Project," including the creation of a series of new Research Administration Service Centers. Located near the schools and groups they most closely serve, the centers are intended to provide high quality support to faculty and schools while yielding improved cost effectiveness and efficiencies. Eventually, there may be 10 to 12 service centers, he added.  

Pilot sites will begin operating this semester at the Rollins School of Public Health and select departments within the School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute and will run for about six months. A full campus rollout is set to begin this fall and will continue for 12 to 18 months, Dracos reported.  

Provost Claire Sterk also spoke about the next steps for the Committee on Class and Labor, which has completed a report examining the role of class and status within Emory's non-academic labor force.  

The second phase of the committee's work will focus on ways in which class — and its related distinctions of power and status — affect the life and work of faculty members, Sterk explained.  

In addition to considering whether class influences faculty work relationships, the committee will look at:  

  • The role of Emory as an employer in the academic labor market;

  • Recruitment, promotion, advancement, and professional development;

  • The role of non-tenure-track faculty.

  In other business, Lynn Zimmerman, senior vice provost for undergraduate and continuing education, discussed Emory's advancements in the area of online education and reported on the creation of a new Faculty Advisory Committee on Online Education.  

Earlier this month, Sterk had put out a call among faculty across campus to advise the provost on areas ranging from reviewing course proposals, licensing and intellectual property issues, compensation and course load, and other policy issues. In less than two weeks, she had received 76 applications — "a wonderful response," Zimmerman noted.  

A discussion of topics from around campus included information about budget issues and the sequestration impact at the Rollins School of Public Health and changes to Emory's Oxford campus, including a 30 percent increase in students over the past five years and recent campus renovations and improvements.  

Faculty Council Chair Gray Crouse reviewed the role of faculty counselors, who serve on the Faculty Counselors Committee for Emory's Board of Trustees. Erica Brownfield, past-chair of Faculty Council, will be helping select counselors for the 2013-2014 academic year and is open to nominations.  

President James W. Wagner concluded the meeting with an update of his activities following the public reaction to his essay in the 2013 Winter issue of Emory Magazine, which included listening sessions with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Emory, including several with ties to the civil rights movement.  

Wagner said that most groups he has met with share an eagerness to do something meaningful and move forward. He continues to consider ways to "harness this energy" with actions and advances that are penetrating and sustained.  

University Senate  

Kathryn Yount, Asa Griggs Candler Chair of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, was chosen to serve as the new president-elect at the March 26 meeting of the University Senate.  

Carol Moser, assistant to the director of human resources at Oxford College, was elected University Senate secretary.  

In other business, University Senate President Gray Crouse noted that a discussion about issues of diversity at last month's meeting offered a reminder of the need for ongoing attention to the topic. In response, Crouse introduced a new agenda item called, "Diversity and Community: What are we doing? What are we not doing?"  

A series of "train the trainer" workshops that will be developed through the Office of Community and Diversity this summer and the value of community engagement were discussed.  

Makeba Morgan Hill, assistant vice provost for planning and accreditation, and Ruth Leinfellner, assistant director of university strategic planning, both with the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness, led a Campus Life Visioning Process, asking input on issues such as:  

  • Who does Campus Life serve? How will that change in 10 years?

  • What is the core purpose of Campus Life? Why does it exist?

  • What will Campus Life look like in 10 years?

  • What words or phrases should be used in a mission statement?

In a discussion of topics from around campus, Student Government Association President Ashish Gandhi discussed major projects and initiatives, inclusivity and global citizenship at Emory. He noted that a proposed SGA bill that would have given Emory students the option of voting "no confidence" in President James W. Wagner failed in a vote of 6-14. "As one undergraduate put it, I think that as a student community we're ready to move forward," Gandhi said.  

Reports were presented from the Fringe Benefits Committee, the Library Policy Committee and the Honorary Degrees Committee.  

Provost Claire Sterk discussed ongoing work around the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaccreditation process. "Soon you will notice that we will go into higher acceleration," she said. "We need to have all our documentation ready by the end of the summer."  

Sterk noted that some of the areas SACS reviewers will be focusing on include assessment of student learning outcomes and intentions in campus and academic life. A plan for the implementation of Emory's chosen Quality Enhancement Plan topic, "primary evidence" — which is now being called "the nature of evidence" — must be ready to submit by the end of the summer, she said.  

Wagner closed the meeting with a discussion of "the aftermath of the Emory Magazine piece," noting numerous meetings and listening sessions he has held with "every category of constituency that's related to Emory."  

In those meetings, Wagner has sought:  

  • To listen to numerous viewpoints regarding his column.

  • To consider ways Emory falls short of its aspirations.

  • Ways to address issues of diversity and inclusion and move forward.

His next step will be to conduct another round of listening meetings, to consider the pool of suggestions that have emerged, and narrow the possibilities that will offer a sustained, meaningful approach.  

Wagner concluded by speaking with optimism about the successful completion of Campaign Emory and conversations around the future of liberal arts at Emory.  

Employee Council  

This month's annual Town Hall served as the March Employee Council meeting.  

Read about the Employee Town Hall in Emory Report: "Diversity, transportation and work life among Town Hall topics"

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