UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE GROUPS >>

Year-end reports, faculty dining room closure highlight governance meetings

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | April 25, 2014

University Senate

New officers were installed and year-end committee reports presented at the final meeting of the 2013-2014 University Senate on April 22.

Reports from committee chairs were a focus of the meeting, which included the following highlights:

  • Athletics and Recreation — Work continues to integrate Play Emory into the Healthy Emory framework and to employ it in community building. This fall, Play Emory will roll out to the entire campus community, including faculty, staff, and graduate and post-graduate students.
  • Campus Development — In reviewing new buildings, public art and campus lighting, the committee addressed 19 projects and continues development of a formal outside lighting policy.
  • Campus Life — “Flourish Emory,” a program that aims to expand the notion of student success, going beyond academic success to include culture, happiness, wellness and satisfaction, piloted a lecture series and Happiness Boot Camp.
  • Environment — The committee reviewed 22 building proposals; seven were approved, including the new Oxford science building. A review of the Lullwater management plan has begun, but needs financial backing.
  • Library Policy — Organizational and physical changes continue at the Woodruff Library. New University Librarian Yolanda Cooper has arrived, and plans move forward on renovations of the Manuscripts, Archive and Rare Books Library (MARBL) and construction of a shared library service center on the Briarcliff Property.
  • Open Expression — This committee held its first meeting April 8.
  • Fringe Benefits — Efforts are being explored to make Emory’s retirement plan more accessible to employees who are not yet participating fully, including a recommendation for auto-enrollment.

Outgoing University Senate President Debra Houry thanked members for a year of action and achievement, with highlights that included:

  • Creation of an Open Expression Committee that will soon hear its first case
  • Changes in retiree benefits
  • Implementation of recommendations from the Committee on Class and Labor
  • Creation of an SGA/Senate diversity statement to be added to course material
  • Assigned maintenance responsibility for public art on campus
  • Updated bylaws that included changes to faculty representation

After conducting conversations around campus about “What is good at Emory,” President James Wagner summarized responses, which should be taken into account as Emory moves forward with strategic planning,” including:

  • Culture and character
  • Flexibility
  • Location and physical assets
  • Opportunities
  • Reputation
  • Mission and purpose
  • Employment benefits

Faculty Council

After operating at a financial loss in recent years, Emory’s Faculty Dining Room will close at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, University Food Services Administration Senior Director Dave Furhman announced during the April 15 Faculty Council meeting.

Located on the first floor of the Dobbs University Center, the facility provided a quiet lunch option for faculty and staff, Furhman acknowledged. But given that it was losing more than $100,000 a year — a cost subsidized through student meal plan sales — and served a relatively small cohort of repeat customers, it was time to consider new options, he said.

The decision to close the dining room was influenced by a Committee on Class and Labor Report recommendation to eliminate “exclusive” places on campus as well as student requests for both more opportunities for informal interaction with faculty and more variety in campus dining options, particularly evenings and weekends, Fuhrman reported.

The dining room will close after service on May 2 and will be replaced by a new campus convenience store with a deli — slated to open mid-October — serving made-to-order sandwiches during extended hours. Faculty will be offered a specially priced dining program at Dobbs Market, he added.

In related business, Faculty Life Course Committee Chair Michael Kutner proposed creating an Emory Faculty Club. Faculty Council Chair Debra Houry requested that Kutner bring the issue back in the fall after completing a cost-analysis and gathering opposing viewpoints.

The Council also heard updates from Oxford College, where applications have “skyrocketed,” leading to new campus construction, and the Candler School of Theology, which will celebrate its centennial next year and has been diversifying degree programs.

Committee reports spurred discussions about the various ways that grievances are handled across campus and learning outcomes and assessments.

Faculty Council Chair-Elect Kathryn Yount led a discussion about the role of faculty in university promotion and tenure and Houry applauded the Council’s service, highlighting achievements that include:

  • Faculty handbook revisions
  • University-wide faculty governance survey
  • Updated conflict of interest guidelines, task force formed
  • Conflict of commitment policy revisions
  • School grievance policies shared and posted
  • Changes to Faculty Council representation
  • Posting minutes on Council website that resulted in increased transparency, communication

In closing remarks, President James Wagner reviewed the role universities have played throughout U.S. history, from relatively isolated institutions with little connection to the nation’s agenda to principal drivers of U.S. economic growth and advances in human health, as well a key pathway to upward mobility.

Employee Council

The Employee Council's April meeting took place at the annual University-wide Town Hall on April 16.