Governance groups address violence prevention, campus development and more

By Kimber Williams and Maria M. Lameiras | Emory Report | Nov. 10, 2014

University Senate

The Sexual Assault Prevention Visioning Task Force shared its final report and recommendations during the Oct. 28 meeting of the University Senate.

Convened in April by Provost Claire Sterk and Senior Vice President and Dean for Campus Life Ajay Nair, the committee harnessed the expertise of Emory faculty, staff and students with a top behavioral scientist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention to provide guidance on how Emory can employ a public health approach to preventing sexual violence.

Task force co-chairs Associate Research Professor Jessica McDermott Sales, Rollins School of Public Health, and Associate Director for Prevention Strategies Jessica Hill, Office of Health Promotion, outlined recommendations, which include:

  • Establish a Sexual Violence Prevention Advisory Board to support data-driven, comprehensive, and cohesive sexual violence prevention strategies
  • Conduct an annual campus climate survey
  • Offer ongoing assessment of sexual violence prevention efforts
  • Expand sexual violence prevention and sexual health promotion program opportunities throughout a student's academic experience
  • Proactively message sexual misconduct policies

In response, the University Senate voted to create a Standing Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Violence, which will help consolidate campus prevention efforts and aid in ongoing assessments of both campus climate and program efficacy. Sales will chair the standing committee.

In other business, the Senate heard presentations from two new financial administrators, Vice President for Finance/Chief Financial Officer Carol Kissal and Emory's first Chief University Budget Officer Mike Andrechak, and voted to approve an honorary degree candidate.

Committee reports:

Campus Development: Responsible for advising the Senate and administrators on matters that affect the appearance and function of the university, the 33-member committee continues work largely driven by Campus Services. Ongoing work will include the goal of eliminating upward lighting on the campus — and Emory village, if possible. President James Wagner added that he has discussed developing a public art master plan that would imagine Emory's outdoor spaces as "a gallery."

Committee on the Environment: Charged with reviewing capital projects for environmental impact and offering policy recommendations, the committee reviewed 22 project proposals in 2013-2014. It has adopted four sub-committees: capital project review; forest management; education and communication; and missions. There have been discussions about revision and implementation of the Lullwater Management plan, including a proposal to raise funds in support of key projects, such as invasive species removal, stream bank restoration, Candler Lake dredging and dam restoration, and storm water management.

Class and Labor Implementation: Established to advise on implementation of 62 recommendations from the Class and Labor Report, the committee has now addressed 49 of the initial recommendations, with a goal of completing work on all recommendations by Spring 2015.

Employee Council President Anita Yarbrough discussed Employee Council goals and activities for the coming year, which include:

  • Helping empower Emory staff by learning about shared resources
  • Offering informational sessions on campus resources
  • Improving Council communications with Emory staff
  • Creating Emory service opportunities
  • Improving Council representation at meetings

Yarbrough announced dual themes for this year's Emory Employee Council Essay Contest: "What is Good at Emory" and "How to Make Emory Ours." Entries are due by Feb. 9, 2015.

Provost Sterk announced that University Title IX Coordinator Lynell Cadray, associate vice provost for the Office of Inclusion and Equity, will begin engaging faculty in Title IX training early next year. "I personally believe that it's extremely important that everyone on campus is aware what the issues are, what we can do about them, and what our responsibility is," she said.

Sterk also noted several efforts underway around campus that acknowledge "the presence of veterans and the role they play in our society and the impact that it has."

In closing remarks, President Wagner noted recent national honors and recognitions that exemplify Emory's excellence, including the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for Mahlon DeLong, William Timmie Professor of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine; news that Emory University School of Medicine Dean Chris Larsen and School of Medicine Professor Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, have been elected to the Institute of Medicine's newest class of leading health scientists; and Emory Healthcare's role in sharing policies, procedures and protocols around treating patients with the Ebola virus.

"I hope you feel a justifiable pride about Emory's contribution to the global Ebola situation," he said.

Wagner also spoke about Emory's membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), among 62 leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada currently guiding the nation's science agenda, which receive nearly 50 percent of all federal dollars invested in university research.

"Emory continues to have national leadership at the very highest levels," he said. "I think we should feel good about how Emory contributes."

Faculty Council

John Morgan, chair of the Emory Board of Trustees, described what drew him to Emory as a student and, more recently, in service to the university as a trustee and benefactor during the Oct. 21 meeting of the Faculty Council.

An Emory alumnus and business executive, Morgan (67OX, 69B) was elected board chair in November 2013, succeeding Ben F. Johnson III, who had served as chair since 2000.

Arriving at Emory from Swainsboro, Georgia, Morgan recounted his student experience as sharply focused on his studies — working outside of school prevented deep extra-curricular campus engagement.

Following graduation, Morgan was drawn back to Emory by supporting the construction of the Miller-Ward Alumni House; he eventually served on the Board of Visitors. The meetings he remembers best were faculty led. "Those meetings were so inspiring, so exciting," he recalled.

A trustee since 1996, Morgan says his continued involvement isn't rooted in sentimentality so much as a fascination with the work of faculty. "That's why I've been so deeply involved … and it's been thrilling, every part of it," he said. "I feel like I'm part of an adventure that really changes the way people think about their lives and the impact on other people's lives."

Morgan's goals include enhancing communication within the Emory community, strategies that support the efficient use of resources, and building the university's endowment. Among the trustees, he hopes to nurture a culture of trust, dedication, commitment, and personal responsibility.

"The trustees' purpose is really to support and to build the conditions right for the faculty to be able to advance learning and to teach, and for our students to have the environment they need to learn and thrive," Morgan says.

In other business, Allison Dykes discussed the nomination process for selecting faculty counselors, who serve on each of the major Board of Trustees committees. Currently, a general call for nominations is issued annually, with appointments for three-year terms made by the board chair.

In order to best represent schools and units, and to align committee appointments with faculty expertise and interests, Dykes spoke about exploring a way to make the process "more embedded with and managed by the Faculty Council," including seeking recommendations directly from the Council.

Faculty Council Chair Kathryn Yount said the Council will discuss the topic and return a recommendation.

In committee reports, Frank Wong, associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education, discussed the University Research Committee (URC), which awards small faculty grants. The committee has been working on a mission statement and a website update, which will offer an applicant "to do" list, guidelines used in assessing applications, and frequently asked questions.

Last year, the URC received over 100 faculty applications, mostly in biological and health sciences. Eligibility criteria for interdisciplinary research proposals have changed — research projects may now be led by either one investigator or by teams.

Yount updated the work of the University Promotion and Tenure Task Force, which convened from April through October to explore opportunities for greater faculty governance in university-level promotion and tenure processes.

The committee examined promotion and tenure decision-making through a document review of 15 peer universities and interviews with 10 faculty chairs, including an examination of issues such as the size and composition of committees, selection of faculty representatives, term lengths, and leadership.

The result of that document review will be posted on Blackboard, with a discussion board open for comments through November, when draft resolutions will be presented.

Provost Claire Sterk urged further discussion about the role of Emory faculty in promotion and tenure. "What should Emory's practice be, what should Emory's culture be?" she said. "This is a very important conversation and one that I actually think is perfect for the Faculty Council as a governance body to explore."

Sterk added that she and President Wagner have been in conversation with Emory deans to "to really think about Emory's values and how those translate into what Emory stands for." She anticipates additional discussion with the Council about "faculty quality and student quality and the student experience."

"I personally feel that at times we separate the two too much," she said. " But the reality is if we really want to have an identity as an institution, we need to start putting those two together."

Employee Council

Members of Emory's Employee Council visited Atlanta's new Center for Civil and Human Rights on Oct. 15. The council's theme for the month of October was "Understanding" and the visit to the Center underscored the challenge of understanding employee rights. The council's next meeting is Nov. 19.