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those things and see what different things we wanted.

The group meets once a month.  In the next month we will try to figure out whether or not to have focus groups.  I think a couple of years ago some of you may have participated in a focus group that Terrie conducted about your work life here.  We are considering doing that again and also considering whether some kind of survey would be beneficial.  Those things are being talked about.  I think the good news is that the focus of the task force has become broader.  The task force is not just looking at what some people think about the Medical Center but what all employees across Vanderbilt are thinking -- that is a really positive thing for all of us.  

Feature:   A Conversation With the Deans

(conversation/facilitator: John Brassil)

Richard McCarty, Dean of the College of Arts and Science

Mark Wait, Dean of the Blair School of Music

James Hudnut-Beumler, Dean of the Divinity School

James Bradford, Dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management

Janet Hirt:  When I looked at the date of this, my first thought was this is the ides of March.  Then having been a high school English teacher, I remembered that of course it wasn’t always a black day --  that it really is in fact only a calculated day on the calendar.  The ides occur four other times during the year.    And particularly on the ides of March in Rome it was the day of accounting.   I thought this is good.   We have invited the people who really are the ones to make the accounting.  When you come right down to it, Vanderbilt doesn’t exist except for the very fact that it is started out educating young people.  That is its focus; that is its goal.  And all the other wonderful things that come with it really only grew from that.   All of us in some way --  whether we are working the payroll for the people here or whether we are doing something else --  we are involved in that fundamental principle that has to do with the education of young people.  I am delighted that these individuals have come and that John has agreed to be the conversationalist/facilitator to kind the conversation going.  

John Brassil:  We are really honored here this morning to have Deans with us. We have had Chancellor Gee here several times; so we thought that it was important for our membership to actually also meet the people that he works for -- the academic deans.  We don’t see that on an organizational chart but really (that was kind of a joke; I was hoping to get some laughs).  Really though, if you listen to the Chancellor talk about why he does what he does, it is about educating students and the academic deans are really the disseminators and holders of education and research at the University.

The Deans that are here today are really the reason that we are all in this room -- and that’s because we are a University -- not a tire factory or something else like that.  Each was requested to address two topics.  

[The following was e-mailed to the Deans on Tuesday, March 1, 2005.

Dear Deans,

        As I indicated in the e-mail of February 15, Staff Council Representative John Brassil has agreed to be the conversation  facilitator/moderator for the discussion Tuesday, March 15.   The Staff Council meeting begins at half past eight and your part of the agenda will begin at nine o'clock and conclude at ten o'clock.

      The conversation for that hour will include a reflection on your part as to what you found enlightening, helpful, and/or puzzling in the results of the most recent University Staff Survey.  The conversation will also

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