Mike Mandl’s first LITS town hall

Photo of Rich Mendola and Mike Mandl

Rich Mendola (left) and Mike Mandl (right).

On March 13, Mike Mandl, Emory’s Executive Vice President for Business and Administration, conducted his first town-hall meeting with Library and Information Technology Services as a group. “Mike has been an incredible advocate for our organization,” said Rich Mendola, Enterprise CIO and Senior Vice Provost for Library Services, as he introduced Mandl. “He really advocates for Emory as a whole, not just Business and Administration.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet with this new, broad organization!” said Mandl.

Held in Harland Cinema in the Dobbs University Center, the hour-long event featured a speech from Mandl regarding the state of university education in America today and how Emory must adapt to the changing climate of learning. Following the speech, Mandl entertained various pre-submitted and live questions.

In his speech, Mandl focused on three specific points: why are we here, Emory’s niche in higher ed, and rethinking the way we work.

Why are we here?

Mandl stressed that it is crucial to remember that whether we are directly delivering services or not, we must always keep in mind that the mission of the enterprise serves a higher cause than our own personal interests. Emory serves not just its students but humanity as a whole. Staying aware of this macro view of the world around Emory helps employees to understand a foundation for the overall mission.

Emory’s niche in higher ed

According to Mandl, Emory is part of a very small group of institutions that can claim to be top-tier, with a liberal arts core, and a broad academic health science center. The biggest issues that people face around the world (health, religion, race, poverty) are all conditions that Emory spends time and effort trying to understand and improve those conditions. The challenge is that as we pursue our mission, we must retain Emory’s essential character and values while adapting to new realities.

Photo of an audience

LITS employees look on during Mandl’s town hall.

Rethinking the way we work

The slower growth of resources for higher ed has challenged universities and Emory must continue to look for creative ways to maximize its sources of income. Partnerships, both internal and external, to achieve common objectives make the institutions stronger and create an environment with positive energy. Mandl mentioned the Library Services Center as an example of a recent successful LITS partnership and singled out Felicia Bianchi (UTS PMO) as a great example of someone who worked well across organizational units.

Mandl described ways that he has consolidated executive leadership at Emory to focus on shared objectives. For example, the CFO and Vice President of Finance position currently being recruited is a newly-formed, enterprise-wide role that arose through a transition in Emory’s financial leadership hierarchy. “We thought about a different model rather than just refilling the old positions,” said Mandl.

As the organization continues to evolve, Mandl stressed the importance that employees do the following:

  • Be empowered to inquire “why?”
  • Take ownership/accountability
  • Communicate effectively
  • Maintain a customer service mindset

Added Mandl, “Make sure you celebrate successes along the way, because this is a multi-year journey. There is a role for everyone in this journey.”

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