Common Ground


Dear Colleagues,

In the last several years, university-wide initiatives such as the discussions around Choices & Responsibility and Teaching at Emory have prompted repeated calls from faculty members for a stronger, richer intellectual climate at Emory, a more dynamic scholarly community. Soon after Rebecca Chopp was named provost in the spring of 1998, she launched an effort to seek a way to respond to these calls. One of the tangible outcomes from this effort is The Academic Exchange: A Place for Scholarly Conversation at Emory, a published forum for ongoing intellectual discourse among our colleagues. The Academic Exchange will appear two times before the end of this academic year. We hope that as participation increases, the publication will appear more often.

In preparation for the debut of this forum for intellectual exchange, the editors have held conversations with faculty members (nearly a hundred thus far) across the university-conversations that will continue with each issue. It has been clear from the discussions so far that a community of learning cannot be manufactured; it must grow. Space must be cleared and enriched with the necessary elements for an open and productive exchange of ideas and opinions.

This first issue of The Academic Exchange represents an attempt to begin cultivating that common ground, where vigorous, candid, and civil engagement on scholarly pursuits and academic policy may flourish. With its coverage of research issues, pedagogical concerns, and university governance, this issue strives to balance reporting and opinion on faculty work and life at Emory. It also offers information on selected publications and campus events that might serve as a springboard for community-wide discussion. Our policy will be to turn frequently to the community for topic suggestions for future issues.

We invite and encourage our faculty colleagues to contribute their perspectives. A range of approaches and formats is available to contributors, from submitting a completed essay to working with a writer to present ideas in interview format. Letters in response to articles and essays are also welcome and will not be published without the author's permission. Contact the managing editor for particulars on deadlines and submissions.

Because its primary audience is Emory faculty, this publication will strive for an intelligent common language that is neither jargon-ridden and technical nor overly popularizing and reductive. Our goal is to strike a balance between precision and accessibility. Similarly, discourse in The Academic Exchange will reach toward dialogue rather than pitched battle. We request that contributors attend to disagreements in a context of mutual respect and civility.

Candor and freedom of speech are essential to the life of a university. We hope readers of The Academic Exchange will use the publication to participate in thoughtful and spirited inquiry that will help grow and sustain a lively intellectual community.

William B. Cody, Oxford College
James W. Fowler, Ethics Center
Susan H. Frost, Institutional Planning and Research
Gordon D. Newby, Emory College
Walter L. Reed, Emory College


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