of the Commission on Research at Emory
Professor of Behavioral
Sciences and Health Education and chair of Research at Emory
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Philosophy and co-chair
of Research at Emory
Juliette Stapanian Apkarian
Associate Professor of Russian
John H. Harland Professor of Finance, Accounting, and Economics
Charles Howard Candler Professor of English
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physiology
Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Theology and Human
Associate Professor of Sociology
Director, Center for Injury Control, Rollins School of
Public Health, and Acting Chief and Professor of Emergency Medicine
Nat C. Robertson Distinguished Professor of Science and
Michael J Kuhar
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Pharmacology
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Lanny S. Liebeskind
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry
David G. Lynn
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition
Associate Professor of Nursing
Associate Professor of Religion
Leslie A. Real
Asa Griggs Candler Professor
Executive Associate Dean for Research, School of Medicine
Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine in the School
of Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology in the Rollins School
of Public Health
Professor of Sociology
Luther E. Smith, Jr.
Professor of Church and Community
Associate Professor of Art History and Faculty Curator
of Art of the Ancient Americas
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and Behavioral
Stephen T. Warren
William Patterson Timmie Professor of Human Genetics
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology
Emory need another commission that takes valuable time away from
already overburdened faculty? The ready response to this question
might be, Of course not. Commissions such as Research
at Emory, however, allow faculty to help advance Emory in ways that
resonate with their own intellectual passions.
Many Emory faculty will recall the Commission on Teaching and its
report, Teaching at Emory. The work of this faculty commission
resulted in significant improvements, including increased focus
on teaching excellence and increased support for teaching. Now we
need to advance our understanding of research at Emory and to put
forth recommendations critical for developing Emory as an excellent
This Commission on Research can make important contributions to
our intellectual community that values its responsibility both to
education and research. The Commission will allow Emory to strengthen
its vision of the research university in the twenty-first century;
to promote the quality of life for faculty, research staff, graduate
students, and undergraduate students; to identify emerging research-related
issues; to develop appropriate reward structures; and to ensure
access to an efficient infrastructure.
When asked to chair the Commission on Research at Emory, I was torn
between the increased demands it would place on my already long
list of responsibilities and the opportunity to make a difference.
I contemplated, Why me? and tried to decide whether
I could adequately support the work of this commission. I talked
with numerous colleagues, ultimately agreeing to the task. I view
it an honor to work with Candler Professor of Philosophy David Carr
as the co-chair as well as twenty-four excellent colleagues from
a cross-section of the disciplines. Formally charged by President
Bill Chace and interim Provost Woody Hunter in October, the commission
has begun a two-year process to investigate the ways we define,
support, and advance faculty research.
Probably to the surprise of few colleagues, our initial discussions
focused on the name of the commission. We debated the use of the
term research versus scholarship and agreed that the Commission
will apply a broad definition of research, including all scholarly
activities that result in the creation and production of knowledge.
Research may take place in a laboratory or a library; it may be
funded or not; or it may focus on the natural world or on cultural
production. The ultimate outcome will be a set of specific recommendations
that stakeholders at all levels are willing to implement with protected
resources and structural support. Determining how to direct our
resources will, in part, require an understanding of Emory in the
context of national debates about the future of U.S. research universities,
and it will allow Emory to influence those ongoing broader conversations.
Scholars and higher education
leaders have articulated specific aspects of this debate during
the last decade. For example, in 1993 Columbia provost Jonathan
Cole analyzed dilemmas of choice facing research universities. He
emphasized the choices that need to be made to ensure a balance
between research and teaching, as well as the partnership between
the research university and the federal government. The ways and
extent to which universities balance the research and teaching demands
will have a significant impact on the vision and strategic plan
of the academy.
In 1997, Burton Clark suggested
that four broad areas in which to locate future directions for university
reform include protecting and strengthening the intellectual core
of academic work throughout the system, as well as understanding
and promoting indirect connections between diverging academic cultures.
Also in 1997, scholars Thomas Bender and Carl Schorske considered
questions related to the diverging academic cultures. To build on
these and other general claims, the committee may either apply current
thinking about influential forces to Emorys case or use our
development to illuminate broader trends
The Research Commission has been organized into four subgroups.
Each one covers a specific issue:
1) the content and nature of research, 2) Emory researchers and
ways to reward and maintain them, 3) support for research, and 4)
the culture and values of research. Some central themes naturally
cut across all groups, such as the high demands on faculty time;
the constant tension between teaching, research, and service; and
the impact of the faculty life cycle on the quality of life. Each
group is also examining questions like, Is this situation unique
to Emory, or is it part of a larger cultural problem? Can Emory
help researchers find the time to engage in excellent research?
If yes, then how can we accomplish this?
Although each subgroup is free to shape the specific questions it
explores, the questions listed below provide a general description
of scope of the work.
What is research at Emory? This is the central question
for one of the groups. It concerns the content and nature of research
at Emory, including how we describe and define research, how research
impacts teaching, and how the Emory research profile compares to
that of other U.S. universities.
Emory researchers? This is the focus of the second group.
The discussions address how Emory prepares, rewards, and motivates
the faculty to engage in funded and unfunded research at the highest
levels; how intellectual life is cultivated over the life cycle
of a faculty members tenure at Emory; and how research standards
impact expectations for tenure and promotion.
How should Emory support research? This
question captures the main theme of the third group. Its members
explore the structural and physical support needed to ensure high
quality research productivity, the availability of current resources,
and the specific contours of Emorys aspirations. This group
focuses on personnel, facilities, and technical and internal support.
At Emory, what are the culture and values of research?
This question occupies the members of the fourth group. The group
will also engage in a serious dialogue about ethical values and
the intellectual community at Emory, as faculty concerns about research
ethics grow. The members of this group also consider matters such
as our ethical values regarding research; how researchers come to
know these values; what policies we should have regarding intellectual
property for faculty, staff, and students; and how we can use the
intellectual community to strengthen and disseminate the ethics
Most of the commissions work will be conducted in the 20012002
academic year. Throughout this year, we will seek input from as
many faculty as possible through a wide variety of means. By now,
some of the groups will have held faculty hearings; others will
have contacted colleagues to participate in a survey or open-ended
interviews, and others will have been asked to share their views
in less formal ways. In the spring of 2003, the commission will
publish a written report of its findings and send a copy to all
faculty and university leaders. We expect this report to provide
a platform from which the university will consider how we can best
direct our resources for supporting and advancing both research
and researchers at Emory. We hope that, like Teaching at Emory,
our work will take its place among other major documents the university
uses to guide its development in the future.
The Commission on Research at Emory provides us with the unique
opportunity to make a major contribution not only to our university
but also to higher education and research universities in general.
In addition to looking for regular updates in Emory Report,
please feel free to contact me with any
suggestions you have for the commission. I can be reached at email@example.com
and look forward to our work as we both investigate and improve
research at Emory.
Sterk is chair of the Commission on Research