New President and the Idea of a
Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Associate Professor of Art
History and Faculty
Fresh Perspective for Perennial
David Carr, Charles Howard Candler Professor of
versus Research: Does It Have to Be That Way?
Lucas Carpenter, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English, Oxford
a Top-Tier Research University
Lawrence W. Barsalou, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of
Psychology, and Elaine Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of
Psychology and Neuroscience
Diversity, and Teaching
David B. Gowler, Pierce Professor of Religion, Oxford
Corey L.M. Keyes, Associate Professor of
from the Lighter Side
Vicki Powers, Asssociate Professor of Mathematics and
foremost challenge to our new leader is predicting and preparing
for the economic future of the university effectively,
damage control. In my fifteen years at Emory, the recent dilemma
of restructuring the fringe benefits of the faculty and staff has
created the greatest emotional duress (in essence, the
frustrated and disappointed by their exclusion from the decision
making process). Remaining committed to the highest educational
standards may indeed require greater oversight across
of the institution.
While previous presidents have proven their effectiveness in new
construction and gifts to endowments and operations,
faces an altogether different task. A large, ongoing portion of
our increasingly limited dollars must flow into
teaching and teachers.
The university demands excellence from our teachers.
Yet the growing
pressures on many of our key faculty, especially in the medical
school, to constantly self-subsidize through, for
of patient care or continual grant production limits
and drive to be steadfast educators.
Even devoted faculty veer toward academic paths that
evoke the greatest
incentives and support. Great facilities and ambience
attract quality students. Consistently strong outcomes in top job
and professional school placement, however, come from the quality
and effectiveness of the education and educators. The university
president should focus on the strengths of our individual faculty
and staff and reward each appropriately.
Currently, many academic centers have struggled and unfortunately
succumbed to a corporate mentality to solve economic
issues. Most of our faculty and staff are unimpressed with this
approach, as the number of emailed and hardcopied
throughout the university demonstrates. A great number
in our ranks with other solutions need to be heard.
For instance, we have a number of outstanding schools within our
system, but departments clearly do not interact
Our leadership should not just insist on effective interaction;
it should mandate and financially support these
ventures. Even with
significant collaboration in certain areas (such as the
Behavior Neuroscience and the biotechnology
collaboration with Georgia
Tech), there should be more interaction among faculty
to support existing programs.
A good example of this kind of interaction is Baylor University's
use of its behavioral science department to create an "Office
of Curriculum." The behavioral science faculty and fellows
collate and measure student and faculty evaluations from across
the university, providing more metric and less biased analyses.
The law school and medical school could similarly work together
in understanding and supporting risk management issues. Likewise,
the ethics center should be more involved in curricula for law,
medicine, and religion (among others).
In general, the corporate mentality tends to curtail workers' rights
as well as intellectual freedom, while maximizing profits. A significant
number of medical faculty have left the university because of this
approach. A particular area of corporate mentality that I feel has
hurt the "essence" of Emory is the emphasis on media-based
rankings of the college and graduate schools. While wrestling with
"benchmarking" and "bean-counting" we've dropped
our guard on quality and art of education and focused on undergraduate
and graduate school national test scores as our measure of success.
To quote from Robert M. Rosenzweig's 2001 book The Political
University: Policy, Politics, and Presidential Leadership in the
American Research University, "Universities are mixtures
of hierarchy and autonomy, competition and collegiality, individual
entrepreneurship and collective effort, openness and secretiveness.
Changes over the years had been in the direction of greater hierarchy,
less collegiality, more entrepreneurship, less openness."
Preventing or limiting these changes should be the number-one priority
of Emory University's new president.