New President and the Idea of a
Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Associate Professor of Art
History and Faculty
and the Art of Education
Geoffrey Broocker, Walthour Delaperriere Professor of Ophthalmology
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
Corey L.M. Keyes, Associate Professor of
from the Lighter Side
Vicki Powers, Asssociate Professor of Mathematics and
I believe the new
president should foster and build upon three essential components
of Emory's heritage and unique character: our ethical vision and
mission; our diverse, global role and perspective; and our long-standing
commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. All three aspects
are critical elements of Emory's 1992 Mission Statement and the
(unfortunately neglected) 1998 report from former Chancellor Billy
Frye, A Vision for Emory. In addition, I would argue strongly
that these three elements are not just cornerstones of Emory's heritage;
they also are essential building blocks for our continued success.
First, as the 1992 Mission Statement affirms, "education entails
an obligation to use knowledge for the common good." A college
education should intrinsically involve ethical values and decision
making--the dynamic processes by which individuals and groups make
significant choices and evaluate their own as well as other ways
of life. How can Emory continue to enact this vision? In my view,
the principal actor and catalyst should be the Center for Ethics.
The Center for Ethics offers vital resources and strategies for
the Emory community to support and promote ethical
moral imagination, encourage ongoing ethical debate, and
facilitate personal and corporate responsibility. The center's faculty
and staff provide unique resources, and their efforts must have
a more central place in the life and work of the university. The
Center for Ethics should therefore be directly related to the Provost's
Office; it should also have a heightened physical presence on campus--a
visual reminder of our ethical responsibilities and mission. As
the 1992 Mission Statement declares, "education is a strong
moral force in both society and the lives of its individual members.
It is that conviction, above all others, that guides Emory University
today." We should recommit ourselves to that ethical mission
in demonstrable ways.
Second, as A Vision for Emory succinctly states, Emory
"should continue to develop an aggressive and coherent strategy
to promote internationalization and globalization of its education,
research, and service programs." Emory has made tremendous
progress in this respect, but much remains to be done. The increasing
diversity of our student body (for instance, nearly 40 percent of
Oxford students represent ethnic minority groups) creates a dynamic
atmosphere for learning communities both inside and outside the
classroom. My religion classes are greatly enriched by the diversity
of the students and their faith traditions, whether Bahai, Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or other traditions.
The diversity of Emory faculty also contributes to our variety and
to our international perspective. Emory must continue to support
and expand opportunities for students and faculty to interact more
deeply with other people, cultures, and perspectives. The resources
provided by the Halle Institute, the Institute for Comparative and
International Studies, faculty development grants, the University
Council on International Affairs, and the Office of International
Affairs, for example, indicate that the "internationalization"
of Emory is well under way.
Yet, as President Carter candidly noted in his meeting with Emory
faculty on March 20, 2003, Emory's Board of Trustees does not adequately
reflect these advances in diversity and global perspective (as a
glance at the current membership reveals: www.emory.edu/SECRETARY/Trust ees/).
More varied and diverse board members would contribute both to the
depth and breadth of our international vision, profile, and mission.
Third, Emory must remain a place where excellence in teaching and
learning is valued. A Vision for Emory notes that "the central
place that teaching--our first claim to excellence--has occupied
in the heart of Emory . . . must continue [to be] the principal
manifestation of our commitment to education of the highest quality."
The report also recognizes the essential role that Oxford College
plays in this mission: "Oxford is a unique source of strength
within the university. Not only does it symbolize the roots of the
institution, but it . . . offers a valuable model for teaching and
curriculum development." Oxford faculty conduct a wide variety
of research, but we are justifiably renowned for our research in
the scholarship of teaching and learning. Oxford is an incredible
laboratory and facilitator of liberal learning, and its role within
Emory University is critically important.
A recent study at the Goizueta Business School
documented that Oxford
continuees perform slightly better academically at the business
school than do their Emory College colleagues. Oxford
continues to show how the scholarship of teaching can be at the
nexus of the scholarships of discovery (research), integration,
and application (service).
I believe our moral vision, diversity, and excellence in teaching
and learning are inherently interrelated; they are essential components
of Emory's heritage as well as our future success. These three elements
are eloquently presented in both Chanc ellor Frye's A Vision
for Emory and our 1992 Mission Statement. Unfortunately, however,
some of these elements are not as clearly stated in the current
(2002) Mission Statement. I believe that this discrepancy, though,
provides the new president of Emory with an opportunity to lead
a university-wide discussion of these issues. My wish is that the
new president will take these foundational values seriously, embody
them in her or his leadership practices, and thereby lead us successfully
as we face the opportunities and challenges of the years ahead.