7 No. 2
urges a new "discipline" of planning
job is to make sure that the academic focus of the institution is
always front and center.
Lewis, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
we’re going to be rigid, operating in the nineteenth century
and resisting change, then we’ll go the way of the Light Brigade.
Thorpe, Woodruff Professor of Health Policy and Management
Planning Steering Committee
Or, Sipping champagne from a fire hydrant
Knauft, Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology
and Executive Director,
The Institute for Comparative and International Studies
the Bible Green?
Israelite and early Christian perspectives
on the natural world
A. Newsom, Professor of Old Testament
Mind and the Machine
Review of Digital People by Sidney Perkowitz
Neill, Professor of Psychology
Exchange: What has been your impression of the process—its
value and where it is headed?
Kenneth Thorpe: We have been doing an assessment: representatives
from each of the schools are coming through and just talking about
their issues, where they are, where they strategically want to be,
what are the road blocks, what are they thinking, what their future
looks like. One of the things we’re trying to do is to see
where there are obvious overlaps, synergies, and opportunities for
We have all the usual suspect programs that appear—if you’re
an undergrad thinking about going to Princeton or Emory, or Harvard
or Emory, what is it that Emory has that those other places don’t?
Right now, nothing. That’s my take on it. And if you look
at some of these other places that do have some innovative programs—obviously
Harvard has the Kennedy school, and Princeton has the Wilson school—we
could do something different and I think better. But I think we
have different advantages here. Given our location, we have
some comparative advantages here that they don’t.
AE: Can you offer an example of those sorts
of comparative advantages?
As I sit and listen to these presentations, I try to think, what
is it about Emory academically and research-wise that’s unique?
We’ve got all the basics in terms of disciplinary departments,
but that’s not unique. I think that the hope here would be
to take the best of all of what Emory has to offer both in terms
of the college and the professional schools and find ways to integrate
them and build on them. The worst thing we could have would be I
think what we have right now, which is that these units operate
pretty much independently of each other. There’s not a lot
of integration, there’s not a lot of cross-pollination, the
undergraduates don’t know much about what goes on over here.
I think that given the fact that we have such a medical presence—with
Emory Healthcare—and an international presence here—with
the School of Public Health and the cdc—that the opportunities
to do something really exciting along the domestic and international
fronts that deals with policy issues is something that I’d
like to see discussed
Public policy in and of itself is a discipline. It’s really
taking economics, political science, and organizational theory and
applying them to pressing public policy issues. My sense is that
we have all the elements of that here. It’s one way I think
particularly at the undergraduate level you can get students excited
about ongoing major issues and controversies. It just seems to be
a natural if Emory really wants to make its mark in the next decade
or so as something that’s really unique.
AE: What do you think the faculty responsibility
is in this process?
KT: I think the faculty has to make sure that whatever
comes out of it is going to enhance our academic reputation and
will be funded. One of the things we don’t want to do is inappropriately
redirect money in a zero-sum game. The idea is to attract more resources
and do something new and exciting that takes advantage of what we
have here. Faculty have to think outside of our own disciplinary
Ultimately, though, I think the bottom line will be whether we can
take some of this and really meld it into something that’s
going to launch Emory forward. I think we need to do it both in
terms of attracting exciting fund-raisers and money; I think we
have to take advantage of synergies we have here. We have pockets
of good programs, and we can make them better by integrating them.
AE: What has to happen to keep this planning
process from being just a lot of good ideas that never get realized?
KT: We have to have a flexible enough institutional
structure that allows us to make those types of changes. If we’re
going to be rigid, operating in the nineteenth century and resisting
change, then we’ll go the way of the Light Brigade. Change
is going happen that we can’t control, but there’s change
that we can tactically and strategically lay out and control. And
again, I think the idea here is to be thinking, What does this place
look like ten to fifteen years from now? How are we going to do
some of the leapfrogging? How are we going to continue to make this
a better place? What are some of those unique decision points that
we’re going to have to put in place?