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Nancy Eiesland, Associate Professor of Sociology and Disability Studies, 1964–2009
March 25, 2009

Nancy L. Eiesland, associate professor of sociology and disability studies at the Candler School of Theology and the Graduate Division of Religion, died on March 10. She was forty-four years old.

Eiesland was a leader in disability studies and religion. Her pioneering work included articulating the first liberatory theology of disability. Her book The Disabled God which began as an M.Div. honors thesis at Candler, has become a classic in the field. Eiesland received her Ph.D. from Emory in 1995.

Much of Eiesland’s work on disability was informed by personal experience. She suffered from a congenital bone defect in her hips and required a wheelchair. By the time she was thirteen years old, she had had eleven operations. Many more were to follow. She died, however, of a possibly genetic type of lung cancer.

Other areas of her research focused on suburbanization and religious change in the United States, gender and religion, global trends in religion, and sociological and theological aspects of illness and disability. In another of her four books, A Particular Place, Eiesland studied congregations in a rapidly growing exurban area of Atlanta, exploring the ecology of social institutions and networks and showing how the role of congregations in people’s lives changes in new social conditions. The book established Eiesland as an authority in the sociology of religion and congregational studies.

Eiesland’s essay "Calming Calamity: Things I’ve Learned While I Couldn’t Do My Research," which appeared in the December 2008/January 2009 issue of the The Academic Exchange, examined the importance of the intellectual community she joined as a fellow of Emory’s Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life during her illness.

Eiesland taught classes in the social and cultural study of religion, gender, and disability; urban change and religious organization; and methods of qualitative research. She prepared a generation of students to enter the ministry and the academy with a deep awareness of the intricate social world embodied in each congregation. She also consulted with the United Nations for a decade, according to the New York Times, “helping to develop its Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, which was enacted last year.” The convention describes the disabled as “subjects” with rights, rather than “objects” of charity, and explicitly endorses spiritual rights for the disabled.

Doctoral Candidates Face Toughest Job Market in Years
March 17, 2009

Doctoral candidates seeking full-time faculty positions are facing dismal prospects, according to a New York Times article.

A survey by the American Historical Association, for example, found that the number of history departments recruiting new professors this year is down 15 percent, while the number of postings on the American Mathematical Society’s largest list of jobs has dropped more than 25 percent from last year.

Some job hunters have said that they may be up against hundreds of other applicants for a single position. In other cases, searches are simply canceled because funding for positions has dried up.

The Times article said that “public universities are bracing for severe cuts as state legislatures grapple with yawning deficits. At the same time, even the wealthiest private colleges have seen their endowments sink and donations slacken since the financial crisis. So a chill has set in at many higher education institutions, where partial or full-fledge hiring freezes have been imposed.”

Brian Croxall, a visiting assistant professor of English at Emory, attests to the formidable challenge of finding a job in academia. This year he’s applied for forty-six different academic positions, most of them are tenure-track jobs, and a few are postdoctoral programs and visiting professorships. Other than an interview last December at the Modern Language Association’s annual conference with a prominent Research I university, he’s come up empty.

The application count was even higher during his first run at the market that began in fall 2007, when Croxall was just beginning his final year in Emory’s doctoral program. That first round netted him two interviews at the MLA. Response letters often inform him that the school had received more than three hundred applications for a single position. One postdoctoral slot at Princeton drew more than five hundred responses, as did a tenure-track position at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.

Croxall, who is thirty-one, has not yet resorted to a back-up plan. His stint at Emory runs through August, and he’ll continue to apply for teaching positions. But he’s considering a move toward humanities computing or academic computing because of his experience with applying technology to teaching. It may turn out to be a strategy change borne of necessity. “I have a family to support with a third child on the way, and I’m not sure I can stick it out at what you get paid at those temporary positions long enough to get a full-time position.”

“This is a year of no jobs,” Catherine Stimpson, the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University told the Times. Ph.D.s are stacked up, she said, “like planes hovering over La Guardia.”

William Pannapacker, an associate professor of English at Hope College in Michigan, who writes a column for The Chronicle of Higher Education under the name Thomas Benton, has frequently tried to dissuade undergraduates from pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities. And the recession, he predicts, will push universities to trim the number of tenure-track jobs further.

“It’s hard to tell young people that universities recognize that their idealism and energy — and lack of information — are an exploitable resource,” he wrote in a recent column. “If you cannot find a tenure-track position, your university will no longer court you; it will pretend you do not exist and will act as if your unemployability is entirely your fault.”

To see the complete article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/07/arts/07grad.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=doctoral%20candidates&st=cse

Further fallout from psychiatrist’s outside activities
March 9, 2009

According to the February 26 Wall Street Journal, federal officials are investigating Emory to determine if the school misled the National Institutes of Health about the lucrative consulting work conducted by the prominent psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff for the pharmaceutical industry.

Nemeroff, a well-known researcher, has been a central figure in a federal investigation of whether drug company payments to doctors and academics skew research in favor of certain drugs. The NIH requires universities to report potential conflicts of interest to the agency and to ensure research is carried out objectively. Schools that violate those policies could face sanctions, ranging from fines to a freeze on funding.

In the latest development, the WSJ reported, investigators want to know if Emory failed to tell the NIH about Dr. Nemeroff’s conflicts of interest while he was investigating anti-depression drugs manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, and whether the university may have misrepresented the kind of work he did for Glaxo when he served as a lead investigator on NIH-funded research.

The Emory Wheel reported that “Emory’s general counsel, Kent Alexander, said the university has not received word from the inspector general on whether any investigation would take place. He said the University was not aware of the Feb. 24 letter until a Wall Street Journal reporter contacted Emory about it earlier this week. Since then, Emory has begun taking a close look at past records relating to these new allegations.”

The Wheel article said also that the investigation may include Nemeroff’s consulting activities to gauge whether he fulfilled his required time commitments as chief investigator of multiple NIH research grants.

From 2003 until last year, Nemeroff served as primary investigator on an NIH-funded research effort to study five GlaxoSmithKline PLC drugs for use as antidepressants. During that time, Dr. Nemeroff also received $800,000 from Glaxo between for speeches he made to other medical professionals. Nemeroff also reportedly participated in a Glaxo program to aggressively promote Glaxo’s top-selling anti-depressant, Paxil.

An internal investigation by Emory in December found that Nemeroff had violated the university’s policies by not reporting his outside income from Glaxo. He was permanently removed as chairman of the psychiatry department and forbidden to participate in any NIH-sponsored research for at least two years. The NIH has frozen funds for a $9.3 million project on depression led by Nemeroff and has instituted tighter rules on approving grants for Emory. Emory has established a new central office to oversee enforcement of conflict of interest policies. Last year, Emory received $251 million in NIH grants last year, more than half of all the school’s outside research funding.

To see the complete WSJ article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123562069194979361.html

To see the complete Wheel article, visit http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=26733

New Grant to Foster Integrity in Scholarship and Research
March 4, 2009

Research ethics and integrity will be the focus of a new program being developed at Emory Graduate School. The program is one of five projects nationwide to receive a Project for Scholarly Integrity grant as part of a federal initiative to advance the scope and quality of graduate education in the ethical and responsible conduct of research.

The grants were awarded by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), with funding from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity. Amid heightened concerns about academic research misconduct, CGS’s Project for Scholarly Integrity seeks to better inform students, researchers, and faculty about the ethical responsibilities and complexities of research in the twenty-first century.

One of the challenges in graduate education is to prepare students with the skills in ethical reasoning to deal with never-before-encountered situations, said Lisa Tedesco, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs.

“We have responsibilities to educate our doctoral students in the most up-to-date ways about the complexities in their research environment,” said Tedesco. “Our program will seek to harness the critical thinking and analysis skills that they use every day in their research to engage more deeply into research ethics and the responsible conduct of research.”

She added that critical reflection will be a major component of the program, including learning various “approaches to asking challenging questions and getting people comfortable with those difficult conversations.”

Since evidence suggests that many students fear judgment in addressing ethical problems in research, the Graduate School’s process-oriented program seeks to build contexts in which ethical dilemmas can be candidly discussed. The program will focus on a student’s development as a responsible researcher, supporting that development with three distinct goals:

  • Program integration: Education in research ethics and integrity must be integrated into the curriculum of the student’s program.

  • Skills of critical reflection: Students need time and space to practice thinking through complicated problems of professional integrity.

  • Knowledge of research principles: Students should be acquainted with rules and principles established by the law, professional codes of ethics, and best practices in the discipline.

For more information: http://www.graduateschool.emory.edu/about/announcements.php?entity_id=10

Top Dog: Emory Faculty Examine Slumdog Millionaire
March 2, 2009

Emory professors, like the rest of the world, have lots to say about the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Oscars, including “Best Picture” and “Best Director” for Danny Boyle, at last week’s Academy Awards.

Paul Courtright, Emory professor of religion, explores the religious terrain of the film in a recent article for online magazine Religion Dispatches. He argues that while the main characters mostly are Muslim, the film does not offer an Islamic vision of divine mercy, evoking instead the Hindu idea of lila, or divine play. The rags-to-riches element captivating audiences around the world appears in Hindu literature, where devotees overcome adversity through devotion to a deity. Accordingly, Courtright tells the Academic Exchange, “[Protagonist Jamal’s] devotion to [love interest Latika] echoes a Sufi and Hindu bhakti devotion to the beloved, a devotion that makes it possible to embrace the terrors and losses of life and ride serenely over its triumphs.”

Not everyone has been eager to mine Slumdog for its rich scholarly potential. Emory’s Distinguished Writer in Residence Salman Rushdie is one of the more vocal critics. Speaking at Emory on Oscar night, Rushdie argued that the film “piles impossibility on impossibility,” its characters thrust in increasingly unbelievable scenarios, ultimately leading Jamal to the answers on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Of Rushdie’s critique, Courtright says, “Stranger twists of fate have animated some of the characters in [Rushdie’s] own fiction.”

What about other charges against Slumdog, mainly its representations of poverty in India? Courtright notes that the situation is not unique: “The slums and corruption are a part of India. . . . But slums and corruption are everywhere; poverty and organized crime are artifacts of robust global capitalism.”

Deepika Bahri, associate professor of English at Emory, also reads the film in relation to globalization and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s work on the phenomenon: “[Slumdog Millionaire] tells us that the world is flat. . . . Hot, flat, and crowded, which incidentally is the title of . . . Friedman’s sequel to The World is Flat. Hot, flat, crowded, sort of like Bombay.” Courtright echoes Bahri’s analysis: “While the film takes place in India, it has a Global Everywhere/Everyman quality to it.”

In this narrative of globalization, Bahri adds, “I want [Jamal] to win, to escape his third worldliness and save his lover Latika.” Jamal represents hope in the globalized landscape for Courtright too, and he wants those criticizing the film for voyeurism of India’s underclass to see that too: “Beyond the first gaze of the slums, we see a brighter vision of the indomitable spirit that has emerged as a marker of Mumbai, despite the squalor, riots, terrorists. . . . Mumbai is the postmodern, postcolonial dystopic landscape, and people find ways to stand it, make it work, endure it, even celebrate it. That is the larger message of the film; I hope Indians feel a well-deserved pride in that message.”

But Bahri cautions against seeing the film as a faithful representation of Indian life: “This is not a movie you watch to learn about street children in Bombay. For a good, hard look at that, no one does it better than Mira Nair in Salaam Bombay!” Instead, Bahri argues that the film is pure fantasy: “There are no images of the third world, only mirror images of our own interest and desire.”

Arguments about religion, globalization, hope, and fantasy aside, Rushdie remains doggedly unconvinced. He suggests there is unvoiced discontent amid the fanfare that accompanies Slumdog Millionaire: “More people don’t like it, but they just aren’t willing to admit it.”

Click here for Paul Courtright article “Life as a Game Show: Reading Slumdog Millionaire” in Religion Dispatches.

Click here for the Emory Report article on Salman Rushdie’s lecture, “Adaptation”

Emory officials near top of salary rankings
February 24, 2009

A survey of compensation packages at private colleges conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that three of Emory’s top administrators were among the highest paid in the country in the 2006-07 fiscal year.

A further analysis by the Chronicle listed the highest paid employees other than chief executives; the ten highest- paid financial officers; and the ten highest-paid academic officers. Only Emory and Vanderbilt were represented in all three lists.

Emory Chancellor Mike Johns earned $3.75 million in the 2007 fiscal year (the year he stepped down from the position of executive vice president for health affairs, chief executive officer of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chairman of Emory Healthcare), making him the third highest-paid private university employee, other than chief executives. According to the Emory Wheel (February 24, 2009), the Emory communications office explained that $3.4 million of that compensation came from a long-term retention award and a one-time deferred payment that accrued over the eleven years that Johns served in his former posts. It is money that amasses yearly but is not paid immediately and can be forfeited it an employee leaves a position before a certain date.

Mike Mandl, Emory’s executive vice president for finance and administration, earned $666,300 for fiscal year 2007, ranking him fourth among chief financial officers. Earl Lewis, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, earned $536,540, putting him ninth on the list of chief academic officers. A statement released yesterday by the Board of Trustees clarifies that $105,270 of Mandl’s compensation package is the combined value of benefits and deferred payment, as is $94,170 of Lewis’s package.

The Chronicle survey included compensation packages of more than 4,000 employees at nearly 600 private colleges. It found that of the eighty-eight private college employees who made $1 million or more in the 2007 fiscal year, only eleven were chief executives. A survey released by the Chronicle in November listed Emory President Jim Wagner as the eleventh highest paid university presidents in fiscal year 2007, with a compensation package of $1,040,420.

The two highest paid non-chief-executive higher education employees in the country were the football coach at the University of Southern California ($4,415,714, about four times as much as the president of the university), and a clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University ($4,332,759, compared with $1,411,894 for the president of the university).

Jeff Selingo, editor of the Chronicle, told the New York Times, “There are a lot of different spheres of influence throughout a university, and since medical schools and some specialties within them generate so much revenue, it’s not surprising that compensation reflects that. Chief financial officers are highly paid because they are generally people who could get a job at a Fortune 500 company. What’s actually most interesting to me is that chief academic officers are getting so much. I think what’s happening is that they’re becoming the ones running the university day to day, as presidents are increasingly away from campus, talking to donors or traveling overseas to set up partnerships.”

Click here to see the Chronicle article.

Click here to see the New York Times article.

Click here to see the Emory Wheel article.

Faculty on Facebook
February 19, 2009

Pamela Scully, associate professor of women’s studies, has about forty friends on Facebook, the phenomenally successfully social networking Website. Not one of them is a current student of hers, and that’s a boundary she faithfully preserves.

“I would not advocate that faculty be friends with their students on Facebook,” Scully said. “It’s just better to keep those social lives separate. It’s an issue of power: “If you’re in a position where you have some control over someone, you shouldn’t be their Facebook friend.”

Scully said she’s gotten a number of requests from students to become Facebook friends. Her response: I would love to be Facebook friends, but contact me after you graduate. “I explain to them I don’t want to see a picture of them at a party doing something I’d rather not see or they would later be embarrassed about, so it would be much better if you waited to be my friend.” After graduation, it’s a different story, and Scully finds the Website ideal for keeping up with some former students.

Scully signed onto Facebook about fifteen months ago because her twin sister in New Zealand wanted to show her some pictures. Her sister promptly stopped using Facebook because she found it too invasive. The half of the set in Atlanta, though, admits to being “fully addicted.”

“I have so many family and friends in so many different time zones,” Scully said. “Facebook allows me to live in a whole world that transcends national boundaries.” She also says that her Facebook friends are “people whom I actually know and want to be in touch with,” which explains her relatively low friend count.

Laurie Patton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Religion, tunes into Facebook a couple times a week, exclusively for social reasons, and she does have students who are Facebook friends. “I just don’t put up any highly personal information on my Facebook page,” she said. “I don’t use it very much professionally. If I did, I’d have five places on the Web that are professionally oriented. That’s too many.”

Are you on Facebook? Are your students your "friends"? Email the Academic Exchange and let us know your thoughts.

Controversial Ex-Emory Professor Wins Settlement with State
February 9, 2009

According to WSB television in Atlanta, the state of Georgia has paid $1.2 million to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who had accused Georgia Tech of backing out of a deal to hire him as a dean more than a decade ago.

In 1997, Sonnenfeld, who is currently a management professor and dean at Yale, was a popular and well-known professor in Emory’s Goizueta Business School and a successful fundraiser due to his strong connections with the business community. Georgia Tech offered him the position of dean of its College of Management for a salary of $200,000.

But shortly before he was to make the move, the Emory administration alleged that he had vandalized property. Sonnenfeld resigned under pressure, and Georgia Tech withdrew its offer. Sonnenfeld sued Emory for defamation of character and the Georgia Board of Regents for breach of contract. His suit against Emory was settled in 2000 for an undisclosed amount. Details of the settlement with the state, beyond the amount of the award, are still “cloaked in secrecy,” according to WSB.

Emory said that hidden security video cameras had caught Sonnenfeld vandalizing Emory property, but Sonnenfeld and his supporters made the case that the videos didn’t show anything conclusive, and Emory withstood a great deal of criticism over the affair, including charges that administrators had purposely tried to derail his hire at Georgia Tech. The Byzantine story ended up on an episode of 60 Minutes.

To see the WSB news story, visit http://www.wsbtv.com/video/18473877/index.html

Nationwide, College Endowment Losses Are Highest Since 1970s
January 30, 2009

The value of university endowments has suffered the worst drop since the 1970s, according to two recent reports. In an article about the findings, the New York Times reported that endowment values fell about 23 percent on average in the five months ending November 30. The declines are the largest since the mid-1970s, according to John S. Griswold Jr., executive director of the Commonfund Institute, which manages money for educational institutions and other nonprofits.

“It’s been very sudden in some ways,” Griswold told the Times. “There were people predicting the decline a year ago or more, but I don’t think anyone could claim to see the extent of this. These are unprecedented numbers.” The declines have forced colleges and university nationwide to contemplate wage freezes, layoffs, and halting construction projects.

According to Emory’s administration, the endowment and investment portfolio fell about 20 percent for the 2008 calendar year, resulting in a reduction of about $50 million in annual revenue. An additional $10 million reduction has resulted from declining interest rates. The university’s overall budget is projected to grow approximately 1.6 percent next year, compared with 6-8 percent increases that have typified recent years. Budgets will remain flat or be reduced in most administrative units.

The reports cited in the Times were prepared for the National Association of College and University Business Officers by the financial services company TIAA-CREF and the Commonfund Institute. They drew on data from 796 institutions for the 2008 fiscal year, which ended June 30, and on additional statistics from a follow-up survey with 435 for the period from July 1 to Nov. 30. The studies found that while endowments gained in value by about 0.5 percent in the old fiscal year, they lost nearly a quarter of their worth in the subsequent five months as financial markets sank.

Endowments worth more than $1 billion were found to have lost an average of 20 percent, while those of $500 million to $1 billion declined about 25 percent. Public institutions lost an average of 24 percent, private institutions 22 percent.

Cornell faces a 10 percent budget shortfall for the current fiscal year because of a 27 percent decline in its endowment over the last six months. Syracuse University has already announced layoffs, and Dartmouth, whose endowment lost 18 percent of its value from July 1 to December 31, has said they are inevitable.

Sixty percent of the institutions responding to the follow-up survey said they did not expect to change the amount they draw from their endowments in the current fiscal year. Griswold thinks that wise.

“People aren’t making snap decisions, decisions that seem based on a panic reaction,” he said. “That’s terrific. They should keep a steady hand on the helm.” To see the entire article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/education/27college.html?scp=1&sq=endowments&st=cse

Professor Frank Pajares Passes
January 23, 2009

M. Frank Pajares, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Education in the Division of Educational Studies and in the Department of Psychology, died Wednesday, Jan. 14. Following the wishes of Pajares and his family, no memorial service will be held.

"No one loves teaching more than I do,” Pajares was quoted as saying in an April 2007 Emory Report profile. According to the article, "his distinguished career as an educator has taken him around the world. Pajares has been a middle school teacher in Florida, a professor at the University of Florida and a principal of an international school in Tehran, Iran. When the unrest and riots of the Islamic Revolution led to the school’s closing, Pajares returned to his native Spain to serve as headmaster and later director of the American International School on the island of Mallorca."

Pajares was a recipient of Emory’s most prestigious recognition for teaching, the Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching, as well as recognition for excellence in teaching from the Emory Scholars Program, the Crystal Apple Award and others.

The author of five books, Pajares's most recent book was Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents (2006).

If individuals wish to make contributions in his memory, Pajares’ favorite charities were Save the Children, UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Doctors without Borders, said DES chair Robert Jensen.

To read the full Emory Report profile, visit http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2007/April/April%202/Profile.htm

King Papers Go Public
January 16, 2009

For the first time, a major portion of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers are publicly accessible, allowing scholars and casual researchers to obtain a wealth of documents related to civil rights history.

The documents became available January 13 at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. They represent more than 75 percent of a 10,000-item collection bought by a group of civic and business leaders in 2006 from King’s family for $32 million.

King scholar Clayborne Carson, founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, has been named executive director of the papers and distinguished professor at Morehouse College. Morehouse College, King’s undergraduate alma mater, is custodian of the collection.

The Morehouse King collection includes the personal library and many of original manuscripts, writings, and sermons of Dr. King from 1946 to 1968. About seven thousand pieces are handwritten by King, including an early draft of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and nearly one hundred sermons, some of which never have been published.

“The religious documents are the ones that have not been available to scholars,” Carson told the Journal Constitution. He said he has spent the last twenty years trying to make King materials available for future generations. “This is a major step forward,” he said. “At the end of this process, it will be a lot easier for researchers to do their work.”

The Woodruff Library papers are one of three major King collections. Others are at the King Center in Atlanta, and at Boston University, where King received his doctorate in systematic theology. King donated a collection to the university in 1964.

The collection will be made available through secure dedicated computer stations located in the Archives and Special Collections Department of the library. Books located only in the collection can be obtained through the collection’s staff from 1:00-5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit http://www.auctr.edu/mlkcollection/.

Ethics Center Director on 60 Minutes
January 6, 2009

Paul Root Wolpe, director of Emory’s Center for Ethics, discussed the ethical ramifications of using MRIs to “read” people’s thoughts on the January 4 airing of 60 Minutes.

“I always tell my students that there is no science fiction anymore. All the science fiction I read in high school, we're doing,” Wolpe told reporter Lesley Stahl.

He was referring to the use of MRI linked with computers to recognize patterns in the brain that allow researchers to accurately identify simple thoughts a person is having in real time.

In one demonstration, a subject was shown a series of ten simple drawings (a screwdriver, a castle, etc) while undergoing an MRI and asked to think briefly about each one. The researchers then asked the computer to tell them which objects the subject had thought about. The machine got it right 100 percent of the time.

Experts warn that the technology is still unproven and won’t be a practical for more complicated tasks for some time to come—if ever. Suggested applications of the include lie detection, tracking where a person has been by comparing a person’s memory patterns to images of known places, and recognizing someone’s product preferences.

But the technology also raises important ethical issues. “The right to keep one’s thoughts locked up in their brain is amongst the most fundamental rights of being human,” Wolpe said. “I have two teenage daughters. I come home one day and my car is dented and both of them say they didn’t do it. Am I going to be allowed to drag them off to the local brain imaging lie detection company and get them put in a scanner? We don't know.”

In one chilling example, last year a woman in India was convicted of murder after an EEG of her brain allegedly revealed that she was familiar with the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of her ex-fiancé.

To see the entire 60 Minutes segment, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4697682n

To read an AE interview with Wolpe on clinical ethics, visit the December 08/January 09 issue.

Nemeroff permanently removed from psychiatry chairmanship
December 23, 2008

Emory has permanently removed Charles B. Nemeroff as chairman of the psychiatry department and placed severe restrictions on the internationally known psychiatrist’s extracurricular activities. Emory announced those and other decisions regarding Nemeroff in a December 22 letter to the National Institutes of Health: http://www.pharmalot.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/emory-letter-to-nih.pdf.

In addition to losing his chairmanship, Nemeroff will not be able to apply for NIH grants for at least two years and will need pre-approval from the dean of the medical school for any outside income. Emory will re-evaluate the situation in Fall 2010 and determine whether Nemeroff may resume applications for research support. Emory’s psychiatry department received $22 million in NIH grants last year.

The announcement follows an internal investigation into $800,000 in payments made to Nemeroff by the global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline between January 2000 and January 2006. Nemeroff received the payments for more than 250 speeches he made to other medical professionals.

Nemeroff has been a central figure in a federal investigation of whether drug company payments to doctors and academics skew research in favor of certain drugs. Emory’s investigation found that Nemeroff had violated the university’s policies by not reporting his outside income from GlaxoSmithKline. He was Emory’s chairman of the department of psychiatry since 1991. Nemeroff was paid by other drug companies, but the university only reviewed payments from GlaxoSmithKline because it was his largest single payer, and the company cooperated with Emory.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking member of the Committee on Finance, applauded Emory’s actions on Monday, calling them “swift and sure-footed.” The committee is conducting an investigation into NIH grants and how drug company money paid to researchers compromises research and scholarship.

A harsh letter to Emory from Grassley last week warned school officials of the potential penalties for making false statements or obstructing a congressional examination, and questioned whether Nemeroff has honestly portrayed some of his activities funded by pharmaceutical companies. The NIH has frozen funds for a $9.3 million project on depression led by Nemeroff, and has instituted tighter rules on approving grants for Emory. In October, Emory established a new central office to oversee enforcement of conflict of interest policies.

To read the Academic Exchange recap, visit


To read the latest reporting in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, visit




Young Named Curator of Literary Collections
December 19, 2008

Kevin Young, Haygood Professor of English, was named curator of literary collections for the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

Young, an award-winning poet and editor, brings to the job the perspectives of a scholar, a writer, and a teacher of writing, said Vice Provost and Director of Emory Libraries Rick Luce. “As a result of his experiences, Kevin understands the context in which manuscripts, archives, and rare books are used,” Luce said. “On the scholarly side, he has deep knowledge of literary collections, both prose and poetry.”

Young said his plans as curator include “focusing further on Emory’s diverse strengths in modern literature, particularly Irish, African American and British literature.” He also is interested in building an archive of poetry audio recordings to complement Emory’s already strong holdings in the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and throughout MARBL.

“I’m delighted to expand my role further in MARBL and at Emory,” Young said. “The collections are so international and inclusive already, with archives from Salman Rushdie to Lucille Clifton, that I am quite excited to continue that trajectory. Plus, it’s a real treat to be the curator working with the papers of Seamus Heaney, whom I studied with years ago.”

Young’s international reputation stems from the six poetry collections he’s authored and four he’s edited. His fifth collection, For the Confederate Dead, won the 2007 Quill Award in Poetry and has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as on National Public Radio (NPR).

On December 12, young could be heard on NPR’s radio show All Things Considered reading his poem “Ode to Sweet Potato Pie,” which the commentator, Alan Cheuse, described as “a loving but wrenching tribute to his late father,” adding that “no other poet writing today uses such popular forms to such great advantage.” To view and hear the story in full, click here.

Web Database Catalogs Slaves’ Trans-Atlantic Journeys
December 12, 2008

Emory has launched “Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database,” a new web tool designed to help millions of African Americans get closer to their African ancestors who were forced onto slave ships. The debut, which marks the bicentennial of the official end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808, caught the attention of national media.

David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, who helped direct the project, told the Associated Press that “It’s basically doing for people of African descent what already exists for people of European descent in the Americas.”

“Voyages” documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World that took place over three centuries—between the 1500s and 1800s—and includes searchable information on nearly 35,000 trips and the names of 70,000 human cargo.

The database can be used to connect African Americans to their heritage in a way that has long been possible for white Europeans. It includes data on more than 95 percent of all voyages that left ports from England—the country with the second-largest slave trade —and documents two-thirds of all slave trade voyages between 1514 and 1866. Genealogy and DNA tracing have gained popularity for blacks looking to trace their slave roots, and “Voyages” could help give a fuller picture of slavery for a culture stripped of its heritage.

“It’s not a super tool for genealogists because you cannot make that connection from ancestor to voyager, but it does give a context,” Eltis said, explaining that because the database lists the slaves’ African names, which were later Westernized, researching an ancestor by name is difficult. For someone who knows that an ancestor was enslaved in certain part of the South, the database might help them identify where in Africa they most likely came from, said Leslie Harris, associate professor of history and chair of the African American Studies program. “When people study the slave trade, they often talk about the large numbers” said Harris, “It’s just one of those human things to want to know where we came from and who our ancestors were.”

To read the New York Times article about the debut of the database, click here.

The Page 99 Test
December 8, 2008

Page 99 Test

Page 69 Test

The purpose of the Campaign for American Reader is to inspire more people to spend more time reading books. But it’s also come up with interesting ways for avid readers to look at well-known books in new ways. In the Page 99 Test, the blog invites authors to turn to take a close look at only what appears on page 99 of one of their own books. The test was inspired by a quote by Ford Madox Ford, an English novelist and poet: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

Emory authors are well represented. Recently, Clifton Crais, professor of history, and Pamela Scully, associate professor of women’s studies and African studies, delved into page 99 of their book Sara Baartman and the Hotentot Venus. “And thus we come to page 99,” they write. “After talking of her life on the South African frontier and then in Cape Town, and detailing her life in London, we now come to the only time in the record where we hear Sara Baartman speak. We now prepare ourselves, as writers and also readers, we think, with some relief, to hear the truth. But this page cautions us to hold our breaths . . . ” To view the blog entry, see http://page99test.blogspot.com/2008/11/crais-scullys-sara-baartman-and.html .

Michael Elliot, associate professor and director of graduate in the department of English, looks at his book Custerology: The Enduring Legacy of the Indian Wars and George Armstrong Custer. Page 99 of the book concerns Steve Alexander, a living historian who portrays Custer in reenactments. Elliot writes that “this page shows that Steve’s deep historical enthusiasm has helped me to understand why Custer is such a significant icon for the United States. What makes the page typical is how it shuttles between the present and the past.” To view the blog entry, visit http://page99test.blogspot.com/2007/09/michael-elliotts-custerology.html.

The Campaign for the American Reader similarly sponsors the Page 69 Test blog, which featured the work of Joseph Crespino, associate professor of history in an entry last year. "Page 69 puts us in the middle of white Mississippians’ confusion about how to reconcile their Christian belief and their segregationist practice," Crespino writes. "Segregationists made two very different religious arguments about how to justify Jim Crow." To view the blog entry, visit http://page69test.blogspot.com/2007/05/in-search-of-another-country.html.

Update: More Emory faculty blogs
December 3, 2008

Douglas Bremner‘s Blog

Melvin Konner‘s Blog

Louise Horney’s Blog

Do you blog, too? Let the AE know! Email the editor at aadam02@emory.edu.

J. Douglas Bremner takes aim at the health industry and includes particularly harsh reports of the pharmaceutical industry’s corrupting effects on academic research and propagation of disinformation to the public (www.beforeyoutakethatpill.com/2008/10/placebos.html).

Recently, Bremner, an Emory professor of psychiatry and radiology, honed in on the disclosure that Fred Goodwin, the well-regarded (at least until now) psychiatrist and host of the NPR radio show The Infinite Mind, had taken more than $1.2 million in speaking fees from the drugmaker Glaxo, which he did not disclose to the show’s producers. “Well, it is not enough that pharma has spread its influence through the medical industrial complex, it looks like they also have infiltrated the medical media as well,” wrote Bremner.

Emory faculty blogger Melvin J. Konner, Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, says that the purpose of his blog is to “encourage a scientific approach to human nature and experience and to explore the interaction between biology and behavior, medicine and society, nature and culture” (www.melvinkonner.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&Itemid=46).

His recent entries cover the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the economy. In an entry entitled “Driving Mr. Bubble,” Konner describes a late-night conversation with a limo driver on the way to the White Plains, New York, airport: “As we chatted in the dark along the highway, he described driving limos after his twenty years were in, finally saving enough to buy his own car and be his own man. ‘Normally I wouldn't have to take a ride at this hour. I would pass it to somebody else. But nobody's traveling any more. I'm down to half the rides I used to get. Everybody's 401K is a 201K.’”

Louise Horney is a geriatrician at Wesley Woods on sabbatical for a Fulbright fellowship year at Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey. Her blog, All in All in Turkey, offers general impressions of ”whatever strikes my fancy during the nine months of a Fulbright ‘year,‘” since she arrived in September. Most recently, she reports of the morning in November when "the Turks stood still" to commemorate the death of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), known as the father of modern Turkey: "Shopkeepers stepped out onto the sidewalk; pedestrians stopped where they were; workers in upper story offices came to the windows and for one minute the whole Turkish world stood still."

Faculty blogs take on diverse issues and interests
December 1, 2008

Gregory Berns’s blog

Deborah Lipstadt’s blog

Though they follow disparate intellectual paths, Emory professors Gregory Berns, in psychiatry, and Deborah Lipstadt, in Jewish studies, share at least one commonality: both share their thoughts and insights, and maybe stir up a few as well, in blogs.

Berns, whose blog appears on the Psychology Today blog page (http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/plus2sd), covers subjects as varied as the relationship between money and happiness, the technology of mind reading, and why hope, not the Federal Reserve Bank, is the engine of the economy. In his latest entry, “The Stupidity of Crowds,” Berns laments the herd mentality of Atlantans during the gasoline shortage that followed Hurricane Ike. As word spread that stations were running out of fuel, residents seemed almost eager to queue up, in some cases for several hours, to top off their tanks. “The empty pumps freaked out more people, causing even more folks to top off the tanks and now setting off something just short of a full fledged panic. All the gas stations in my neighborhood ran dry this weekend. A few miles away, the one remaining station that did have gas had a line of cars that ran twenty deep.” He also quipped that “Atlanta has a long history of, well, acting stupid when something even remotely out of the ordinary threatens the status quo,” such as just the rumor that a snowstorm is approaching.

While Berns’s tone—and topics—tend toward the lighthearted, Lipstadt’s lean decidedly the other way (http://lipstadt.blogspot.com/). Her central (but not exclusive) themes are Holocaust denial, antisemitism, free speech, and political correct idiocies, as stated on her front page. Headlines such as “Mumbai: The Terrible Tragedy,”Poland and the Jews: A New Era,” or “The Emory Wheel and Other ‘Antisemitic’ Incidents at Emory,” leave no doubt about the tenor. In a short November 28 entry, Lipstadt writes that “Some of the commentators on CNN persist in talking about militants. What does one have to do to be considered a terrorism? Kill more than 140 people? Take control of more than places?” In a November 30 entry about the Mumbai massacre, she says that “This entire event has demonstrated that these kind of terrorists have found a new form of terrorism with terrible terrible implications. These are people whose minds have been corrupted and who have lost any sense of morality. I say that even as we know so little about them.”

Berns’s and Lipstadt’s blog entries both elicit comments from a broad readership.

University Presidents Forfeit Pay in Face of Economic Woes
November 26, 2008

A number of university presidents have announced they would give back part of their pay or forgo their raises, according to news reports. The decisions came during the week that the Chronicle of Higher Education published its annual survey of university presidents’ pay. Examples include

• The chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, Mark S. Wrighton, who said he would take two 5 percent salary cuts next year.

• Penn President Amy Gutmann, one of several private school presidents earning more than $1 million, who announced a $100,000 gift to the university for undergraduate research.

• Mark Emmert, the president of the University of Washington, who refused a raise scheduled for this year.

• Washington State President Elson S. Floyd, who volunteered to take a pay cut.

• University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, who informed his board of trustees that he did not want a pay increase next year, and will continue to contribute 10 percent of his base salary to the university.

Pat Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, said he had never heard of such a wave of givebacks. “When you see a cluster like this,” he said in the November 22 New York Times, “it seems like sort of belated recognition that this presidential pay thing has gotten out of hand. People are getting tuition increases, some faculty are facing layoffs, it just doesn’t look too good for presidents, no matter how capable they are, to be getting so much money. Americans have had a touching faith in higher education; it’s losing its good image with the public.”

The Times article went on to say that Wrighton, of Washington University, pointed out that the university’s endowment had declined about 25 percent since July 1, that some capital projects were being delayed, and that faculty salary increases would be lower than in past years. Wrighton said he had a base salary of about $560,000 and a total compensation package of about $780,000. He also earns about $360,000 from serving on two corporate boards.

“This was well under way before The Chronicle came out,” Mr. Wrighton told the Times. “I’m generously compensated, I know that. We’re in very difficult financial times. I’m in a position that is not at risk, but the rest of the university community, especially in administration and support, must be wondering if their jobs are secure. I wanted to let the community know that I’m sensitive to the situation.”

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the salary and benefits for the highest paid presidents at private schools in 2006-07 were

1. $2,800,461 Suffolk University, David J. Sargent

2. $2,065,143 Vanderbilt University, E. Gordon Gee*

3. $1,742,560 Northwestern University, Henry S. Bienen

4. $1,661,675 Rochester Institute of Technology, Albert J. Simone

5. $1,411,894 Columbia University, Lee C. Bollinger

6. $1,326,774 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Shirley Ann Jackson

7. $1,324,874 New York University, John E. Sexton

8. $1,159,269 Simmons College, Susan C. Scrimshaw

9. $1,088,786 University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann

10. $1,060,772 Johns Hopkins University, William R. Brody

11. $1,040,420 Emory University, James W. Wagner

* resigned in 2007 and forfeited more than $1 million in benefits

Political Cartoon Sparks Anger and Debate
November 24, 2008

A political cartoon in the November 14 Emory Wheel equating Israel’s security wall to the brutal Nazi imprisonment and persecution of Jews in Polish ghettos has outraged many readers. Some responded with letters critical of both the cartoonist and the newspaper, and a sizable group demanded an apology and retraction. Even some of the paper’s editors condemned the cartoon, and at least one reader said it smacks of anti-Semitism.

In a commentary accompanying the cartoon, Dylan Woodliff, the student cartoonist, wrote that “I feel there are some eerie similarities between the boundary wall erected in Jerusalem and the walls of the Jewish ghettos in Europe during World War II. . . . I have no intention of inciting a connection with the Holocaust.”

The newspaper’s managing editor and sports editor took strong exception and wrote that “Although we accept the ultimate decision to print the. . . . cartoon in the interests of free speech, we wholly disagree with the message. . . . This cartoon simply demeans the suffering of the millions of Jewish, Polish, homosexual and handicapped victims of the Holocaust and promotes the wrong position that there can be any equivalences drawn between the perpetrators of the Holocaust and other contemporary event.”

A full-page ad sponsored by Emory Hillel and Emory Students for Israel, and signed by more than three hundred students, appeared in the same issue, and in the following issue (November 18), a letter signed by more than thirty-five faculty members stated that “The cartoon published in the Emory Wheel comparing Jews to Nazis is historically inaccurate, belittling to the holocaust, slanderous to Israel and the Jewish people and, in our view, frankly anti-Semitic. The Wheel owes all its readers a retraction and an apology. We acknowledge the Wheel’s First Amendment rights, and we assert our own right to denounce the bigoted and irresponsible content that it may print.”

The Wheel also published an editorial by Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, who said “The Germans put Jews from throughout Europe in ghettoes to either die a slow death of starvation, deprivation and disease or a faster death with a bullet or poison gas. . . . Whatever one thinks if Israeli policy, to describe it as akin to the Nazi policy of murdering all of European Jewry is to engage in antisemitism and a form of Holocaust denial.” Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust, fought and won a lawsuit in the British court system against David Irving, who sued her for slander in 2000. Irving claimed that Lipstadt’s book mischaracterized his views about the Holocaust Some students responded to the harsh criticism of the cartoon with their own retort in the November 21 issue of the Wheel. One wrote that “the response of the faculty through the petition and op-eds are disappointing. Woodliff was making a political comparison between the events of 1940 and 2008—not casting any kind of ethnoracist judgment on Jews.”

Click here to view Dylan Woodliff's cartoon in question.

Click here to read editorial responses from faculty and others printed in the Wheel.

Panel appointed to review ethics policies
November 10, 2008
Emory President James Wagner has appointed the President’s Advisory Commission on Research Integrity and Professional Conflict Management to review the university’s policies and practices regarding potential conflicts of interest.

Paul Root Wolpe, director of Emory’s Center for Ethics and Asa Griggs Candler professor of bioethics, will chair the panel. Nine other faculty members, representing medicine, law, business, philosophy, and psychology, have also been named to the panel. According to the president’s charge to the commission, “members of Emory are expected to strive for the highest degree of integrity,” and that the school has “a special obligation to ensure that the public trust remains secure. . . . Allowing for appropriate support and for flexibility in relationships outside the University, however, places a special responsibility on the University to sustain strong policies, practices, and a culture geared towards eliminating the possibility that individuals, wittingly or unwittingly, might compromise or bias scholarly contributions, research findings, patient care, teaching, mentoring, and by extension the University’s reputation.

“[The commission] is to serve together as an ad hoc body with the responsibility of preparing an advisory report on the status of the above issues along with concrete recommendations for improving our current policies and processes.”

Creation of the commission comes during an internal investigation into the financial ties of a top university psychiatrist, Charles Nemeroff, who has also been a target of a U.S. Senate Finance Committee investigation into conflicts of interest created when drug companies give money to medical researchers, and the impact of those payments on academics and scholarship. The most prominent allegation, of several, against Nemeroff is that he earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, but failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to Emory and violated federal research rules.

Democrats Repackage Message with Help of Emory Professor
November 5, 2008
Democrats have long struggled to fight Republican rhetorical dominance that has shaped (often unfavorably for democrats) debate about important issues. Republicans, for example, made Democrats run away from the “liberal” label because they convinced many Americans that the term represented values that many did not share, even when that wasn’t actually the case.

In the 2008 election cycle, a growing number of Democrats found help in the Message Handbook for Progressives from Left to Center, written by Emory Professor of Psychology Drew Westen. Westen’s work and its growing influence among Democrats, was described in an October 30 New York Times article. According to the article, several Democratic consultants say that Westen has created the first systematic, data-driven effort to mold the language of the left to fit the sensibilities of the center.

Westen’s advice was evident when Alisha Thomas Morgan, running for re-election to the Georgia House in a conservative suburb of Atlanta, used the word “leadership” in place of “government” and spoke about the middle class instead of the poor. Or when Andrew Gillum, a city commissioner in Tallahassee, Fla., who is fighting a ballot initiative against same-sex marriage, told members of his predominantly Black church of the human desire for dignity and respect instead of lecturing them on the evils of discrimination.

Westen’s ideas began catching on when he wrote The Political Brain, a scientific explanation of the central role of emotion in politics, published in 2007, that urged Democrats to stop cowering and fight back. He advises jettisoning wonkish twelve-point plans in favor of direct emotional appeals that can compete with those evoked by Republicans using terms like “family values” and “the war on terror.”
“We are a centrist nation,” said Westen, ”but people prefer center-left to center-right, even in conservative parts of the country, if they hear equally strong messages on both sides.”

“There’s almost a rebirth, or a pride, that we can really talk about what we believe and not do so shamefully,” Gillum said, adding that Dr. Westen’s advice had given him the confidence to speak his mind even on conservative talk radio. “If we communicate it through our stories and our real-life examples, if they don’t agree with you then they can at least understand where you come from.”
Westen’s ideas have also taken hold with influential Democrats like Howard Dean, the Democratic National Chairman, and Vice-President Elect Joseph Biden, who recommended The Political Brain to his campaign staff.

Click here to view the New York Times article in full.

Emory on iTunes U launches
October 31, 2008
Emory has launched “Emory on iTunes U,” in collaboration with Apple’s iTunes U initiative. Beginning October 28, hundreds of audio and video downloads from Emory professors and presenters—from lectures by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to readings from best selling author Alice Walker—were accessible to anyone with an iPhone, Mac, or PC.

iTunes U features free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more from top institutions and other cultural organizations. Anyone—not just students—can use the service whenever they want, and download files material through the iTunes Store, a part of the iTunes software [free for Macs and PCs].
“Imagine having access to learn from the best minds at Emory whenever you like. Combine that with a larger site that aggregates and provides access to the brightest minds from top institutions around the world. That is iTunes U,” says Emory’s iTunes U system administrator Shannon O’Daniel.

The internal side of iTunes U, Exclusively Emory, has been available to students, faculty, and staff with an Emory ID since last fall. This semester, thirty active academic courses and more materials are offered through Exclusively Emory.

Emory’s public site launches with approximately eight hundred tracks from forty album collections. Visitors can find information ranging from academic and research materials to news and events in collections like Emory’s MiniMedical School, or tune in to Carlos Conversations, a series of podcasts that explore works of art in Emory’s Carlos Museum. Alumni can reminisce with Emory Glee Club tracks from the 1960s, and fans of Alice Walker can listen to interviews with and readings by the Pulitzer Prize winning author who has placed her archive at Emory.

“One collection that is distinctly Emory is the language resources we have available through the Emory College Language Center. We believe we have the largest collection of materials supporting language acquisition,” says O’Daniel. “We offer introductory and advanced materials from Emory professors in eight languages and more to come.”

Users have the option to “subscribe” to a program or course free of charge. “Once you subscribe to a collection, any new materials posted are automatically downloaded to your iTunes library,” says O’Daniel. “Think of it as that magazine in your mailbox every week or every month. You don’t have to go back to check what’s new; it’s delivered to you.”

Emory plans to add more content as the school year progresses. “The site is in its infancy. We have so much terrific content already; the growth is going to be exponential,” says O’Daniel.

For more information, visit itunes.emory.edu.

To read previous AE coverage of iTunes U, click here.

British Library buys archive of poet Ted Hughes
October 23, 2008
The British Library has announced that it bought a major archive of materials by poet Ted Hughes from the writer’s estate for 500,000 pounds ($880,000), according to an October 14 Associated Press story. The material ranges from recollections of fishing trips to correspondence with literary figures including poets Seamus Heaney, Kathleen Raine, and Thom Gunn. The library said the 224 boxes and folders of manuscripts, letters, journals, and personal diaries would be an invaluable resource for literary researchers.

Hughes was the British poet laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998 at age 68. He is considered one of Britain’s most significant twentieth-century poets, and he remains one of the best-selling. His final collection, The Birthday Letters, has sold half a million copies since it was published a decade ago.

In 1997, the bulk of Hughes’s papers were sold to Emory, which had long shown an interest in his work. (In 2003, Emory acquired the library that belonged to Hughes, which numbers more than 6,000 volumes.) His wife, Carol Hughes, said she was delighted some of his archive would stay in Britain.

Hughes’s personal life continues to fascinate. His first wife was fellow writer Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide in 1963. Their relationship was depicted in the 2003 movie Sylvia, which starred Gwyneth Paltrow as Plath and Daniel Craig as Hughes.

The library said the archive includes extensive material, including early drafts and unpublished poems, relating to The Birthday Letters, Hughes’s collection exploring his fraught marriage to Plath. They reveal he originally intended the book to be called The Sorrows of the Deer.

Rachel Foss, the library’s curator of modern literary manuscripts, said the archive was “an inestimably important addition” to its collection. “Ted was a man of these islands — their landscapes, rivers and wild places — and it is fitting that papers covering such an important part of his creative life should be deposited with such a prestigious institution here in Britain,” she said.

The library said it hoped to have the archive catalogued and available to researchers by the end of next year.

Nemeroff Fallout: Emory Faces Tighter Rules for Obtaining NIH Money
October 15, 2008
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has imposed tighter rules on improving grants for Emory, including more thorough checks and documentation on researchers’ outside activities and potential conflicts of interest. The more stringent conditions come in the wake of revelations that Emory researcher Charles Nemeroff had collected millions of dollars in speaking and consulting fees from drug companies whose products he has reviewed and promoted.

The NIH has also frozen funds for a $9.3 million project on depression led by Nemeroff, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The project had been underway for two of its proposed five years. Nemeroff has stepped down as chairman of the university’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences while Emory conducts its own probe of Nemeroff’s questionable activities. Nemeroff maintains that he believes he followed Emory rules for such disclosures.

On October 14, Emory has announced that it has created a new university-wide central office to oversee administration and enforcement of conflict of interest policies. And in an October 10 letter, David L. Wynes, Vice President for Research Administration, informed Emory’s research community of new financial disclosure regulations that will apply to investigators working on new and pending NIH grants. According to the letter, the award conditions will affect both the submission of proposals to the NIH as well as the receipt of funding. The conditions are designed to improve Emory’s management of financial conflicts of interest among researchers.

“We understand the need for integrity in research,” said provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Earl Lewis, and executive vice president for health affairs, Fred Sanfilippo in a university news release. “We believe creating oversight of conflict of interest issues in a new central office will help us ensure strong conflict of interest policies and procedures University-wide.”

Prominent Emory psychiatrist accused of violating federal research rules
October 6, 2008
Charles B. Nemeroff, professor and chairman of psychiatry at Emory and a prominent figure in his field, earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to Emory, and violated federal research rules, according to the New York Times. The paper cited as its primary source documents provided to Congressional investigators.

The article said that Nemeroff signed a letter dated July 15, 2004, promising Emory administrators that he would earn less than $10,000 a year from the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to comply with federal rules. But on that day, he was at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earning $3,000 of what would become $170,000 in income that year from that company — seventeen times the figure he had agreed on.

The Congressional inquiry, led by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is systematically asking some of the nation’s leading researchers to provide their conflict-of-interest disclosures, and Grassley is comparing those documents with records of actual payments from drug companies. The records often conflict, sometimes starkly.
“After questioning about twenty doctors and research institutions, it looks like problems with transparency are everywhere,” Grassley said. “The current system for tracking financial relationships isn’t working.”

The article said that the findings suggest that universities are all but incapable of policing their faculty’s conflicts of interest. Almost every major medical school and medical society is now reassessing its relationships with drug and device makers. The Times described Nemeroff as a charismatic speaker and a widely admired scientist who has written more than 850 research reports and reviews. He was editor in chief of the influential journal Neuropsychopharmacology. His research has focused on the long-term mental health risks associated with child abuse as well as the relationship between depression and cardiovascular disease. The Times said Nemeroff did not respond to calls and e-mail messages.

Jeffrey L. Molter, an Emory spokesman, wrote in an e-mail statement that the university was “working diligently to determine whether our policies have been observed consistently with regard to the matters cited by Senator Grassley,” and a statement posted on Emory’s website says that “In view of the ongoing internal and external investigations into these allegations, Dr. Nemeroff will voluntarily step down as chairman of the department, effective immediately, pending resolution of these issues,” and that “Dr. Nemeroff has assured us that: ‘To the best of my knowledge, I have followed the appropriate University regulations concerning financial disclosures. I have dedicated my career to translating research findings into improvements in clinical practice in patients with severe mental illness. I will cooperate fully and work with Emory to respond to the alleged conflicts of interest issues raised by Senator Grassley and his staff.’” (To see the entire statement, visit: http://www.emory.edu/home/news/releases/2008/10/statement-emory-and-dr.-charles-nemeroff.html)

The National Institutes of Health have strict rules regarding conflicts of interest among grantees, the Times article continued, but the institutes rely on universities for oversight. If a university fails, the agency has the power to suspend its entire portfolio of grants, which for Emory amounted to $190 million in 2005, although the agency rarely takes such drastic measures. According to the article, Emory “did nothing” after Nemeroff repeatedly assured the university that he had not exceeded the limit.

Nemeroff was the principal investigator for a five-year $3.9 million grant financed by the National Institute of Mental Health for which GlaxoSmithKline provided drugs. Income of $10,000 or more from the company in any year of the grant—a threshold Nemeroff crossed in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, records show—would have required Emory to inform the institutes and take steps to deal with the conflict or to remove Nemeroff as the investigator.

To view the entire article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/health/policy/04drug.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=nemeroff&st=cse&oref=slogin

Further, according to a Sunday, October 5, Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, Emory officials said that Nemeroff has been accused several times in recent years of not disclosing earnings from drug companies and not revealing potential conflicts of interest. “There were serious allegations in the past, and now there are even more allegations. And we are investigating,” Provost Earl Lewis told the AJC. Nemeroff's actions have been called into question by Emory's conflict of interest committee several times since 2004, according to the article.

Lewis said that the prior inquiries into Nemeroff’s conduct mainly concerned “questions raised, rather than absolute findings of guilt.” He added that depending on the outcome of the university’s own probe, the allegations could lead to the firing of Nemeroff.

The AJC also reported that the revelations could have an impact on Emory's NIH funding: "When Emory’s researchers apply for NIH grants, the university has the responsibility under federal regulations to monitor and manage any potential conflicts of interest those individuals may have."

To view the entire AJC article, visit

In related news, Eli Lilly announced that it will become the first drugmaker to voluntarily disclose all payments more than $500 made to individual physicians for advice, speeches and other services. Lilly said that it would disclose payments to physicians for travel, entertainment and gifts. The disclosure will begin in the second half of 2009 and will include payments made during the first half of 2009. The drugmaker was also the first to disclose its educational grants for medical conferences. Lilly does not plan to disclose information on payments made before 2009. The payments will be listed on a public web site, which will be available to the public at no cost. The information is likely to include physicians’ names and hometowns.

In 2011, Lilly plans to begin disclosing payments made for clinical research and other provisions called for in the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which currently is pending in Congress. Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, commented that “the ethical handwriting is on the wall. Disclosure is coming. States are pushing for it, and once a few states do, it’s hard to imagine the federal government won’t line up behind. I think that’s a good thing because we have a great deal of empirical evidence that gift giving can influence behavior in terms of prescriptions, publishing positive findings but suppressing negative findings, and generating enthusiasm for new drugs.”

But Peter Lurie, deputy director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, said he was skeptical that Lilly’s move would increase transparency because it is only one company. He added, “This is Ely Lilly’s attempt to forestall the federal legislation by saying we’re in effect complying anyway.” According to Lurie, drugmakers should disclose all payments over $25, adding that the $500 threshold was too high.

Senator Grassley, sponsor of the Sunshine bill, applauded the announcement but said he will continue to push for legislation requiring disclosure. He said, “Consumers and taxpayers deserve a federal requirement that applies to all kinds of payments to physicians in every state in the nation.”

Sources: Indianapolis Star, September 24; Kansas City Star, September 23
CongressDaily Website, May 8; American Health Line Website, September 24

The February/March 2007 issue of the Academic Exchange examined the thorny issue of conflict of interest between medical researchers and the drug and device makers that fund much of their research: http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2007/febmar/lead.html

Anthropology’s Armelagos wins Frans Boas Award
October 3, 2008
George Armelagos, professor and chair of anthropology at Emory University, has won the 2008 Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology. The career achievement award is the highest honor given by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), with previous winners including the likes of Margaret Mead.

During a career spanning more than four decades and counting, Armelagos has blazed trails in paleopathology, helped found the specialty of nutritional anthropology, and integrated his research with teaching in ways that inspired legions of students.

The son of Greek immigrants, Armelagos grew up outside of Detroit. While still a graduate student, he worked on a dig funded by the National Science Foundation in Sudanese Nubia, including human remains that dated back five hundred to ten thousand years.

"Every skeleton has a story to tell," says Armelagos. "You can learn how a person lived, and how they died."

He also applied epidemiology and demography to study patterns of illness and death among populations. This approach to paleopathology led to a flurry of groundbreaking papers.

The amount of scholarship done by Armelagos and his colleagues have made the Sudanese Nubians the most studied archeological population in the world. Working with his graduate students, Armelagos discovered tetracycline in the bones of the Nubians—the first documented case of ancient people consuming low levels of this naturally occurring antibiotic, which was likely generated by beer made from grain stored in clay pots.

Armelagos is a world expert on the impact of the human diet on evolution. In 1980, he co-wrote "Consuming Passions," about the anthropology of eating, which was popular in book clubs and is referenced in classrooms to this day.

His work documenting the origin and spread of non-venereal syphilis in the Old and New World has also garnered widespread interest, adding new clues in the debate over whether Columbus and his crew brought the devastating venereal variety of the disease home with them to Europe.

During fourteen years at Emory, as department chair and Goodrich C. White Professor, Armelagos has helped solidify the university's reputation as a national leader in the interdisciplinary, bio-cultural approach to anthropology. The stellar record of the students going on to prestigious jobs in academia is one mark of the department's success.

Chronicle of Higher Education features Emory's sustainable food initiatives
September 25, 2008
In a region of the nation where farming practices tend toward the conservative and conventional, Emory's Office of Sustainability is creating new market incentives for local, sustainable, seasonal food production, according to an article in the Septmber 26, 2008 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Emory is part of a national trend for local food offerings in campus dining facilities, and the measure is often used as a "litmus test" for an institution's overall commitment to sustainability, according to the article.

In an interview with Professor of Anthropology Peggy Barlett, the article notes, "the organic and local-food movements in Georgia are far behind those in other states. 'I couldn't say, Let's just work with the extension service,' Ms. Bartlett says. 'If I were at Cornell, all I would have to do is say to my county agent, Here is a list of what we need, and they know the farmers who produce it.'"

The Office of Sustainability is instead encouraging farmers to grow to Emory's needs and to investigate organic certification. For instance, they ask farmers to grow less squash and peppers and more mesclun greens and broccoli. At present, Emory's local food purchases stand at about 30 percent of its total. The university has pledged to increase that number to 75 percent by 2015.

One of the main challenges is relationships with major food service providers such as Sodexho and Aramark, which tend to work with distributors and growers that are insured against food-borne illness outbreaks and other liabilities.

Read the Chronicle of Higher Education article in its entirety.

Read Professor of Anthropology Peggy Barlett’s account of integrating sustainability and scholarship at Emory in the May 2008 issue of the Academic Exchange.

Scientists unravel why some primates, but not humans, can live with immunodeficiency viruses
September 19, 2008

A team of scientists from Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Emory Vaccine Center has discovered that the immune systems of sooty mangabeys are activated to a significantly lower extent during simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) infection than are the immune systems of rhesus macaques—a difference that may explain why SIV and infection with HIV infection leads to AIDS in some primate species but not others. The findings were reported in the September 17 issue of ScienceDaily.

“During both HIV infection in humans and SIV infection in macaques, the host immune system becomes highly activated, experiences increased destruction and decreased production of key immune effector cells and progressively fails as a result,” said the paper’s senior author Mark Feinberg, a former investigator at the Emory Vaccine Center and the Yerkes Research Center and a professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. “In contrast, natural hosts for SIV infection, like sooty mangabeys, do not exhibit aberrant immune activation and do not develop AIDS despite high levels of ongoing SIV replication.”

Surprisingly, the natural hosts for the AIDS viruses, such as the mangabeys and numerous other African primate species who have been found to harbor SIVs in the wild, remain healthy despite infection. Understanding how the natural hosts evolved to resist the development of immunodeficiency disease has long represented a key unsolved mystery in our understanding of AIDS. Furthermore, definition of the mechanisms by which they resist disease could help explain the mechanisms underlying AIDS progression in humans.

“Better understanding of the biological basis by which sooty mangabeys and the numerous primate species that represent natural hosts for AIDS virus infections have evolved to resist disease promises to teach us a great deal about the emergence of the AIDS pandemic, and about the mechanisms underlying AIDS progression in humans,” said Feinberg. “In addition, such insights will hopefully help inform new approaches to treat HIV infection most effectively.”

First authors of the paper are Judith N. Mandl, Graduate Program in Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution at Emory University and Ashley P. Barry who formerly was with the Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

To view the entire article, visit http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143900.htm

Collaboration with Local Theater Focuses on French Playwright
August 27, 2008

Emory will host a residency for French director Thierry de Peretti and his assistant, as well as members of Atlanta’s 7 Stages Theater company over the 2008-2009 academic year. The team will have many opportunities to interact with faculty and students while working on the translation and production of a play by Bernard-Marie Koltès, "The Day of Murders in the History of Hamlet" (Le Jour des meurtres dans l’histoire d’Hamlet).

The residency is one component of Emory’s About Koltès project, a series of events dedicated to the important French writer who is just beginning to find recognition in the U.S. It will include a Brave New Works reading, lectures, films, classroom visits, and a Schatten Gallery exhibit on Koltès in the spring of 2010. About Koltès will also foster connections to the Atlanta French consulate, which has been an active supporter of the project.

The About Koltès project and the residency are funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to Emory’s European Studies Project.

According to Judith Miller, associate professor of history and co-director of the European Studies Program, About Koltès is designed to foster a broad and inclusive conversation on the literary, cultural, and historical significance of Koltès’s oeuvre, with its provocative treatment of race, post-colonialism, sexuality, desire, economic inequality, and familial dysfunction.

About Koltès will also host a series of events on campus that offer opportunities for dialogue across disciplinary and professional boundaries about the playwright, who is very well known in Europe but little known in the U.S.

Miller added that the collaboration between Emory and 7 Stages will also add to Emory’s reputation in contemporary literature and the arts and to Atlanta’s standing as a major site for pathbreaking theatrical productions.

She added that colleagues from a wide range of departments and programs including French, theater studies, African-American studies, history, psychoanalytic studies, and gender studies, as well as the Humanities Council and the Playwriting Center, responded enthusiastically and imaginatively to the news of this undertaking last spring.

Emory Receives Federal Grant For Emergency Preparedness
August 15, 2008

Emory has received a grant of nearly half a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education to help develop and implement its emergency management plan. Emory's proposal was one of thirteen awards to colleges and universities nationwide that received a total of $5.2 million in new funding.

“This is the first time that the Department of Education has provided any funding for emergency management at universities, and we’re excited about having been selected from this competitive field,” said Alex Isakov, executive director of Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR).

He attributes the university’s successful bid for the grant to several factors,including the centralized structure of CEPAR within the university, the letters of support Emory received from community partners, the innovative approaches outlined in Emory’s plans, and the university’s likelihood of success in reaching its objectives.

Emory will use an “all-hazards approach” to improve and fully integrate Emory’s plans with the four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, said Robert Nadolski, CEPAR’s senior administrator.

Included in Emory’s plan are innovative approaches such as partnerships with other schools and agencies, new ways of communicating with students and their families, and new strategies for educating the community and creating a culture of preparedness.

The Emergency Management for Higher Education (EMHE) grants fund activities to help colleges and universities prepare for the whole range of threats that can impact a campus, including, but not limited to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, campus violence, suicides, and infectious disease outbreaks.

Click here to read AE coverage of Emory's preparations and response to the spectre of campus violence.

David Hilton, Physician, Teacher, Chaplain
August 11, 2008

David Hilton, a physician and professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, died on July 27. He seamlessly blended spirituality, science, and public health, and inspired his students, according to those who knew him.             

His approach to public health focused on self-sufficiency, according to Stan Foster, a professor at the Rollins School, who said that he taught students to empower communities to take control of their own health rather than be dependent on doctors.

“Many health workers go into a community thinking they have all the answers,” Foster said. “David taught students to go out and listen and facilitate communities to identify and solve their own problems.”

He put his beliefs into practice in Nigeria, with the Seminole Indians in Florida, globally with the World Council of Church’s Christian Medical Commission. At Emory, Hilton was also a chaplain who taught spirituality and health in the medical school and taught health as social justice at the Rollins School, according to Foster. “Whenever I had David teach a class, he never lectured. He posed a question and broke the class into small groups to wrestle with the question.”

A Bangladeshi student emailed Foster that Hilton was a man of compassion who understood the needs of the poor:  “The way he inspired students about the importance of community participation and empowerment, it’s simply extraordinary, not common.”

Hilton also guided first-year medical and public health students through what is for most their first encounter with a dead body. As a chaplain, he accompanied them to the anatomy lab for their first dissection and made them feel comfortable discussing spiritual matters, said the Rev. Bridgette Young, associate dean of the chapel and religious life. “He told the students that these people who donated their bodies are giving them a great gift. They are teachers for these students.

Hilton has donated his body to the Emory School of Medicine. He was 76.

Princeton Review Ranks Emory Among Top “Green Campuses”
July 30, 2008

The Princeton Review, an organization best known for its annual college rankings, has named Emory to its honor roll of green campuses. It’s the first time that the rankings will include a “green rating” category.

According to the Princeton Review’s description of Emory’s environmental commitment, “Sustainability initiatives at Emory include: building “green” with all new buildings constructed to LEED standards (with an emphasis on energy and water conservation), integrating sustainability into the curriculum (including the longest-running faculty development programs in sustainability in the country), promoting alternative transportation with a shuttle fleet that is 100% alternatively fueled; recycling Emory’s waste stream (65% by 2015), and providing local and sustainably-grown food.”

Only eleven schools merited mention for their environmental consciousness. Georgia Tech also made the list, along with Arizona State, Bates, Binghamton University, the College of the Atlantic, Harvard, Yale, and the Universities of New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington.

In a Princeton Review survey this year of 10,300 college applicants, 63 percent said that a college’s commitment to the environment could affect their decision to go there. Other groups are also ranking campuses for their green leanings. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, with more than 660 members, is developing a rating for environmental friendliness, according to a July 27 article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/education/edlife/27green.html), and at least six other organizations rated campus greenness last year. Forbes, Grist, and Sierra magazines published green ratings last year, and so did the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a research organization that assesses the greenness of an institution’s investment portfolio.

Read the Princeton Review’s green honor roll.

Read Professor of Anthropology Peggy Barlett’s account of integrating sustainability and scholarship at Emory in the May 2008 issue of the Academic Exchange.

New Center for Neuropolicy Links Biology, Politics, and Business
July 24, 2008

A new Center for Neuropolicy will explore how the biology of the brain influences decision making in politics, policy and business. As a partnership among researchers in the Emory School of Medicine, Emory College, and the Goizueta Business School, the center will strive to create an environment to accelerate discovery in an emerging field.

“Emory’s vision is to work collaboratively for positive transformation in the world,” said University President Jim Wagner. “This new center brings together some of the brightest minds at our university and has the potential to effect policy change on problems of global importance through an exciting and emerging field of discovery.”

The center is the vision of Gregory S. Berns, professor of psychiatry. Berns specializes in the use of brain imaging technologies to understand human motivation and decision making, with a special interest in neuroeconomics and social neuroscience. He will lead the center as the Emory Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics.

“For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists and economists have studied human decision making from different perspectives,” says Berns. “Although each has approached the problem with different theories and techniques, the basic question cuts across many fields: how do humans balance individual self-interest against societal good? We all live in groups. Sometimes groups make good decisions, but oftentimes groups behave worse than any of its members would. This new center will approach the problem of collective decision making from an entirely new perspective, by studying how the human brain functions in groups.”

The center is supported by three schools and will be developed over a span of five years. It will be divided into areas of teaching, research, and policy. Members of the center will conduct experiments focused on the biologically based pressures that influence collective decision making that they hope will lead to a new understanding about how culture, intelligence, and environment influence the way decisions are made, and how basic human tendencies drive judgment in certain situations.

Berns points out that we also need to understand how religious and political ideologies become transformed in the brain and can subvert basic self-survival value judgments, which occurs in war and terrorism.

“Collective decision making is political, but politics are biological. The human brain evolved to function in social groups. By discovering how our brains are wired to behave in group settings, we can begin figuring out solutions to problems of global impact,” says Berns.

Retirement Wave Changing Ideologies on Campuses
July 18, 2008

According to a July 3 New York Times article, baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who are different from their predecessors—less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

According to the article, individual colleges and organizations like the American Association of University Professors are already bracing for what has been labeled the graying of the faculty. More than 54 percent of full-time faculty members in the United States were older than fifty in 2005, compared with 22.5 percent in 1969. How many will actually retire in the next decade or so depends on personal preferences and health, as well as how their pensions fare in the financial markets.

Information on professors’ political and ideological leanings tends to be scarce, the article goes on to say. But a new study of the social and political views of American professors by Neil Gross at the University of British Columbia and Solon Simmons at George Mason University found that the notion of a generational divide is more than a glancing impression. “Self-described liberals are most common within the ranks of those professors aged 50-64, who were teenagers or young adults in the 1960s,” they wrote, making up just under 50 percent.

At the same time, the youngest group, aged twenty-six to thirty-five, contains the highest percentage of moderates, some 60 percent, and the lowest percentage of liberals, just under a third. “These findings with regard to age provide further support for the idea that, in recent years, the trend has been toward increasing moderatism,” the study says.

Changes in institutions of higher education themselves are reinforcing the generational shuffle. Health sciences, computer science, engineering and business—fields that have tended to attract a somewhat greater proportion of moderates and conservatives—have grown in importance and size compared with the more liberal social sciences and humanities, where many of the bitterest fights over curriculum and theory occurred.

At the same time, shrinking public resources overall and fewer tenure-track jobs in the humanities have pushed younger professors in those fields to concentrate more single-mindedly on their careers. Academia, once somewhat insulated from market pressures, is today treated like a business.

Click here to view the complete New York Times article.

Click here to read the Academic Exchange’s May 2007 coverage of the retirement wave.