The Strategic Plan for Emory

Updates and Highlights

From the Office of the Provost

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Internationalizing the Curriculum: Candler School of Theology
August 2010

Into the Top Five: Rollins School of Public Health
July 2010

Growth with Excellence: The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies
June 2010

Training the Next Generation of Doctors: Strategic Planning in the School of Medicine
April 2010

The Emory Center for Alternative Investments
March 2010

Oxford College: The Distinctive Potential of the First Two Baccalaureate Yearts
February 2010

Nursing Workforce Development and Partnerships
November 2009

Emory College of Arts and Sciences: Strategic Planning Implementation Update
October 2009

Strategic Plan Update Forthcoming
September 2009

Center for Ethics on the Front Lines
June 2009

Taking Stock of Our Progress: Revising the Strategic Plan
May 2009


Unraveling the Brain's Mysteries: The Neuroscience Initiative
April 2009

Creating Community and Engaging Society: Beyond the classroom
March 2009

Race and Difference Initiative: Building bridges
January 2009

Predictive Health and Society: From disease care to health care
December 2008

Strengthening Faculty Distinction
November 2008

Computational and Life Sciences Initiative Facilitates New Collaborations
October 2008

Preparing Engaged Scholars Supports Faculty
September 2008

Internationalization Plan
August 2008

Creativity and the Arts Initiative
July 2008

The Emory Global Health Institute
June 2008

Investing in Emory’s Vision: Implementation Update
May 2008

Religions and the Human Spirit Initiative
April 2008

Innovative art and science collaborations at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
September 2010

Art, science, technology, and history — in recent and upcoming projects, the Michael C Carlos Museum has served as a laboratory for these fields of inquiry to work side-by-side.

In keeping with Emory University’s mission to create, preserve, and share knowledge in the service of humanity, the Museum maintains a conservation lab and a university-based teaching program in art conservation to ensure preservation of knowledge through art and artifacts. 

The Museum’s conservation program has contributed to course offerings in the departments of art history, chemistry, and physics, provided for the training and mentoring of students, brought distinguished visiting conservators to campus, enhanced traditional curriculum, embedded Museum programs into the academic life of the University, and forged innovative connections between the sciences and the arts. 

With a recently awarded five-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the conservation laboratory will continue to collaborate with Emory’s science departments to chart an exciting, innovative path for faculty seeking new, creative approaches to undergraduate teaching and for students interested in opportunities that break through traditional curricular restrictions.    

These collaborations will take advantage of existing resources on campus, introduce students to methods and materials for the treatment and analysis of works of art, and create new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and teaching. 

Groundbreaking projects such as the Ramesses research and repatriation project have augmented Emory’s reputation as a place of courageous leadership by not only acquiring the exhibits, but also providing the necessary understanding of exhibit materials through educational programming.  Upcoming exhibits include Islamic Calligraphy and the Qur’an, which features 150 objects and works spanning from Spain and North Africa to greater Iran from the seventh to the 15th centuries.   

The Carlos Museum supports and advances the strategic goals of the University by highlighting faculty research, developing inquiry-driven interdisciplinary projects, providing public service through community education, creating international partnerships, and bringing “destination” works of art to campus. 

Internationalizing the Curriculum: Candler School of Theology
August 2010

The Candler School of Theology’s initiative to internationalize its curriculum is a leading response to the changing needs of theological education. January 2010 marked the beginning of  Candler’s Year of Internationalization with an emphasis on global awareness and engagement that spans throughout the entire school. 

In March 2010, Candler hosted Walter Cardinal Kasper for a five day visit. Cardinal Kasper is a Vatican official and a global leader in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, especially Christian-Jewish relations. Readers may immerse themselves in some of the visit by going to Candler’s web site to listen to the cardinal’s sermon in Cannon Chapel, watch a video, or read the text of the cardinal's public lecture at Glenn Auditorium, "The Timeliness of Speaking of God". 
This summer, Candler is partnering with International Relief and Development, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people around the world, to send eight interns from Candler and the Rollins School of Public Health to Cambodia, Mississippi, Mozambique, and Sudan.

This fall, the school will welcome Rev. Dr. Margot Kaessmann, former bishop of Hannover and head of the Evangelical Church in Germany, and Rev. Dr. Beauty Maenzanise, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe to campus. Candler will also begin implementing a grant received from the Wabash Center to help individual faculty internationalize their courses. All of these efforts and more address Candler’s strategic goals, as well as Emory’s strategic plan framing principles of internationalization and strategic collaborations that apply to all strategic themes, initiatives, and schools and units. 

Into the Top Five: The Rollins School of Public Health
July 2010

The new Claudia Nance Rollins Building is the most visible sign of the major strategic initiatives that are catapulting the Rollins School of Public Health into the top five schools of public health in the world.

As this new building opens in July 2010, its 190,000 square feet are set to provide needed instructional, laboratory, and office space to support the school’s rapid growth. It also permits the school’s many programs and strategic initiatives, which have been scattered among five locations, to share one roof.

The School also continues to recruit outstanding faculty as it strives to increase the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty to one hundred. In the previous academic year, eleven new faculty joined the School, including the chair of the department of Epidemiology, Viola Vaccarino. M.D., Ph.D.  Dr. Vaccarino will retain a joint appointment with the Division of Cardiology and as co-director of the Emory Program in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Epidemiology (EPICORE) in the School of Medicine. Her appointment will strengthen collaboration between the two Schools and provide leadership to recruit internationally recognized faculty. 

Several new faculty are laboratory based investigators who can now be supported with the additional of the Claudia Nance Rollins Building. Two faculty have already been recruited this fiscal year to the department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.  These were joint hires with the Comprehensive Center for Informatics and the School of Medicine’s department of Biomedical Informatics. These new hires support development of partnerships within Emory and beyond to facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching. Faculty searches continue throughout the School. 

Moreover, an initiative to increase the number of Ph.D. students is moving forward, with an additional Ph.D. program in Environmental Health Sciences under review in the Graduate School. Students will compose and defend a dissertation that exemplifies the interdisciplinary nature of the program.  Graduates of the program will be poised to lead interdisciplinary research projects that harness the strengths of many sub-disciplines that span both population and laboratory research in Environmental Health Sciences. In addition, the incoming cohort of master’s students increased by eighty in the fall of 2009, and a similar increase predicted for fall 2010. Finally, the School has reached 84 percent of its campaign goal with $124 million received. 


Growth with Excellence: The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies
June 2010

In the past year, Emory University’s Graduate School became the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies to honor Emory Emeritus President Laney's vision of graduate education as central to the mission of the university and higher education in general. 

Laney’s vision is reflected in the school’s four overarching strategic priorities – grow with excellence, develop funding, study complex problems, and support student professionalism.  The 2009-10 academic year has seen progress toward all these priorities. Although budget reductions resulting from the changed economic environment led to a reduced entering class for the year, the school is poised to recover and has successfully positioned itself anew to grow and align graduate students with faculty strength and research activity. 

Perhaps the most visible area of strategic progress has been in the growth of new degree and certificate programs that reflect the school’s commitment to studying complex problems.  Several new structures, some fully established and some just over the horizon, provide innovative, interdisciplinary communities of research and scholarship that are closely connected to the public good.

  • A master’s degree in development practice, directed by Professor David Nugent,  seeks to train a new generation of development professionals.  These committed professionals will be prepared to serve as catalysts, supporting vulnerable populations ‘ efforts to pursue livelihood security, economic opportunity, and meaningful empowerment. 
  • A certificate in translational research, directed by Professor Henry Blumberg,  helps graduate students create closer connections between basic science research and clinical applications and effectiveness of new treatments. 
  • A certificate in digital scholarship, directed by  Professor Allen Tullos and Dr. Naomi Nelson, acting director of Emory’s Manuscripts and Rare Book Library, explores the impact of information technology on teaching, research, scholarship and the dissemination of culture and education. 
  • A certificate in mind, brain and culture, directed by  Professors Robert McCauley and Laura Namy,  allows students to join together and study the complex area where neurobiology of the brain meets the psychology of individual minds and communal heritage of culture. 

The Laney Graduate School is proud to honor James T. Laney’s inspiration and leadership and is deeply excited about these and the many other ways faculty members are coming together across disciplinary and institutional boundaries to create intellectual communities around some of the most complex and compelling problems of our day. 


Training the Next Generation of Doctors: Strategic Planning in the School of Medicine
April 2010

How will the School of Medicine train the next generation of doctors to continue to research the world’s most complex health care issues and provide cutting-edge, compassionate patient care?

To meet this challenge, the medical school has established and expanded existing initiatives within its strategic plan that aim to make the medical school one of the nation’s finest.  These initiatives exemplify the five themes laid out by the University-wide strategic plan. 

Multiple medical school initiatives align with the University-wide theme of Strengthening Faculty Distinction.  Since Thomas Lawley became dean in 1996, the school has increased its ranking for NIH funding from 31st to 15th in the nation.  Over the past year, additional distinguished faculty such as Stuart Knechtle, Omer Kucuk, Joel Saltz, Ling Wei, and Shan-Ping Yu were recruited to join a stellar cast of individuals who are recognized leaders in their fields.  Vaccine Center Director Rafi Ahmed was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Pediatrics Chair Barbara Stoll was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and neuroscientist Mahlon DeLong was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  Faculty development remains a priority as well, and the school’s Council of Chairs has recommended the creation of a new medical educator and service academic track. 

Within the University’s strategic planning theme of Ensuring Highest Student Quality and Enhancing the Student Experience, the medical school’s new curriculum takes top honors.  As an integral part of the curriculum, faculty advisors are assigned groups of students that they work with throughout the student’s four years of medical school.  These groups are designed to transform medical education by being more hands-on and patient-centered than ever before and by teaching science in the context of its application to care.  Increasing faculty-student interaction maximizes both competence and compassion in medical training and produces doctors who have a lifelong passion for learning.  A new course on ethics and responsible conduct of research has also been established. 

The School of Medicine’s history of community outreach has long enriched the student and faculty experience and directly relates to the theme of Creating Community – Engaging Society.  Examples of work that occurs on every continent includes medical students working throughout Georgia,  travelling to Haiti, and working in Tbilisi and Bangladesh.  Another initiative within this theme is the medical school’s new compendium of school and university policies on industry relationships, which provides guidance to faculty on principled and transparent collaborations with industry to benefit the health of the public and provide mechanisms for consideration and management of any conflicts of interest that might result.
Under the University’s theme of Confronting the Human Condition and Human Experience, the medical school has fostered collaborative work among faculty and staff to develop a strong and vital community.  A newly created Community and Diversity Planning Committee has developed a diversity plan focusing on recruitment and retention of minority faculty, and a Faculty Advisory Council shares ideas and suggestions with the Dean. 

Exploring New Frontiers in Science and Technology is a mainstay theme within the School of Medicine. Every day, preeminent researchers seek to develop new knowledge that ultimately may lead to new treatments and therapies.  Their work brings in a number of notable grants each year. In the past year, significant funding was obtained to study traumatic brain injury and to extend the cooperative research agreement of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.  The School of Medicine is also completing its third research strategic plan, aimed at further enhancing research infrastructure and implementing interdisciplinary Comprehensive Centers in the fields of cardiovascular, neuroscience, and cancer research. 

The Emory Center for Alternative Investments
March 2010

What do private equity, hedge funds, venture capital, and real estate have in common? They are known as alternative investments, and have increasingly become a part of mainstream finance. Alternative investments are a class of options outside the traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, or cash.

Emory’s Center for Alternative Investments is undertaking a bold new chapter in the Goizueta Business School’s development by bringing a unique perspective to the alternative investment dialogue. The Center, founded in 2008, provides access to the best academic minds worldwide and a deep analysis of industry relevant questions. This endeavor is first in a series of specialized centers created to enhance Goizueta’s research thrust. As part of its strategic plan, Goizueta is aggressively pursuing the “center” concept to project its intellectual capital and reputation as a thought leader to academic colleagues as well as the broader world. 

The Center for Alternative Investment maintains a vibrant community of practitioners, scholars, and students interested in the alternative investments industry. Current strategic initiatives focus on

  • Faculty and Research - The Center has recently published its research agenda based on vital issues facing institutional investors.  The agenda focuses on five key areas: asset allocation, value creation, incentive alignment, transparency, and oversight, regulation, and taxation. The Center will continue to publish white papers, research papers, case studies, newsletters, and other periodical publications in addition to conducting surveys on investment characteristics of limited and general partners.
  • Industry and Alumni - The Alternative Investments Network, an extended alumni group serving Emory alumni, students, and other non-alumni practitioners, will continue to engage the industry network through a variety of events, including speakers, networking receptions, and other events and activities. These efforts provide a forum to connect on key topics and issues. In addition to that, the Center’s leadership team will continue to actively reach out to the limited partners to participate in discussions in order to grasp and retain a thorough understanding the current issues facing the investors.
  • Students - The Center organizes three annual competitions in the areas of venture capital, private equity, and hedge funds. The Hedge Fund competition and the Venture Capital Investment Competition are scheduled in Nov 2009 and the Private Equity competition is scheduled for spring 2010. The Center has introduced the following four new courses to the curriculum in 2009:
  • Doing Deals: Private Equity (Fall’09)
  • Investing in Illiquid Assets (Fall’09)
  • Venture Capital & Private Equity (Spring’10)
  • Distressed Investing (Spring’10)

For more information on the Center, please visit our website.

Oxford College: The distinctive potential of the first two baccalaureate years
February 2010

If you were to capture the Oxford College Strategic Plan in a single sentence, it would read: Oxford College will become a national model for the most powerful, transformative liberal arts education for the freshman and sophomore years.    

Located on Emory's original campus 38 miles east of Atlanta, Oxford College offers a liberal arts intensive program for the first two years of the baccalaureate degree. Freshmen and sophomores are different from juniors and seniors in cognitive and personal development.  Some doors open and others close as students progress to upper division study, and it is no accident that Oxford’s Strategic Plan is designed to concentrate very deliberately on developing the distinctive potential of the first two baccalaureate years.
To that end, the Oxford faculty recently adopted a new General Education Program.  It includes the Emory College General Education Requirements and adds two elements: a Ways of Inquiry curricular thread and an optional sophomore honors program.  In the Oxford program, students must complete three courses from a designated set that includes in-depth exploration of the discipline’s methods.  Students with a 3.5 GPA at the end of their third semester may apply for the sophomore honors program that culminates in a significant written product.

To support the increasing effectiveness of Oxford’s educational program, the College has established an Office of Institutional Research and the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) – Oxford’s teaching and learning center.  Institutional research helps identify what students are (and are not) learning, and the CAE helps draw on published and emerging knowledge in pedagogy and curriculum design to improve.  The CAE organizes the weeklong Institute for Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts each summer to bring together faculty from Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses and experts from across the country to learn more about liberal arts education, especially as it pertains to freshmen and sophomores.

To realize its potential, Oxford must create a safe space for faculty who want to invest their careers in teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Oxford’s criteria and standards for promotion and tenure were recently revised to do just that.

Oxford has some major goals outstanding – a new science building and a new library, to name two.  But the implementation of its Strategic Plan has brought the College to a point at which it can claim that it is indeed beginning to be recognized as a national model. 

Last June, with support from the Ford Foundation, Oxford hosted a conference on Transformative Models in Higher Education.  After an intensive day and a half of meetings, representatives of the Gates, Lumina, and Jack Kent Cook foundations, and the Posse Program, MDRC, the National Survey of Student Engagement, the Educational Testing Service, and principals from leading higher education research institutes left thinking about how others could apply or adapt “The Oxford Model.”  So far, so good.

Nursing Workforce Development and Partnerships
November 2009

It is not news that our nation is in the midst of a health care crisis, and the nursing field is no exception. In response to decreasing numbers of practicing nurses and a shortage of nursing faculty, Linda McCauley, the new dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (NHWSN) and Susan Grant, chief nursing officer of Emory Healthcare (EHC), are partnering to lead initiatives to improve patient care, educate students, and encourage nurses to obtain advanced degrees.  These efforts aim to improve patient care and evidence-based practice and to increase the number of students obtaining practice experience at EHC. 

One example of these new initiatives is the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU), which was launched this fall.  It is a model of nursing education in which nursing staff, students, and faculty work together to create a positive learning environment and improve the quality of nursing care. Its leader, Kelly Brewer, holds joint appointments in EHC and the NHWSN. The DEU is a patient unit developed into an optimal teaching/learning environment through collaboration of students, staff, management, and faculty.  In this model, students partner with nursing staff so that increased numbers of students can receive practice experience at EHC. 

In the DEU, students are seen as learners with a primary interest in gaining entry-level knowledge and competency associated with baccalaureate-prepared nursing practice. The DEU provides practicing nurses opportunities to expand their professional skills and scope of their responsibilities.  Nursing faculty work with staff nurses in their teaching roles to identify clinical reasoning skills and evaluate student achievement.  This positive learning-practice environment is also seen as a potential recruiting and retention tool for the health care system.

The close mentoring relationships between students and clinical leaders both improve learning and bridge the gap between academic and clinical expectations.   The engagement of staff nursing in teaching promotes the outcomes that Susan Grant is striving to achieve in the health system’s journey to magnet status, awarded to only 4 percent of U.S. hospitals by the American Nurses Credentialing Center since the program began more than twenty years ago.

Emory College of Arts and Sciences: Strategic Planning Implementation Update
October 2009

How will the Emory College of Arts and Sciences (ECAS) move from understanding new economic realities to imagining what the College should look like in the future?  The ECAS is engaged in strategic planning activities that will continue to clarify our priorities and strengthen our focus on what makes Emory great.  Our new College Revisioning Committee has charged some of the finest faculty minds at Emory to help us rethink the nature of the liberal arts college in the twenty-first century and imagine, together, what the College should look like in 2015, 2025, and beyond.   

Deans, faculty and staff view creativity as essential—in research, certainly, in all the arts, sciences, and humanities, but also in the planning process itself. Creative decision-making invigorates the College’s twin teaching and research missions, which are at the heart of the Emory experience.

Emory’s societal impact will continue to expand with the College’s ongoing efforts to attract and graduate the nation’s very best students. In keeping with the University theme “Ensuring Highest Student Quality and Enhancing the Student Experience,” innovative financial aid programs such as Emory Advantage are yielding an even stronger and more diverse student body. Sophomore Kelly Gracia recently called the Advantage scholarship “more than amazing—it’s life-changing.” Currently there are 464 College students enrolled with Advantage awards, some 9 percent of the student body.

The College’s advancement of the theme “Strengthening Faculty Distinction,” too, is reflected in the recent hiring of faculty—an overall gain of fifty-four since the 2005 planning process began—whose work contributes directly to University strategic themes and initiatives. Examples include Ellen Idler, who as professor of sociology and director of the Religion and Public Health Collaborative furthers the initiative “Religions and the Human Spirit”; Peter Little, professor of anthropology, whose research strengthens Emory’s “Global Health” initiative; Carol Anderson, associate professor of African American studies, whose work is aligned with the “Race and Difference” initiative; and James Taylor, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, and Ilya Nemenman, associate professor of physics, both helping to define the University’s “Computational and Life Sciences” initiative.

Strategic Plan Update Forthcoming
September 2009

Modified from Emory Report article, Aug. 3, 2009  “Strategic Plan update will set course for next five years” by Nancy Seideman

As schools and units are preparing their plans for leading in the new economy, Emory University’s Strategic Planning Office has also been working with strategic plan leaders and other university partners to complete a comprehensive update of the university-wide 2005-2010 strategic plan.  The updated university-wide strategic plan, scheduled to be formally introduced during President Wagner’s State of the University address on September 22, will lead Emory efforts to fulfill its vision and mission through 2015. 

The updated university-wide plan includes minor changes to Emory’s five strategic themes and accompanying university-wide initiatives to better reflect our identity and aspirations.  Strategic priorities in the area of quality, distinction, financial strength, and stewardship have been added to the strategic plan to emphasize the importance of those aspects in ongoing decision-making processes.  Implementation strategies have been refined and redefined as framing principles—strategic collaborations, internationalization, societal impact, and creativity:  art and innovation—to be incorporated into all themes, initiatives, schools and units as they implement their individual strategic plans. 

As part of the planning process, strategic theme and initiative leaders, along with deans and division directors, are working hard to document their progress for the past year, and to formulate aspirations and plans for the next five years within the context of revised budget models.  Initiative leaders also are collaborating to create a model to enhance administrative efficiencies and identify opportunities for cost-sharing. 

The end effect of this multiple-pronged process will result in an Emory that is more focused, deliberate, and strategic in its efforts. 

The updated Strategic Plan will be described in more detail in the September 28th issue of Emory Report.  For information on the strategic plan, go to

Center for Ethics on the front lines
June 2009
Visit Emory’s Center for Ethics website, and you’ll see questions like these flash across the top of the home page: “What is our obligation to the environment? Are steroids cheating? Should abortion be legal?”

These charged questions mark the front lines of ethical conversation in public policy today. Ethicists routinely pontificate on them during national newscasts, and federal funding agencies include ethics as integral parts of their calls for funding.  Ethics has matured as a field over the last twenty-five years. Ethics programs and courses are staples of medical, public health, law, business, nursing, journalism, and engineering schools, and there is scarcely a department in the average undergraduate curriculum that does not offer courses looking at ethical questions of relevance to the field.  
The Center for Ethics has taken this interest and developed a dynamic, exciting set of programs—so much so that the Emory Wheel recently wrote, “the Center has surpassed many other Emory institutions in its commitment to its mission – that of engaging students in ethical questions and issues.”  The center’s undergraduate programs are bursting at the seams – Ethics and Servant Leadership had 160 applications for 10 summer internships (and ended up accepting 22), students packed the center during Reading Days to study in the lounge and library, and programming such as Ethics at the Movies, and Ethics Bowl have been enormously successful.  The center hosted the Presidential debates and election coverage,  and local news teams ran their coverage partially from that event.  The theme, “Taking a Stand: The Role of the Ethically Engaged University,” included programs in which President Wagner, President Franklin of Morehouse, and President Kiss of Agnes Scott debated whether universities (or presidents) should take stands on public issues.  The center also hosted two public open forums for faculty and staff on the difficulties of the economic challenges to the university. 
In the past two semesters the center has moved into its new facility, added twenty new faculty from around the university, is making two new hires, and has had its Masters of Bioethics Program approved.  Members of the Center for Ethics continue to teach courses in the medical school, nursing school, public health, and graduate and undergraduate schools, as well as give numerous guest lectures throughout the university.  The center’s faculty are principal investigators or collaborators on federal grants, and it collaborates extensively with faculty from other departments and schools.  As the Center for Ethics expands its faculty and welcomes new classes of students through the Masters Program, the center’s activities only promise to increase.

The Center for Ethics is led by Director Dr. Paul Root Wolpe.  To learn more about the Center for Ethics, please visit

Taking Stock of Our Progress: Revising the Strategic Plan
May 2009

In this time of declining revenues, slashed budgets, and general economic uncertainty, Emory is facing difficult decisions in the near future. The strategic plan, however, provides a guide for those decisions. The strategic plan articulates our priorities and important initiatives, and it states what we as a “uni”-versity would like to achieve within the next few years.

Every plan requires periodic reviews and adjustments, especially when economic conditions change drastically. Now is an opportune moment to review progress toward our strategic plan goals, check to see whether our themes, initiatives, and implementation strategies are heading the direction we want them to be going, and update our school- and unit-based plans. While some changes to the structure and depth of some of Emory’s themes, initiatives, and implementation strategies will no doubt result from this review, our vision and mission will remain unchanged. The updated strategic plan will guide the priorities at the school, unit, and departmental levels.

One of the remarkable things to come out of the strategic planning process and its themes, initiatives, and implementation strategies is the degree to which schools and units have successfully collaborated to make progress toward Emory’s strategic plan goals. Efforts such as Religions and the Human Spirit have partnered across boundaries with the Rollins School of Public Health; Creativity and the Arts activities have affected virtually all schools and units; and Sustainability initiatives are active across campus. Emory will continue to foster collaboration among faculty through its strategic plan.

The updated strategic plan will be developed and communicated by September 2009. You can read more about the strategic plan at

Unraveling the Brain's Mysteries: The Neuroscience Initiative
April 2009

How does the mind arise from the brain? What do the basal ganglia—a group of neurons deep within the brain —have to do with disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome and Parkinson’s disease? What insights might neuroscience offer to our understanding of how decisions are made in politics and business, or the nature of our ethical compass?

Emory’s Neuroscience Initiative, led by Dennis Choi, MD/PhD, executive director of the neuroscience initiative and vice president, academic health affairs, seeks to explore those questions by connecting Emory’s neurosciences community with other university and regional partners. The initiative’s mission reflects this goal:

Through inquiry and broad integration of disciplines, the Emory Neurosciences Initiative seeks to contribute to an understanding of the mind: its emergence from the brain, its nature, and its social interfaces. The Initiative also seeks to apply this understanding to the benefit of society, including the promotion of nervous system health and the teaching of others so that they will carry on this mission.

Several collaborative efforts are now underway to support this mission in clinical care, research, and education through the Neurosciences Initiative:

    • The Comprehensive Neurosciences Center (CNC) is the clinical arm of the Neuroscience Initiative. The CNC is developing interdisciplinary programs that address childhood and adolescent mood disorders, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

    • The Neuroscience Initiative’s Research Committee has started an Interdisciplinary Seed Grants Program, aimed at exploring the emerging interface between neuroscience and other fields. This program launched in October 2008, provides support for highly promising pilot projects and has already funded several studies in a wide range of areas, including meditation, stroke, sleep disorders, brain cancer, addiction, and a new optical method for stimulating brain cells.

    • The Neuroscience Initiative’s Education Committee is developing an Interdisciplinary Scholars Program that will support a small number of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows who elect to combine neuroscience training with training in other disciplines. The program, led by Greg Berns, MD, PhD, and Mary Horton, MPH, MA, seeks to enroll its first students in the upcoming academic year.

The initiative also sponsors events that advance its mission both within the scientific community and in encouraging public understanding of the benefits of neuroscience:

    • The “Basal Ganglia: Function, Movement Disorders and Treatment Options” symposium to be held on April 17-18, 2009 at Emory’s School of Medicine. This symposium is a major scientific symposium and community outreach event in honor of Mahlon DeLong, MD, neurology professor at the School of Medicine, and is open to the academic community.

    • A public panel on brain health and aging to be held on April 18th, 2009, at the Cobb Galleria Center (Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339). This panel is part of the ongoing “Staying Sharp” education series sponsored by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the MetLife Foundation. At the panel the renowned neuroscientist Guy McKhann, MD, from Johns Hopkins will be joined by DeLong and Allan Levey, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Neurology Department at the School of Medicine, as well as Lonnie Ali (wife and caregiver of Muhammad Ali) on an panel to discuss topics such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and caregiving challenges.

To learn more about the Neurosciences Initiative and the April events, please visit the websites below. (NI website) (CNC website)

Creating Comunity and Engaging Society: Beyond the classroom
March 4, 2009

Great universities recognize that teaching extends beyond the classroom and can be found in how the university engages the community, the environment, and its own stakeholders—faculty, staff, and students. Emory has earned high marks for its values and practices: most recently The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Emory as one of the 2008 "Great Colleges to Work For." In 2008, Emory’s civic-minded employees, faculty, and students helped to further extend the University’s intention to Create Community and Engage Society in a number of creative and non-traditional ways.

Sustainability Initiatives: Emory’s commitment to a comprehensive “green” building program recognizes the importance of creating a healthier environment for future generations and providing leadership on sustainable living in the community. In the past year, Emory opened two new freshman residence halls—Evans and Few Halls—that are expected to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

To raise awareness of energy consumption, Emory held its second annual building-wide energy competition. This friendly competition reminds employees and students of their responsibility in using energy in their buildings, and it is one way Emory anticipates reaching its ambitious goal of reducing energy use by 25 percent per square foot by 2015. All of these efforts led the Princeton Review to rank Emory as one of the greenest campuses in the nation. Emory also received the Georgia Conservationist of the Year award from the Georgia Conservancy in 2008.

Clifton Community Partnership: Emory is committed to development in the Clifton community that respects cultural vitality and environmental and economic sustainability. The Clifton Community Partnership (CCP) was created as a platform to discuss these concerns and other quality of life issues in the Clifton community. One of the CCP’s first tasks was to develop urban design guidelines to foster a more walkable community, encourage community input into public spaces, and think creatively about new housing and transportation choices.

As a complement to the guidelines, the CCP is also supporting efforts to develop a mixed-use complex on Clifton Road, across from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This development will add residential spaces for local employees to enable them to live closer to their jobs, offering a shorter commute that produces a greater work-life balance while reducing the number of automobiles on local roads during peak travel times.

Another part of CCP is the Emory Moves initiative. Emory Moves encourages faculty, staff, and students to reexamine their commutes and explore alternative transportation to campus—for example, Cliff shuttles, public transit, carpools, vanpools, Zipcar, bicycling, or walking. The program has raised awareness of the health benefits of these options and rewards commuters who register and use alternative transportation.

Emory Cares: This international volunteer program, one of Emory Alumni Association’s signature programs, brings together alumni, students, parents, and friends to participate in service projects in their cities. Through Emory Cares, volunteers have created community gardens, built homes for hurricane victims, and provided food to families in need from Atlanta to Savannah to Seoul.

Emory’s Work-Life Task Force: Today’s faculty, staff, and students face a different set of challenges than the previous generation. As a result, Emory is considering a wide range of practices, programs, and processes that address their concerns. The recommendations of the Work-Life Task Force include a Work-Life Resource Center to help faculty, staff, and students explore alternative work arrangements and dependent care options, and facilitate work-life integration. In fall 2008, Human Resources hired an associate director for work-life programs who, in conjunction with an advisory board and other staff, is collaborating with Human Resources and the Office of the Provost to support and coordinate many of the recommendations contained in the report.

Leadership and Professional Development: With a belief that the quality of people makes all the difference, Emory continues to invest in its workforce. One such investment is the development of five new leadership and management development programs, including Excellence through Leadership, as well as programs focused on management, supervisory employees, and administrative professionals.

Race and Difference Initiative: Building Bridges
January 1, 2009

A documentary film that follows a Guatemala Maya family from their hometown to a new life in Atlanta.

A student theater troupe that presents workshops to examine racial, class, and related issues.

An oral history project that traces the lives of Atlanta’s many diasporic communities.

These projects are a mere few of the efforts supported by the Race and Difference Initiative (RDI), which seeks to bridge understandings of race and other forms of difference, such as sexuality, gender, and class, as well as understand the ways in which ideas and experiences of racial diversity have developed and changed and are currently understood. RDI currently funds eleven programs that build on Emory’s academic strengths and encourage interdisciplinary scholarly collaboration. Contained in those programs are sub-initiatives such as Race and Southern Studies, Public Humanities, Screening Race and Difference, and Living Across Borders. These endeavors seek to build on the university’s distinctive place in Atlanta and the southern United States. Other sub-initiatives include Studies in Sexualities, Subalternity and Difference, and Vulnerability Studies, which examine the intersections of race, class, and gender, analyze the global diversity of stigmatizing difference, and focus on vulnerable populations.

The Race and Difference Initiative has also provided funding for significant curricular initiatives, such as initial funding for the African American Studies Graduate Program, and for faculty and postdoctoral hires in Race and Difference, Civil Rights, less-commonly taught languages, and public humanities, among others. Finally, RDI has also funded two initiatives aimed at undergraduates: Crossing Boundaries to Build Communities, which provides the theatre workshops through the ISSUES Troupe, and FUSION, which hosts major events to stimulate communication and collaboration between diverse ethnic and cultural groups within the Emory community through music and dance.

The Race and Difference Initiative spans the entire university. Sixty-two faculty and staff from thirty-three departments and units are currently affiliated. Twenty courses and more than sixty sponsored or co-sponsored events are scheduled for the 2008-2009 academic year. As of fall 2008, leaders of the initiative are Dorothy Brown (law), Martha Fineman (law), Tyrone Forman (sociology), Leslie Harris (history/African American studies), Ozzie Harris (vice provost for diversity and community), and Amanda Lewis (sociology).

Upcoming events in spring 2009 are a set of related exhibits curated by historian Rickie Solinger: Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States and Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood is Not a Class Privilege in America, (simultaneously displayed in Schatten Gallery, Woodruff Library, January 15-March 12, 2009). These exhibits have provided an opportunity for collaboration on related programming between Emory and the Atlanta University Center.

Details about the Race and Difference Initiative can be found at

Predictive Health and Society: From disease care to health care
December 2, 2008

What is the difference between “health care” and “disease care”? As the Predictive Health and Society initiative envisions it, that distinction is the next big idea in medicine.

Emory and Georgia Tech leaders together conceived this initiative as a new pathway to an effective and efficient health care system. Predictive Health and Society brings the most exciting science and technology together with anthropology, religion, ethics, sociology, and law to forge a new concept of biomedicine. Kenneth Brigham, MD, Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s associate vice president for Predictive Health, leads a broad, interdisciplinary team of faculty who help shape the initiative’s programmatic and scientific direction.

The Center for Health Discovery and Well Being is the first physical presence of the Predictive Health and Society initiative. Located at the midtown Crawford-Long campus, the Center tests this new notion of biomedicine. And it is anything but the typical clinic. Individuals come to the Center for assessments and a personal health plan. Information from this population is captured in a database, which is used to create an integrated definition of health. This information will help determine how well the candidates’ markers predict health, identify risk, and detect early deviations from health.

Collaborative research among scientists and clinicians from different disciplines will focus on defining health in quantitative terms, developing clinically useful tools for detecting deviations from health, and developing effective interventions to restore health. Experts from fields such as ethics, economics, psychology, anthropology, epidemiology, business, law, and political science will be part of the investigative team helping to translate the new science into society.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) recently awarded Emory $2.5 million over five years to train new biomedical scientists who will bridge laboratory and population sciences in their teaching and research. The Emory program is one of three new BWF programs funded nationally within the Institutional Program Unifying Population and Laboratory Based Sciences. Emory's program will create a new doctoral pathway directed by Dr. Brigham called Human Health: Molecules to Mankind, with the theme of "Understanding human health: integrating biology, behaviors, environments, and populations."

Predictive Health and Society will explore the scientific and social issues related to this new concept of biomedicine at its fourth annual symposium on December 15-16. For more information about the initiative or the symposium please visit

Strengthening Faculty Distinction
November 1, 2008

Strengthening faculty distinction is one of Emory’s 2005-2015 university-wide strategic themes.  To achieve its goal of having a world-class, diverse faculty that establishes and sustains pre-eminent learning, research, scholarship, and service programs, Emory must continue to invest in the faculty by retaining current talent and recruiting young promising as well as distinguished established scholars.  The faculty’s teaching, research, and institution-building shape the academic direction of the university.

Claire Sterk, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, has directed activities within this theme with the guidance of a Faculty Advisory Committee since the theme was initiated about three years ago.  The cornerstone of the theme is the Faculty Distinction Fund, which was established to assist in recruiting and retaining faculty, while also considering faculty diversity.  Theme related activities include

  • The Year of the Faculty—A series of community exchanges in 2007 led to the development of the report “A Community of Excellence: Reflections and Directions from the Year of the Faculty,” which introduces topics for ongoing discussion such as faculty recruitment, retention and retirement, the balance between tenure-track/tenured and non-tenure track faculty, and career trajectories.
  • The Center for Faculty Distinction and Excellence—Recently established, and its first director, Laurie Patton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Religion, was appointed in September 2008.  An inaugural event is planned for spring 2009. 
  • The Life of the Mind Lecture Series showcases Emory’s outstanding faculty. 
  • The Luminaries in the Sciences and the newly established Luminaries in the Arts and Humanities series also stimulate intellectual community. 
  • The Faculty Distinction Fund, and its associated Equipment Fund, supported the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty from a wide range of disciplines, in addition to enhancing faculty diversity and offering opportunities for partner/spousal hiring.       

A new call for proposals is forthcoming.  Information on these and other programs can be found on the website of the Office of the Provost.

Computational and Life Sciences Initiative Facilitates New Collaborations
October 1, 2008

Unprecedented advances in life sciences are being enabled through computational techniques, while biomedical applications drive the development of novel quantitative methods. This synergy forms the essence of Emory’s strategic initiative in Computational and Life Sciences (CLS). Facilitated by CLS, researchers are forming collaborations across departments and schools to participate in scientifically exciting and socially relevant projects. Representative efforts include modeling the characteristics of individual patient arteries to evaluate the risk of cerebral aneurysms, digitally combining images from CT, PET, and SPECT to provide unique diagnostic views, comparing genome function across different biological species to understand evolutionary processes, and computationally simulating the properties of new compounds and drugs before investing in difficult and expensive synthesis methods.

Conceptualized just two years ago, CLS recently completed its first full year of operation. The initiative aims to catalyze new and pioneering science at the interface between computation and life sciences—representing theory and experiment, which synergistically complement each other. Research in new mathematical techniques and computational algorithms is motivated by problems in the biological and medical sciences. Similarly, experimental and synthetic science can benefit greatly through quantitative methods and tools; computer simulations can significantly accelerate scientific discovery while confirming theoretical foundations.

Under the guidance of an internal advisory committee comprised of senior science faculty and administrators, CLS is facilitating new interdisciplinary scholarship at Emory across diverse but complementary communities. Many faculty and scientists are already engaged in CLS-related projects. CLS is recruiting new faculty in key areas who will provide the critical link between these researchers and serve as the nucleus for exciting and novel collaborations. Recent examples include a joint faculty appointment between computer science, biology, and human genetics, and another between radiology in the School of Medicine and math and computer science in Emory College.

CLS has also developed and launched two new graduate programs—an interdisciplinary doctoral program in informatics and a biostatistics concentration within the computer science master's degree. An institutionally supported postdoctoral fellows program where young scientists work across two or more laboratories  is designed specifically to help CLS areas evolve as subdisciplines in their own right, and to perpetuate education and training of future generations. CLS is also planning several undergraduate initiatives and is working with relevant departments to design a minor in the college. CLS has an active seminar schedule with noted speakers from Emory and other institutions, and also partners with the Emerson Center to organize an annual symposium highlighting different aspects of Computational Science. This Fall, to mark the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth, CLS is co-sponsoring “Evolution Revolution,” an open symposium to explore the future of evolution as a theory and a process.

For more information about the Emory Computational and Life Sciences initiative, please visit

Preparing Engaged Scholars Supports Faculty
September 1, 2008

One of the first major private research universities to earn the Engaged Institution classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006, Emory has a national reputation for connecting the campus to the community. The Preparing Engaged Scholars strategic theme capitalizes on Emory’s already laudable curricular engagement and community partnerships to focus even more intensively on teaching and learning, research and service that can positively transform metro Atlanta communities.

Preparing Engaged Scholars creates a continuum of engaged scholarship and learning that begins with volunteer service, moves into coursework that connects classroom concepts with real world application, advances to internships with entities addressing local issues, deepens with applied academic programs featuring rigorous study and intensive community engagement, and culminates with original student and faculty research addressing complex urban issues.

The Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) is charged with leading implementation of the Preparing Engaged Scholars strategic plan in partnership with the Division of Campus Life. In order to serve all of Emory University, and to emphasize that Preparing Engaged Scholars is a universitywide strategic theme, the OUCP has become a unit of the Office of the Provost under the Senior Vice Provost for Community and Diversity.
Also in recognition of the all-Emory nature of Preparing Engaged Scholars, a committee comprising faculty and staff from each of the academic units has launched a search for Emory’s first Director of Engaged Learning. This professional will work across schools, divisions, and departments to ensure that interested faculty have the skills and resources 1) to successfully incorporate community-benefiting teaching, research, and service activities into their courses and 2) to undertake intellectually rigorous research that either sheds new understanding on longstanding community problems or that actually responds to a specific community need. The Director of Engaged Learning also will facilitate sharing of best practices and policies across the schools, particularly those that support collaboration across disciplines and schools.

In addition to launching professional development activities, Preparing Engaged Scholars increases the levels of other resources available to faculty. The Engaged Teaching and Research Minigrants program offers grants of up to $2,500 to support community-benefiting engaged learning or research activities that are part of a course. Community-benefiting research projects are eligible for minigrants of up to $5,000. Grants are renewable and the OUCP can assist with securing additional or longer-term funding for exemplary engaged teaching or research partnerships. Faculty who want to include community-benefiting activities in their courses or who want to engage in community-benefiting research but don’t have specific projects or partnerships in mind can contact the OUCP for personalized help.  Application materials can be found at

In early 2009, Preparing Engaged Scholars will announce the availability of funding for expanding engaged learning and scholarship in support of each academic unit’s own strategic plan.

Internationalization at Emory
August 1, 2008

Emory University’s vision statement indicates the importance the university places upon international recognition and its role in the improving the world. Already a destination university for international students and scholars, Emory welcomed some 2,530 foreign nationals from 123 countries in 2008.  Emory College, meanwhile, had the largest percentage of international students ever in its 2007 entering class, 11 percent, up from 4 percent in 2003.

More Emory undergraduates have experienced service learning and study abroad this year than ever before, and in more diverse locations including the world’s poorest countries and some of most advanced science labs. Through research and teaching at home and abroad, and international partnerships and strategic alliances, Emory prepares students for living and working in a global marketplace.

Under the leadership of the University Vice Provost for International Affairs Holli Semetko, and headquartered at Emory’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), the Internalization Plan and Initiatives are committed to furthering internationalization across each of Emory’s nine schools and to fostering a proactive and coordinated global strategy.

This initiative works closely with the faculty and administrators in each school and offices, such as Development and Alumni Relations and Communications and Marketing, to strengthen international academic programs, enhance international alumni networks, and build Emory’s global brand. The initiative specifically seeks to strengthen faculty distinction through international research and global scholarship, engage students with international content in academic and service learning programs at home and abroad, provide a welcoming environment for international students and scholars coming to study and work at Emory, and promote international outreach, partnership, and strategic alliances. The initiative, through OIA, also produces Emory in the World magazine and maintains Emory’s growing international gateway website.

Emory’s Global Health Institute (GHI) and Emory’s Institute for Developing Nations (IDN) are two new university-wide academic units that emerged from the strategic planning process to further internationalization in the dynamic fields of global health and development. The unique and longstanding Emory-Tibet Partnership also grew in the strategic planning process to encompass a pioneering new interdisciplinary science component. Information about the important new programmatic initiatives can be found at the following websites:;;, and

Emory is making progress on consolidating key university-wide international units and offices. Units now under the umbrella of OIA include International Student and Scholar Programs, the Institute of Human Rights and The Halle Institute.

The international gateway website ( features an international campus events calendar that is updated regularly, a clickable global map for information on Emory’s activities in world regions, important information for study abroad and international students and scholars as well as links to these and Emory’s many other international programs and centers, Emory’s international news stories and interactive publications, information for Emory’s international alumni, and news on Emory and the Fulbright Association, with past and present incoming and outgoing Fulbright scholars

A number of key priorities for the coming year include the following:

  • A governance structure for international matters will be developed to facilitate the implementation of a proactive global strategy.
  • As part of a proactive global strategy, Emory will explore opportunities to enhance academic programs through international partnerships with countries and institutions on a University-wide and individual school basis.
  • Emory’s infrastructure for study abroad will be strengthened and consolidated via common dedicated software for applications and tracking in the coming years. The Center for International Programs Abroad (CIPA) in Emory College will be the first to move to this online process for study and service learning abroad.
  • School reports on international accomplishments over the past five years, and priorities for the next years, will become available and form the basis for developing additional customized metrics on internationalization.
  • Services provided to international students and scholars, and their host units, will be reviewed to maximize efficiency and mission critical goals.
  • OIA will sponsor grant-writing workshops for faculty and staff interested in obtaining external funds for international research and programmatic activities.

For more information please go to the international gateway site at

Creativity and the Arts
July 2, 2008

The Creativity and Arts Initiative seeks to integrate the arts across the educational spectrum, foster an environment of creativity across campus, and contribute to the cultural life of Atlanta and societies around the world. Under the leadership of University Vice President and Secretary Rosemary Magee, along with Deans Robert Paul and Bill Eley, this initiative is committed to a liberal arts environment that extends across Emory’s schools and divisions by using imagination to forge new connections and fresh ways of seeing.

In early 2008, Emory College’s Center for Creativity and Arts (CCA) was launched to build on this foundation.  At its core, the CCA celebrates, nurtures, and inspires the act of making and studying arts and the intellectual creativity everywhere evident in a vibrant university community.  Under the leadership of Leslie Taylor, the CCA provides grants and commissions, presents and co-sponsors special programs, encourages interdisciplinary partnerships, and seeks greater visibility for the arts on campus and in the community.

Here are some highlights to mark on your calendar

• On September 5, 2008, the community is invited to the Creativity and Arts Soiree at the Schwartz Center. The event will launch the arts season and debut an art installation by recent Emory College graduate Kombo Chapfika (commissioned by STIPE Society and CCA).

• On October 23-25, 2008, the Computational and Life Sciences strategic initiative will host the Future of Evolution Conference at Emory.  Project and commissioning grants will enable Emory artists and guests to participate in the conference, develop new work, and return to campus in February 2009 to present their art.

• Fall 2008 brings with it the full launch of the Emory Arts Passport (free tickets and incentives for student attendance at campus arts events), Arts & Eats (free dessert receptions for group participants in arts events), Out There Arts (OTA) (off-campus arts field trip grants for faculty-led classes and other groups), and the continuation of the Artist Survival Skills career workshops and awarding of project grants to faculty, staff, and students.

• The Luminaries in the Arts and Humanities series, a collaboration between the Creativity & Arts Initiative and the Office of the Provost, brings the world’s leading scholars to Emory for lectures and conversations throughout the academic year.

• Creativity Conversations, a series that has explored the topic of creativity with such notable figures as Joshua Bell, Salman Rushdie, Dana Gioia, Katherine Mitchell, and Steven Tepper, will be made available on our new website.  

The university-wide initiative and the CCA invite the Emory community to visit our new website to learn more about Creativity & Arts programs, events, and resources.

The Emory Global Health Institute
June 2, 2008

How can an American university like Emory help improve health around the world? This was a question university leaders asked themselves while determining whether to dedicate one of its strategic initiatives to global health. The answer was that an institution like Emory could have a positive impact on world health if it focused on developing and fostering sustainable global partnerships with like-minded in-country organizations. And that is how the Emory Global Health Institute (Institute) was born.

Officially established in September 2006, the mission of the institute is to advance Emory University’s efforts to improve health around the world. The institute achieves this mission by supporting Emory faculty, students, and alumni in their work to find solutions to critical global health problems, with an emphasis on those that disproportionately affect people living in low- and middle-income countries.

Jeffrey P. Koplan, former head of the CDC, is director of the institute and vice president for global health at the university. Since its founding, the institute has assisted in hiring five global health distinguished faculty members and funded twenty-six faculty global health programs. Through these funded faculty programs, the institute has assisted Emory researchers in establishing and/or cultivating global health partnerships with a variety of foreign universities, governments, and non-governmental organizations as part of their work to address specific global health challenges.

The institute has also established a Global Health Institute Field Scholars Awards program for students across the university and has funded forty-eigh students participating in global health projects. The institute has helped develop a global health minor at Emory College and is currently working to expand the School of Nursing’s global health curriculum for undergraduates and develop global public health law and policy courses at the School of Law. The Institute has also established a Student Advisory Committee whose members come from every school at the university and whose mission is to aid in fostering cross-school networking and cross-disciplinary global health student projects.

The institute has brought two visiting fellows to the Emory community. In March 2008, Flemming Konradsen, PhD, visited Emory as the Institute’s first Visiting Fellow. Konradsen is a professor at the University of Copenhagen and an expert in environmental health hazards. In April 2008, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, MS, spent a week at Emory as the Institute’s first Distinguished Visiting Fellow. Madlala-Routledge is a Member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and a former Deputy Minister of Health who was dismissed from her position because of her evidence-based approach to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in her country.

For more information about the Emory Global Health Institute, please visit http://www/

Investing in Emory’s Vision: Implementation Update
May 5, 2008


More than two years and $57 million into implementation, the strategic plan initiatives are going full tilt.  To name just a few accomplishments to date:

  • A Center for Faculty Development and Excellence has been created

  • The financial aid program Emory Advantage has reduced student debt

  • A Work-Life Resource Center is in place

  • Vaccine research is tackling the most deadly infectious diseases of the developing world

  • New partnerships with community physicians are making cancer trials available throughout Georgia

  • The Carlos Museum brought us “Cradle of Christianity,” and now a major King Tut exhibition to delight and enlighten Emory and the greater Atlanta community.

The Strategic Implementation Advisory Committee (SIAC), comprised of president's cabinet members, deans from across the University, and strategic theme leaders has been in place to shepherd the implementation activities of the plan as it evolves.

As an example of the SIAC's role, a diagnostic assessment of the cross-disciplinary strategic initiatives and their implementation process conducted over the past year resulted in a set of recommendations to create linkages among the schools and the initiatives.

These efforts to bring the initiatives and schools in closer alignment become even more critical as Campaign Emory launches on Sept. 25 (

For more information on Emory’s strategic plan implementation go to to read a special strategic plan update in the Emory Report.  This special insert provides a snapshot in time of the plan's implementation, a crucial time as strategic plan leaders enter the next phase of measurement, prioritization, and alignment with Campaign Emory.

Religions and the Human Spirit Initiative explores interplay among religion, health, conflict, society, and the arts
April 1, 2008

What are the connections between religion and health?  What is the role of religion in motivating social conflicts and peace?  How does the complex interplay among religion, society, and the arts express itself in teaching, research, student life, and performance at Emory?  From religious extremism to meditation practices, Emory scholars across the humanities, basic and clinical sciences, and social sciences are studying how religious beliefs and practices drive social change, shape attitudes and institutions, influence health and well being, and address matters of ultimate concern.

As one of Emory’s cross-cutting strategic plan initiatives, Religions and the Human Spirit partners with other parts of the university to address these and other challenging and sometimes contentious points where religion and our common life intersect.  Initially under the leadership of Professors Laurie Patton and Carol Newsom in Religion and Theology respectively, the initiative is currently led by Gordon Newby, Mary Elizabeth Moore, and Bobbi Patterson in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, theology, and religion, respectively.  Over twenty additional faculty from across the university also play key roles in guiding the initiative.

The Collaborative for Contemplative Studies and the Religion and Health Collaborative are two of the program’s six sub-initiatives that focus on the relationship between religious practices and health and well being.  Contemplative Studies helped sponsor the fall 2007 Mind and Life Institute with His Holiness the Dalai Lama that explored the potential of meditation as a preventative and treatment strategy for depression.  Over three thousand people attending the event heard results from an ongoing study sponsored by the Collaborative for Contemplative Studies that has found that students who practiced compassion meditation experienced significant reductions in deleterious physical and emotional responses to stress.   

The Religion and Health Collaborative’s fall 2007 Maps and Mazes conference explored critical inquiry at the intersection of religion and health, with partners from South Africa and faculty from across the U.S.  In January 2008 the Collaborative awarded three seed grants to multidisciplinary teams of researchers across the health sciences, theology, and Emory College.  Research topics include religion and hospice use among African Americans, religious health assets in water projects in Haiti, and spirituality and maternal-infant outcomes among Latinas.  Due dates for letters of intent for next year’s seed grant program will be announced in the late spring of 2008.

A third sub-initiative, Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, partnered with the Institute for Comparative and International Studies, the Candler School of Theology and a wide spectrum of programs across Emory in hosting a public event titled The Wrathful God: Religious Extremism in Comparative Perspective.  Held in March 2008, the event included presentations probing religious extremism from a wide variety of perspectives.  It followed on the heels of the Summit on Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding held in fall 2007.  Also featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as prominent scholars, leaders, and activists, the summit drew large crowds as the panelists examined the positive and negative impact of religious practices across Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

Three additional sub-initiatives round out Religions and the Human Spirit.  Religion and Science seeks to deepen religious and ethical engagement with scientific research into such areas as the brain and behavior and the origins of life.  Religion and Sexuality studies how religious stories, rules and rituals shape human sexuality and is acquiring a large collection of rare library materials to attract leading scholars and facilitate research.  Religion, Society, and the Arts fosters a deeper understanding of the ways the arts express and explore the multiple dimensions of life in different religious contexts and offers programming that reaches across Emory and the Atlanta area, such as participating in the Cradle of Christianity exhibit at the Carlos Museum, 

For more information on opportunities to pursue crosscutting scholarship sponsored by Religions and the Human Spirit, please visit the website

From Mary Elizabeth Moore: “The most significant contribution of Religions and the Human Spirit is the ferment it has created. It has stirred the human spirit at Emory and has thus contributed exponentially to interdisciplinary research in religion, creative teaching experiments, and meaningful service with and to the larger community. Its lasting contribution will be further ferment, carried forth by faculty, students, and staff who are committed to research and teaching trajectories that are incubating now under the auspices of the Initiative.”