Observable Outcomes

The strategic plan, seven years in

By Mary Loftus

Portrait

Brainiac: High school senior Evan Kiely studied brains through Emory's neuroscience initiative.

Kay Hinton

Like ground water or oxygen, a university’s strategic plan is nourishing, yet often invisible—at work behind the scenes to birth programs, support research, and allow students to flourish.

Emory’s strategic plan—a ten-year road map created to guide the university toward its mission and vision—is at the seven-year mark, and leaders agreed that this fall was a good time to take stock, celebrate, and recharge. In October, an open, conference-style poster session was held in the Cox Hall Ballroom, with presenters on hand to describe their work. More than sixty posters showcased scholarly and community projects supported by strategic plan funds.

Included were posters from the Office of Sustainability, which applied a green touch by attaching an iPad to run a slideshow of Emory’s environmentally friendly dorms, educational gardens, and Tuesday Farmers Market; the Transforming Communities Project, which highlighted its oral history project, community partnerships, and conversational roundtables; and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE), which helps faculty grow in their varied and multiple roles.

“We tend to see the strategic plan as an abstract cloud, but there are things on the ground happening all the time that probably would not have existed without it,” said CFDE director Steve Everett.

Global health projects were also represented. “Emory is quite unique in having an interdisciplinary focus on global public health that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” said Professor of Sociology Ellen Idler.

Decatur High School senior Evan Kiely was thankful for an opportunity closer to home: a summer research institute on neuroscience at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, sponsored through the Emory neuroscience initiative, which hosted ten students and teachers. “We were able to observe a necropsy,” he says, “and we studied the distinctions between human, chimp, and dolphin brains. It was amazing.”

“Our challenge during the next three years,” said President James Wagner, “will be preparing the strategic map for the next phase of Emory’s journey.”

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