Academic Exchange: A Lively Forum for Faculty

When Allison Adams 00G became founding editor of The Academic Exchange nearly a decade ago in response to faculty’s call for a deeper sense of intellectual community at Emory, she envisioned the journal as a forum for lively discourse and scholarly conversation.

What she didn’t realize was that the idea would be so novel. “I’ll never forget when Rebecca Chopp, Emory’s provost at the time, told me she went to a meeting of provosts and talked about The Academic Exchange,” Adams says. “It was just getting started, and we were all excited about it. They stared at her and said, ‘Why would you want to stir the pot?’ ”

Adams’s intentions are to create “dialogue instead of dichotomy,” she says, but she admits to asking tough questions and providing a place for critical voices.

“The first time we really upset the apple cart was a piece we did in 2002 on faculty recruitment and retention called ‘Staying Power,’ which took Emory to task on what it was and wasn’t doing to keep our star faculty around. Emory was seen as a launching pad for careers, and we lost some impressive people—there were a number of raids,” Adams says.

AE is funded by the provost’s office and the print version is sent bimonthly to 3,400 Emory faculty, and an online supplement is emailed weekly. Cover topics have included: “Resources, Risk, and Reward: Getting what you need as a faculty member,” and “Ideas for Sale: Will technology transfer undermine the academy or save it?”

“AE cuts across borders, finding issues that deserve to be looked at from different perspectives and by different pools of talent,” says Sidney Perkowitz, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Physics, an advisory board member. “Though Emory often succeeds in making this happen in research and teaching, sometimes turf protection and bureaucratic complexity get in the way. But AE is a conversation, and that makes for a different and welcome atmosphere in coming together.”—M.J.L.

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