Liaison initiative invites Emory faculty to participate in Carter Center programs

Although The Carter Center has been a part of Emory since the center's inception 14 years ago, some Emory faculty have expressed frustration over not being able to connect their work more closely with the work of The Carter Center.

Thanks to a new program initiated by The Carter Center and the Faculty Council, that sense of frustration is being addressed. Provost Billy Frye and the academic deans have approved The Carter Center Faculty Liaison Program, and Emory faculty are invited to apply for positions as liaisons for one-year terms beginning this fall.

The idea for the Carter Center Faculty Liaison Program took root in the Faculty Council and has been shepherded through the approval process by former Faculty Council President Luther Smith of the theology faculty. The Council's Executive Committee had discussed faculty concerns over their relationship with The Carter Center. "An ongoing concern of the faculty was a sense of being on the fringes of what The Carter Center is about," Smith said. "Many faculty felt that not much advantage was being taken of their availability to contribute to The Carter Center's programs."

Last year, the Faculty Council invited Marion Creekmore, Carter Center director of programs and Emory vice provost for International Affairs, to discuss faculty concerns with the Council. "That's when the conversations began about how to bridge the gap between the faculty and The Carter Center," Smith said.

Creekmore pointed out that Emory faculty have been involved in Carter Center programs for some time on a comparatively informal basis. That includes faculty participation in Carter Center simulations of political conferences, and helping to strengthen The Carter Center Internship Program, in which about 50 of 100 interns are Emory students. "I see the Faculty Liaison Program," Creekmore said, "as a new and exciting component to bring the talents of Emory and The Carter Center together for the benefit of both."

While acknowledging the contrast between Emory's mission of generating and transmitting new knowledge and The Carter Center's more action-oriented mission of solving problems that directly affect people's lives, Creekmore sees them as "two circles with points of intersection. That's where we are trying to work. And I hope that over the years, those points of intersection will expand and there will be even more areas where it makes sense for us to work together."

The Carter Center Faculty Liaison Program outlines five roles for faculty liaisons:

*To become familiar with the goals, operations and work of a Carter Center program;

*To offer their expertise to Carter Center program directors when appropriate;

*To consider ways in which Emory faculty might be a resource to programs, and how the programs could be a resource to students and faculty;

*To communicate with colleagues within their department or school about research and service opportunities with The Carter Center; and

*To report to the Faculty Council on their experience as liaisons and offer recommendations for enhancing the Carter Center/Emory faculty relationship.

Carter Center program areas include: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Global Development Initiative, Latin America and the Caribbean, Mental Health, Interfaith Health, The Atlanta Project, The America Project, Global 2000, Not Even One (gun violence among youths), and the affiliated Task Force for Child Survival and Development.

Either during the summer or beginning of fall semester, faculty liaisons will meet with program directors to be briefed on the program's status. The liaison and director then will discuss possible activities of the liaison. The extent of time committed to the program and the nature of the liaison involvement will be left to the liaison and program director to agree upon. Liaison activities might include attending staff meetings, offering consultation to directors, attending program events, or taking a significant responsibility in program planning or in a program event. Liaisons are asked to make a one-year commitment to their programs.

The deadline to apply for the Carter Center Faculty Liaison Program is Wednesday, May 1. For application information, interested faculty should contact Joyce Jones, Carter Center education coordinator, at (404) 420-5151.

--Dan Treadaway

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