September 8, 1997
Volume 50, No. 3
The Commission on Teaching submits this report to the Emory community as well as to the president and provost with the hope of both extending and deepening support for teaching across the university. In the process of preparing this report, we have found a long-standing commitment to teaching in the different schools of the university, rich diversity in teaching practices in and beyond the classroom, and a widespread hope that Emory will distinguish itself in the future-in some tangible and credible fashion-as a university that values teaching as much as it values research.
The report of the commission affirms our opportunities and responsibilities, individual and collective, with regard to teaching at Emory. Urging specific actions, it gives substance to the hope that Emory will be known as a first-class university in all respects. In order for the reality of teaching at Emory to reach our highest aspirations, all members of this community must make a commitment to the realization of this goal.
We charge the president and provost to set an agenda in which teaching is regarded as highly as research. We encourage the deans, directors, and department chairs to create an environment within their programs in which teaching is valued, supported, and-following clear and well-documented evaluation-rewarded. We challenge faculty to seize the opportunity for their teaching, its development, and its evaluation. We urge students to contribute to and participate actively in the intellectual community, which fosters excellence both in teaching and learning. We invite staff to work toward the enrichment of the teaching environment in all parts of the university. In short, there is much work to be done.
To build on the foundation of this report, the commission will sponsor a number of opportunities for discussion and debate. During the fall, several hundred faculty will be selected randomly to come together in small groups to consider how the recommendations outlined in Teaching at Emory might be implemented. We are also planning a special conversation for all members of the faculty and opportunities for discipline-specific groups to advise the administration. In addition, we invite faculty, either individually or in groups, to initiate more informal, yet focused conversations with one or more commission members.
It is our hope and intent that Teaching at Emory will serve as a catalyst to promote an ongoing process of valuing and supporting the many ways in which teaching significantly shapes the course and opportunities of Emory University as we move into the twenty-first century.
The Commission on Teaching
Dear Emory Colleague,
Please let me ask you to give a close look at Teaching at Emory, the enclosed report of the Commission on Teaching. Issued after nineteen months of investigation and debate, the report examines the conditions of teaching at Emory and puts forward ten recommendations for action. When taken together, these recommendations have the potential, I believe, to improve the nature and increase the quality of the intellectual community we share.
I also take this opportunity to thank the members of the commission for their hard work and dedication to their task. Special gratitude goes to Rebecca Chopp and Walter Reed, chair and co-chair of the commission. As interim provost, Rebecca Chopp will lead our efforts to implement the recommendations and expand the conversations the report calls for. In short, our work is far from done.
I therefore urge you to read the report and discuss its implications informally with your colleagues. In the coming weeks, there will be a number of opportunities to come together more formally to consider our next steps, and I hope you will be a part of this process. One of these occasions will be on November 11 at 4 p.m. in Cox Hall, when the commission, the deans, the provost, and I will host a university faculty meeting to discuss implementing the report. Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend.
Thank you for your attention to the report. It represents a significant step toward achieving more fully our dual commitments to excellence in both research and teaching, and I eagerly anticipate the work before us.
William M. Chace