Frye addresses values, objectives
and institutional character of Emory: A Vision for Emory released
This issue contains the text of Chancellor Billy Frye's report,
A Vision for Emory. In the report, Frye offers ways Emory can build
on the ideas presented in Choices & Responsibility.
Our central aim is to make Emory one of the best universities in the
nation and the world. We wish to do so in our terms, not merely by following
the tracks of older, leading institutions. Choices & Responsibility,
published in 1994, was written as a statement about the core values that
we wish to advance as we pursue that ultimate aim. This report builds upon
that earlier document to suggest how those values can be realized.
There was a time when the needs of Emory were so great that almost any
choice we made would advance the quality of the university. Today, we enjoy
the benefits of the remarkable progress that has been made in strengthening
Emory in the last two decades. However, growth has slowed; the need to bring
greater identity and coherence to our programs and culture has risen; and
as our standing in the academic community has grown, so has the obligation
to define clearly the ways we choose to be excellent. And so the university
and its units and divisions are engaged more overtly in planning than ever
This report addresses that aspect of planning that defines and clarifies
the values, the long-term objectives, and the ultimate character of the
institution that we seek to build. It reflects conversations with many hundreds
of faculty, staff, and students during the past two years. My hope is that
it captures a vision that can guide us as we set proximate goals and that
will help shape into a coherent whole the myriad individual decisions and
actions through which the university continually reinvents itself. This
report should serve three interrelated purposes. It should advance a sense
of shared vision and expectation for Emory that builds upon and goes beyond
Choices & Responsibility. It should foster continuation of campuswide
discussion and debate on the proper goals and character of Emory. And, it
should bring greater discipline, direction, and consonance of purpose to
the use of our fiscal resources. It is therefore not a map, but a compass-more
a set of guidelines about how we should conduct our business and set our
priorities than an agenda of what we will do.
In the historical overview that follows, Emory's history is described
in terms of four epochs that have built successively upon one another from
the time of our rural beginnings at Oxford until the present period, in
which we have become a strong contender for the highest rank of American
universities. Today we are, in a sense, launching a new phase-the fifth
epoch-of our development. We well may ask, therefore: what are the outcomes
we should expect if we are diligent in our pursuit of the recommendations
in this report? In what ways will Emory be different when another generation
looks back upon our time in history? Out of the mix of deliberate intentions
set forth in these recommendations and the inevitable flow of social forces,
a number of characteristics will emerge.
First, Emory will enjoy a well-deserved reputation as both an outstanding
teaching institution and a distinguished center of original scholarship.
Having risen ever higher in the quality and reputation of our scholarly
research in all its forms, we also will have been true to our legacy of
excellent teaching. We will have achieved an energizing fusion between teaching
and research-a complementarity in which the synergy between teaching and
research is valued as much as their individual contributions to learning
Second, the Emory community likewise will continue to be united by an
unabashed sense of moral purpose. Building upon our roots in the Methodist
Church and in Southern culture, improvement in the well-being of humankind
through knowledge will be the moral doctrine that underpins our teaching,
research, and service mission.
Third, interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration among departments
and schools will occupy a more prominent part of our intellectual landscape.
The disciplines will have become less confining and less competitive with
one another, thus seeing themselves as integral parts of the larger university.
Fourth, the use of digital technologies will support the flow of information
between and among sources and users, irrespective of location, format, or
disciplinary boundaries. But access to scholarly information-not infatuation
with technology-will be the engine that drives this information vehicle.
Fifth, the boundaries between the university and the outside world will
in some important ways be less sharp than they are today. The advancement
and use of scholarly knowledge, not physical or organizational boundaries,
will define the proper venues of teaching and research with more certainty
than ever before.
Sixth, we will be more international in our profile. As knowledge becomes
more global in both literal and figurative senses, this fact will be reflected
in the composition of the student body and the faculty, in the content and
structure of the curriculum, and in the scope of our teaching, research,
and public-service programs.
Seventh, the social and cultural landscape of Emory also will reflect
national and global changes in society. Not just an inevitable response
to these changes, this diversification will be embraced by Emory as an opportunity
to create a more responsible and stimulating intellectual and social environment.
Eighth, the financial support of the university through partnerships
with external entities-corporations, governments, foundations, and philanthropic
agencies-will reflect the greater interdependence between the university
and the larger society.
Ninth, these changes will be mirrored in the physical campus. While physical
changes will inevitably be slow, the structure and aesthetics of the campus
will have begun to support a more integrated intellectual community.
Tenth, and finally, the intellectual matrix of the university will be
even more dense and muscular than it is today, and the Emory community will
have molded for itself a more confident view of what academic excellence
means. While we will continue to measure ourselves by international standards
of scholarship, we will be less concerned to follow in the footsteps of
universities with long-established reputations for preeminence and more
concerned to decide for ourselves what is right for Emory.
Taken in the aggregate, this constellation of changes will result in
a great and dynamic university that is building upon its roots to produce
an excellent institution that is at once powerful in its intelligence, moral
in its sensibilities, global in its perspective, and distinctive in its
This report is the result of numerous conversations during the past two
years with hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and alumni about the future
of Emory, and in particular about how to promote the values discussed in
Choices & Responsibility. I haven't the space to recognize individually
every person and group that has contributed to this endeavor. Nonetheless,
I must acknowledge my particular indebtedness to the University Priorities
Committee, the Faculty Council of the Senate, and the Strategic Planning
Task Force for the time and energy that they gave to this project. I also
am greatly indebted to Susan Frost, Harriet King, and Jan Cahoon for the
many contributions that they made to the report and the process leading
up to it, and for their indispensable personal support.
to April 27, 1998 Contents Page