May 3, 1999
Volume 51, No. 30
College/Campus Life committee blends academic and social life
One of the goals stated in A Vision for Emory, and one of Provost Rebecca Chopp's favorite topics, is Emory's quest to enhance and enrich its sense of intellectual community, to encourage the spirit of learning to permeate the entire University, not just its classrooms.
A new program, the Emory College/Campus Life Joint Activities Committee (JAC), is lending financial support to campus initiatives that strive to do just what Vision and Chopp have in mind. Conceived a year ago by College Dean Steve Sanderson, the JAC reviews and awards up to $5,000 to faculty and/or student proposals that blend the supposedly separate worlds of academic and social pursuits.
"This effort came about because of a sense that relations between Campus Life and the college could be improved," Sanderson said. The college provides JAC's $50,000 annual budget, which, Sanderson said, "aims to spread intellectual life beyond the classroom."
Campus Life Dean Frances Lucas-Tauchar co-chairs the committee with Sanderson, made up of faculty, administrators and students. Each of the four proposals it approved last year featured faculty/student interaction as a major component. For example, in March three English professors took a group of Sigma Tau Delta (the English honors society) members to Atlanta's Shakespeare Tavern to see a production of Julius Caesar.
"I don't think the active presence or involvement of a faculty member has been absolutely essential, but just some sense that these projects have something to do with intellectual or academic aspects of students' undergraduate experience," said committee member Walt Reed, professor of English.
Theater studies got funding to take a group of students to the 1999 Humana Festival of New North American Plays in Louisville, Ky.; the Violence Studies program was funded for a proposal co-sponsored by several other campus and student organizations and designed to educate students about sexual violence; and an introductory economics class received money for a tea for faculty and student winners of a class contest.
The recently announced Emory Internships is the first student-oriented venture sponsored by the JAC. This internship encourages undergraduate involvement in a community and social service activity by offering three internships per semester with stipends of $1,500 per student. Interns work closely with a faculty advisor who serves as a mentor.
In addition the committee funded several student proposals and co-sponsored the Out to Lunch Program, which provides for students to take faculty members to lunch. Funds also have been set aside to assist the Evening With Nobel Laureates program, by which students can attend a reception and dinner of Nobel Prize winners visiting Emory.
"I think it's terrific, one of the most interesting things I've done since I've been here," said JAC member Karen Stolley, associate professor of Spanish. "We're looking for proposals where we're clear who they're going to reach. It doesn't have to be a huge audience, but you want it to reach either a small, passionate audience or have the potential to reach out to a larger community."
JAC strives for selectivity, although it has funded most of the proposals it has received. One of the criteria for selection is that the programs not normally receive departmental funding; Sally Wolff King, associate dean of the college, said some of the proposals that had in fact received departmental money were sent back for clarification or reconceptualization.
Wolff King said the grant opportunities were advertised and have generated interest among faculty who have responded by submitting innovative proposals to the committee. She still plans on promoting the program more next year through LearnLink, e-mail and other means. The committee evaluated five proposals during 1998-99 and has received two already for fall semester.
"I think we're doing fine, considering the short life of JAC," Sanderson said. "The real question is whether the community of students, faculty and staff will generate new ideas that we can support. Right now JAC is generating too much of the action internally; we need students, especially, to help us produce ideas."