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January 29, 2001

Defining research will be
Faculty Council proj

By Michael Terrazas

The first Faculty Council meeting of 2001, held Jan. 16 in 400 Administration, opened with Harriet King reporting for President Bill Chace and Provost Rebecca Chopp, who were attending a memorial service for the late John Bostwick.

King, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said the provost’s office is beginning to prepare for the accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, scheduled for 2003. For its self-study component, the University has selected “Research at Emory” as the theme, and

King said the provost’s office is looking for input along four aspects:
• What is research at Emory?
• Who are the Emory faculty doing research?
• What is the condition of Emory’s research infrastructure?
• Where is the University’s “intellectual community” shaped?

The council began a discussion that examined these questions and more, including whether it was even possible to define “research” at a university as broad as Emory; whether individual disciplines know what research is to them; and the importance of academic freedom versus commercialization. Council Chair Claire Sterk pledged to continue this discussion at future meetings.

Arri Eisen, reporting for the University Teaching Fund (UTF), presented a proposal for wording changes in the “charter” of the UTF, which functions as a council committee. The language, in effect, eliminated the mandate for UTF to fund only “innovative” teaching projects and would allow the group to approve funding for proposals that are worthy but not necessarily innovative. The proposal also deleted the prohibition on UTF funding release time and computer hardware.

After amending the proposal further—the council struck a statement saying UTF monies are not meant to fund “curriculum reform”—the council approved it unanimously.

Don Harris of Information Technology gave a presentation seeking volunteers to help plan a “teaching with technology” conference on campus next fall. The council officially endorsed the conference and said it would refer interested faculty to Harris.

Jean Porter of the Well House and Madge Donnellan of the nursing school gave a presentation on a health-assessment program they have been offering to select University populations for a couple years. They asked if the council thought faculty would be open to participating in such a program, and the council replied in the affirmative, assuming health and related information are kept appropriately confidential.

To close the meeting, the council began a discussion of a proposed intellectual property policy that was submitted to faculty last spring by the provost’s office. A number of council members voiced deep reservations about the proposed policy and the manner in which it had been communicated to faculty.

King said she understood the concerns but stressed that the “problems” faculty perceived from the language were not intended as such by its authors. Both King and Vice President for Research Administration Frank Stout pledged to maintain open and wide communication with faculty, through both Faculty Council and less formal avenues, while the policy is being crafted.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Feb. 20 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, send
e-mail to Sterk at


Back to Emory Report Jan. 29, 2001