September 10, 2001
Research commission gets under way
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
In early 1996, Emory launched a bold, campuswide initiative that sought to probe the soundness of one of the twin pillars of higher education. The effort culminated in a comprehensive report, Teaching at Emory, that provided a detailed structural analysis of pedagogy at the University.
Five years later, its the other pillars turn.
This fall marks the formal launch of Research at Emory, a
Universitywide commission charged with determining the very nature of
research and scholarship on this campus, examining everything from applications
to infrastructure to funding. The plan is to produce a companion document
to Teaching at Emory, but just as important will be the educationthe
enlightenment, evencommission members and their colleagues receive
along the way.
Twenty-four faculty and administrators from across campus make up the
commission itself, which also encompasses four smaller committees. Each
committee will be charged
Its almost Part 2 in my mind of the large process of the
University trying to get a better handle on its identity and vision,
said commission chair Claire Sterk, chair of behavioral sciences and health
education in the School of Public Health.
But its a little bit different, Sterk continued, in
that we will be able to build on Teaching at Emory and will be able to
make some statements about linking teaching and research. Having said
that, part of the key debate is that, in this day and age, we tend to
think of research in terms of external funding; as universities increasingly
rely on external research funding, we start equating research with money.
The commission, however, will center on a broad definition of scholarship.
The research equals money idea Sterk mentioned is an understandable
phenomenon, considering the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into
the University each year for researchmost of it related in some
way to the health sciences. But that is precisely the perception the commission
hopes to dispel by drawing on the experience and expertise of faculty
from all corners of campus.
It was very important to me that the humanities be represented,
that some humanistic thought go into the whole conception of research
at a university, said David Carr, Candler Professor of Philosophy
and commission co-chair. Its just getting across to people
in the sciences what research in the humanities is like and what it involvesnot
a lot of big bucks for instruments, but certainly time.
Each of the four committees has a chair and co-chair, and they include
anthropologys Carol Worthman and biologys Les Real; psychologys
Kim Wallen and anthropologys Michelle Lampl; the School of Medicines
Stephen Warren from genetics and Tom Insel from psychiatry and behavioral
sciences; and the Center for Ethics Jim Fowler and Art Kellermann
from emergency medicine in the School of Public Health.
Sterk said the commission will go about its work by soliciting input
in each and every way possible. Town-hall meetings, outside
speakers, brownbag lunches, individual meetings and panel discussionsall
are possibilities, she said.
I would like it to be a very open process, where everyone knows
whats going on, Sterk said. The committees will have
a lot of say in terms of what mechanism works for their group. My main
role is to put all those pieces together, do constant integration and
content analysis, and make sure
Providing administrative support for the commission will be Kim Loudermilk
from the provosts office; Frank Stout, vice president for research;
and Susan Frost, newly appointed vice president for strategic development.
The president, the provost and the deans are intensely interested
in this work, Frost said. In addition to keeping the the calendars
going, I hope to provide a constant flow of information between the administration
and the faculty in both directions.
Speaking of calendars, the particular timing of the project allows Emory
to use it to meet reaccreditation requirements of the Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools (SACS). SACS now offers colleges and universities
of whether to conduct its traditional self-study or this alternative
self-study that focuses on a central strategic planning objective.
In fact, Emory is partly responsible for this option, which did not exist
the last time SACS came to campus 10 years ago, according to Harriet King,
senior vice provost for academic affairs, whose office will oversee the
accreditation side of the project. King said, following the last accreditation,
former president Jim Laney and former provost Billy Frye asked SACS to
design a self-study model similar to the one ultimately adopted.
SACS will require a report to be submitted prior to its own evaluation teams visit to campus in early 2003. Sterk and Frost said to expect the commissions final report sometime thereafter.