January 22, 2002
Faculty Council discusses URC, academic freedom
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
Chair Frank Vandall convened the first Faculty Council meeting of 2002
on Jan. 15 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration. First on the agenda were
remarks from President Bill Chace, who recalled for the council his 1995
inauguration address, in which he pledged a quick end to campus construction.
Chace then estimated there currently is about $800 million in capital
projects ongoing at the University. This thing could have gotten
out of hand if I hadnt [pledged to end construction], Chace
On a more serious note, Chace said law Professor Richard Freer will head
the committee searching for a new law school dean after the search was
extended prior to winter break. Chace said there is some carryover from
the previous search committee, and the renewed search will pay more attention
to internal candidates. He said he hopes a new dean is hired by the end
of this semester.
Cy Wilcox, chair of the University Research Committee (URC), delivered
an efficacy report on URC grants and their returns to Emory in the form
of subsequent external research funding. The committees numbers
show that, during the period from fall 1990 to spring 2000, URC dispensed
a total of roughly $6 million in grants. The committee asked investigators
to report back any subsequent external funding their projects received
within three years of the initial URC grant, and the total reported back
was more than $48 million, which meant that every $1 URC awarded resulted
in an additional $8 coming back to Emory.
The council discussed the distribution of grant monies between projects
channeled through URCs five subcommittes: biological and health
sciences, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences,
and performing and visual arts. Wilcox said the deadline for the next
funding cycle is Feb. 15.
Interim Provost Woody Hunter said the search for a new Carlos Museum
director is progressing, with airport interviews to be held Feb. 11. Art
history chair Clark Poling is chairing the search committee. Hunter also
encouraged faculty to apply for grants from the University Teaching Fund,
which he called a sister committee to URC.
Scott Lilienfeld, associate professor of psychology, spoke to the council
about his recent experiences with the American Psychological Association
and the furor over a study published in Psychological Bulletin
in 1998 that questioned the link between childhood abuse and subsequent
adult mental pathology. A full description of Lilienfelds experiences
is available online at the Academic Exchange website, located at
in the newsletters December 2001/January 2002 issue.
Summarizing any lessons he took from the experience, Lilienfeld
simply advised young professors to be careful when touching
on research subjects that have become political hotbuttons either in popular
culture or in government. When asked what resources the University has
to defend faculty whose work is threatened either legally or quasi-legally,
Vice Provost Harriet King said Emory has what essentially is academic
malpractice insurance for such cases, as was vividly demonstrated
in the British libel trial of Professor Deborah Lipstadt.
Lilienfeld said some campuswide discussion might be overdue on the nature
of academic freedom. Chace, along with several in attendance, agreed it
was a subject well worth fresh examination and fortification.
The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Feb. 19 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.
If you have a question or concertn for Faculty Council, e-mail Vandall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emory University, Copyright 2002