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June 24, 2002

SPC report urges no A&S changes

By Michael Terrazas

Charged last fall with reviewing Emory’s administrative structures in the Arts and Sciences (A&S) and determining what changes, if any, are warranted, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) has made its conclusion: Until Emory College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences can launch comprehensive strategic planning efforts and address pending development priorities, substantial changes in the administrative structures that govern—and, indeed, integrate—the two schools are not warranted.

The SPC issued its report to President Bill Chace just after Commencement, according to interim Provost Howard Hunter, who cochaired the committee along with Michelle Lampl, associate professor of anthropology. The committee itself consisted of elected representatives from both the college and graduate school, along with members appointed by the administration and from the Graduate Division of Biological & Biomedical Sciences.

“Before Emory can develop a new structure for [A&S], we must have a clear vision for its development,” the report said. “Furthermore, it is imperative to put in place permanent deans of both the College and the Graduate School prior to the launch of the fundraising initiative recently approved by the administration. For these reasons, we believe that administrative stability is presently in the best interests of [A&S].”

However the report does present to the president a number of themes that arose over the course of SPC’s work, as well as suggestions for addressing various areas of concern. Through several town hall meetings and correspondence with faculty, the primary goal that arose was the need for an overall strengthening of the graduate school. Included in the report are calls to:

• increase funding for the graduate school.

• make clear that the dean of the graduate school be a principal leader in setting development priorties for the University.

• take steps to ensure the graduate dean be involved in budget planning and have a voice in hiring as well as tenure and promotion decisions.

“In truth, the graduate school dean has not been nearly as involved in development work or setting development priorities as would be appropriate,” Hunter acknowledged. “The graduate dean is really an advocate for all the doctoral programs. At the same time, the graduate dean does not actually have a ‘school,’ as such—there’s no building, there are no [unique] faculty lines—so you really have to push the graduate dean into the normal budgeting, hiring and promotion process to make sure the mission of graduate education/ doctoral programs is kept at the forefront.”

Thirty years ago, Hunter said, Emory’s graduate school was much smaller and the situation much less complex than it is now, after the University has experienced a period of growth in programs and activities that is virtually unprecedented among modern research universities.

“We have a much bigger and more complicated enterprise, so the relationship between the college and the graduate school is also bigger and more complicated and involves more people,” Hunter said. “We need to look at how we’re doing things to make sure we’re doing them correctly.”

But with permanent vacancies both in the provost’s office and the Emory College dean’s office, as well as an interim college dean who himself is on sabbatical from his duties as graduate school dean, now is not the time for such an examination, the SPC concluded. And, in the end, it may turn out that Emory’s existing structure is the best one, after all.

“A model like we have is not atypical; there are other universities that have similar models,” Hunter said. “We didn’t find any one model that you could look at and say, ‘Hey, this is the right thing for a private, category 1 research university.’ We found there were lots of models.”

Another recommendation in the report is the re-formation of the Council of Arts and Sciences, consisting of the provost and the deans of the college and graduate school. This council, which has existed in the past as an informal gathering of A&S administrators, would meet frequently and “should act as a forum for the chief academic officers of [A&S] to discuss issues that bridge the College and Graduate School.”