Now well into its second semester, the Commission on Research at
Emory not only continues to review the philosophical questions driving
its work but also investigates research in practical terms, questioning
who gets tenure and why, how departmental cultures might better
foster creative work, and how the Universitys infrastructure
With these issues in mind, the committee for defining research
has collected brief narratives from chairs on their units
research cultures. This committee also has completed matrices capturing
updated research components in order to compare Emorys different
schools as well as the Universitys position among peer institutions.
The committee on cultivating researchers focuses not only on how
the Universitys research communities develop over time, but
alsoand perhaps more importantlyhow their current status
functions within Emorys research culture as a whole. By focusing
on how researchers develop in the present, this committee hopes
to promote important recommendations for the future of research
at Emory. The committee hopes that a questionnaire it sent to all
department chairs will shed some light on these issues.
The committee on infrastructure has summarized and evaluated its
findings from the faculty hearings it co-sponsored with the committee
on cultivating researchers. This group also is discussing such key
issues as spaceincluding space to interact with
other faculty as well as space to workand constraints,
such as varying service obligations across the University. In addition
the infrastructure group is analyzing thoroughly the Universitys
education and research budget.
Finally, the committee on ethics and research held three important
meetings this month. In one meeting it talked with representatives
from each of the graduate professional schools and the principal
departments of both Emory College and Oxford. The committee also
met with Jim Keller, current chair of Emorys Institutional
Review Board (IRB), and with Tanya Sudia-Robinson, vice-chair for
an IRB committee.
Commission co-chairs Claire Sterk and David Carr said the work
of these four sub-committees is both impressive and paced to meet
their projected deadlines.
infrastructure and ethics
Both the committees on research infrastructure, (co-chaired by Sterk
and Lanny Liebeskind) and on research and ethics (co-chaired by
Jim Fowler and Arthur Kellermann) are questioning how research issues
affect the daily lives of Emorys faculty.
One key question, according to Liebeskind, is What are we
doing well with respect to research? In their search for an
answer, group members are compiling both anecdotal and quantitative
data from the various academic units.
The group has collected statistics on faculty counts, foundation
support, research expenditures and Ph.D. programs. Committee members
also are interviewing representatives from the Office of Institutional
Research, the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Information Technology
Division, among others.
The ethics and research committee is focusing on two related questions,
the first being the overall impact of research in shaping the University.
Serious efforts to expand biological and biomedical research with
major new facilities have created disparities in allocation of space
and University support. The committee believes development policies
that strengthen research in one area need to be balanced with overall
concern for the long-term health of research and teaching throughout
The second question concerns how research is conducted in each
of Emorys research cultures. The ethics committee is
looking specifically at the procedures by which we train doctoral
candidates across our departments, grounding them in practices of
research integrity, Fowler said. We discover that many
faculty in both the arts and sciences feel that their background
and training in the ethics of research were informal and uneven.
These findings suggest further strengthening of our programs for
faculty as well as graduate students.