Emory Report
February 21, 2005
Volume 57, Number 20


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February 21, 2005
Faculty Council discusses teaching center

BY Michael Terrazas

Johnnie Ray, senior vice president for Development and University Relations, opened the Feb. 15 Faculty Council meeting in 400 Administration by introducing himself and sharing his thoughts on Emory’s upcoming comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

Ray said higher education in general is looking for a renewed “contract” with American society. During the Cold War, that contract was understood, as colleges and universities brought their expertise to bear on national priorities. Since the early 1990s, Ray said, the contract has been less clear, and post-World War II generations must be presented with a “two-way value proposition” when asking for their support.

The campaign will start Sept. 1 and last seven years, Ray said. The dollar goal has not been finalized, but he said he wants to downplay dollar figures and focus on results. “Raising money and achieving results can be distinct missions,” he said. “We need to be concerned about the ‘For what?’ question.”

Next on the agenda was an update on the fiscal year 2006 budget from Senior Vice Provost Charlotte Johnson. She began by running through a list of cost drivers for next year’s budget, listing priorities for scholarships, special initiatives, teaching and research support, to student support, community building, administrative and operational costs, and other areas.

As of now, Johnson said, budget planners are projecting a 6 percent growth in revenues and a 7 percent growth in expenses, resulting in a shortcoming of some $3.3 million. The planners, she added, are continuing to review costs and expenditures to balance the budget. It is scheduled to be approved by the Board of Trustees in April.

Jim Morey from the English department, representing the University Advisory Council on Teaching (UACT), asked the council for its views on establishing a Universitywide teaching center to assist faculty. Such a center was proposed in the 1997 Teaching at Emory report, but at the time faculty determined that pedagogical needs and strategies were so different across Emory’s schools that localized centers would be more helpful.

UACT serves as an umbrella body, and Morey pointed out the “alphabet soup” of teaching-related entities that have been created in the past several years: ECLC (Emory College Language Center), CTC (Center for Teaching and Curriculum), UTF (University Teaching Fund) and ECIT (Emory Center for Interactive Teaching), to name a few.

While acknowledging the wide variety of teaching techniques across the schools, most council members felt a Universitywide center would be useful, at the very least to help negotiate the teaching-support services that already exist. Rich Metters from Goizueta Business School said such a center could be a place to build bridges. Morey said UACT members are forming committees within each school to further gauge interest, and he would report their findings at the March council meeting.

Provost Earl Lewis urged council members to mark their calendars for April 7–8, when Emory will hold a Futurists Forum with noted scholars from across the country. Part of the strategic planning process, the “futurists” will give their own thoughts on what’s in store for higher education and meet with the committees exploring the proposed signature themes. Lewis also told council members not to be surprised if they are asked to participate in one of those signature theme committees, and he urged them to do so.

To close the meeting, President Jim Wagner also touched on the strategic plan, saying he’s “been doing a lot of speaking lately” on the subject. Recent meetings with alumni in Dallas and Houston, he said, were well attended, and Wagner told the groups the plan promises to give them compelling reasons to invest support in their alma mater.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be Tuesday, March 22, at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.