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January 31 , 2005
Lewis presents planning themes to Faculty Council
BY Michael Terrazas
Provost Earl Lewis began the Jan. 18 Faculty Council meeting in 400 Administration with an update on the strategic planning process. Lewis, who co-chairs the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, reviewed the effort to date and said the next step will focus on an intensive review of 10 proposed cross-cutting ideas that could serve as "signature themes" for Emory (see story, page 1).
One such theme, that of internationalization, was identified last year when Goizueta Business School Dean Tom Robertson announced he would chair a task force dedicated to the subject. Lewis presented nine more themes to the council, winnowed down from a list of about 40 that were proposed last semester by people across the University.
The nine are: arts, creativity and the human experience; citizen as scholar and scholar as citizen; mind, brain and neurosciences; policy solutions and implementation; predictive health and society; race, racism and society; religion and political cultures; societies in conflict and transition; and sustainability and global health.
Three to five themes will be chosen for inclusion in the final strategic plan, Lewis said, with the goal being to pick those that best represent opportunities for Emory to capitalize on its existing talent, strategically divert resources and advance to the cutting edge of education and research.
Responding to a question about how Emory is building "faculty ownership" of the strategic plan, Lewis pointed to the high level of involvement at all stages of the planning process, starting with the opportunity committees formed last spring and continuing into the groups that will be created to examine each proposed signature theme. Each committee will comprise 20-30 individuals, and Lewis asked council members to submit nominations for people to serve.
Next on the agenda was Jim Morey from English, who gave a preliminary presentation asking the council to consider the idea of establishing a University-wide teaching center. Morey distributed a memo from Lewis to Emory's deans asking for their help in exploring this possibility, along with an overview of current teaching support structures and pro/con arguments related to such a campuswide center.
The University Advisory Council on Teaching (UACT), along with Emory College's Center for Teaching and Curriculum and the University Teaching Fund, were established in the wake of the 1997 Commission on Teaching. The commission's report called for establishing an Emory-wide center, Morey said, but the recommendation has not been realized. Council Chair Sharon Strocchia asked members to review the documents Morey submitted in preparation for a more indepth discussion at the next meeting.
President Jim Wagner closed the meeting by following up on Lewis' comments about the strategic plan. He said the planning process is a way of giving "a greater amount of strategic thinking to what we do every day." Wagner also said a gap remains between Emory's administration and its faculty that acts as a barrier to progress.
"I don't think Emory as a university will achieve its goals unless we close or at least shrink that gap," Wagner said.
The next Faculty Council meeting will be Feb. 15 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.
If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail Strocchia at email@example.com.