Emory Report
Oct. 16, 2006
Volume 59, Number 7


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Oct. 16, 2006
Provost seeks ‘Year of the Faculty’ input

BY nancy seideman

Developing guiding principles for building and strengthening faculty distinction is at the core of a series of conversations Provost Earl Lewis has initiated with each school and college over the next several months.

For this academic year—dubbed the “Year of the Faculty”—Lewis plans to engage faculty across the University in a wide-ranging discussion of what resources, methods and standards it will take to develop current and future faculty.

Comments from these sessions will be posted on a Web site beginning this month so faculty can join the conversation online as well as in person. By December, at least one town hall will be organized to facilitate intercollegiate and interdisciplinary discussions, and by early next year comments and suggestions will be distilled into a draft document.

“My sincere hope is that this document, once finalized next spring, will serve as a blueprint for building and sustaining a faculty of distinction,” said Lewis, who pointed out that in a decade, many of the nation’s current faculty will reach retirement age. Emory’s own analysis suggests that at least 50 percent of faculty at the University in 2015 would have arrived within the next ten years.

To achieve faculty distinction, Lewis said it is vital for Emory to “foster a culture that values and supports faculty excellence. We must celebrate, reward and retain distinguished faculty and recruit promising scholars.” To that end, the University recently committed $35 million to a Faculty Distinction Fund that will be applied to the retention and recruitment of outstanding scholars, including those enhancing faculty diversity.

“We must pay full attention to faculty development and balance the hiring of distinguished faculty and the pursuit of building and sustaining a faculty of distinction,” said Lewis.

Lewis launched the series of discussions at a special meeting of Emory College faculty on Oct. 4 where he outlined the communications process and blueprint timetable, and encouraged feedback from about 150faculty present.

The ensuing conversation touched upon many factors involved in faculty development, including travel and research funds, mentoring, advancement and tenure, diversity, measuring progress and success, and the potential role retired faculty might play in the life of the University.

Lewis encourages all interested community members to attend the special faculty meetings and to visit the Web site dedicated to the “Year of the Faculty” initiative at www.emory.edu/PROVOST/year/yearofthefaculty.html to contribute ideas, comments and recommendations.

“It is important that we hear from as many faculty as possible so that whatever plan of action we develop remains true to this university, its value systems, ethos and mission,” said Lewis.

Special Faculty Meetings
Oxford College: Oct. 26, 8:15 a.m.
School of Nursing: Nov 13, 10 a.m
School of Law: Nov. 16, 4 p.m.
Business School: Nov. 17, 10 a.m.
Theology School: Dec. 4, 10:30 a.m.
School of Public Health: TBD
School of Medicine:
Emory Faculty: Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m.
Grady Faculty: Dec. 14, 5:30 p.m.
VA Faculty: Jan. 18, 5:30 p.m.

This is a preliminary schedule. Visit www.emory.edu/PROVOST/year/yearofthefaculty.html for updates and locations.