Emory Report
October 2, 2006
Volume 59, Number 6


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October 2, 2006
Strengthening faculty among key initiatives

BY kim urquhart

Charging out of the starting gate to implement a strategic plan now firmly in place, President Jim Wagner said Emory has moved forward in setting priorities for the themes and initiatives outlined in its vision. He told the audience gathered in Cox Hall Ballroom Sept. 26 for his State of the University address that a “sound process” is in place for the allocation of strategic funding to support it.

A noteworthy example: The University anticipates disbursing some $46 million in funds to be used over the next five years for retaining and recruiting top faculty, part of the University’s effort to strengthen faculty distinction.

“The fundamental strength of any university lies essentially in the quality of its faculty and students,” Wagner said. Through out the coming months, a series of focused discussions led by Provost Earl Lewis will solicit faculty feedback on practices and policies including promotion, tenure and curriculum development.

Wagner said the University is also engaging students, staff and faculty to investigate how “Emory as an institution can help each of us structure our work and the rest of life in ways that lead to the greater fulfillment of our humanity,” such as examining the employee benefits packages or expanding shuttle service.

The strategic theme of “creativity and the arts” will play an important role in the coming year as “one of the fundamental building blocks of what we are attempting to become,” he said.

Wagner called for a restored focus on the value of the arts and humanities to “help us define what it means to be fully, humanly alive.” He spoke of the need to “translate our knowledge of the humanities and the arts into applications to enhance human life.” He listed as a case in point the College’s many double-majors who are combining the arts and sciences in new ways.

Attention to the public good is a defining part of the Emory character, he said, “and it is an element of our institutional ethos that we must strengthen in the year ahead.”

In an era of declining public trust in government and business, an important initiative at Emory is “to reinvigorate our common sense of stewardship of the public’s trust,” Wagner said. To this end, Wagner has appointed a task force “to help us be certain that our moral compass is in sound working order.”

In review, Wagner said the past year “has been marked by high levels of energy, a clear sense of direction, engaged collaboration and partnership, and a determination among all members of the community to see that Emory achieves its promise.”

To continue that momentum, Wagner pledged his support as Emory “continues moving forward with integrity, with energy, with a sense of direction, and with a commitment to manifesting what is best in American higher education.”

The entire event, including answers to audience questions, is archived at www.emory.edu/COMMENCEMENT.