Emory Report
May 4, 2009
Volume 61, Number 30


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May 4, 2009

Lewis re-imagines academic commons
Provost Earl Lewis invited the Emory community to “travel with me 10 to 15 years ahead, with the goal of building a 21st century academic commons” — defined as a place where ideas are nurtured, shared and preserved.

Lewis described his April 27 talk, “Wading in the Water: Building a 21st Century Academic Commons” as “an invitation and a directive” on “the challenges we face in higher education” that somewhere along the way we will have to answer.

“Let me tentatively suggest answers by exploring the interlocked domains of the academic commons,” he said, citing them as “the cost of higher education and what it means to anticipate a reduced resource envelope; the students we select; the ways we organize the academy; and the ways we produce new knowledge.”

He concluded, “The economic downturn may be a reason to re-imagine aspects of what we do. But even if it had not come, we need to always trouble the waters of higher education.” —Leslie King

Spotting jaguars in nature and art

“The jaguar is a very powerful animal, with a mystique,” said John Polisar, a jaguar expert from the Wildlife Conservation Society. Although revered by ancient cultures in the Americas, the jaguar today is highly vulnerable to humans, and its habitat has contracted by 50 percent, he said.

The joint talk, April 28 at the Carlos Museum, also featured Rebecca Stone, curator of art of the ancient Americas at the Carlos. “The jaguars represented an intermediary between humans and nature,” Stone said. She showed ancient pottery that portrayed a shaman transforming into a jaguar. Shamans became jaguars “to get the wisdom and power of the animal, to bring it back to heal people,” she said. —Carol Clark