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In March 2004 the Emory community began a conversation about what it means to live out the Emory vision of eminence - what it means to attract the most accomplished students, faculty, staff members, and supporters through our practice of intellectual inquiry, ethical engagement, and community.  Eighteen months later that conversation resulted in a plan that we imagined would lead, in ten years, to an Emory whose finest strengths and qualities would be deepened and broadened. 

Seven years since we published that plan, we can measure our progress, in part, arithmetically.  We can take pride in doubling the number of Emory faculty members elected to national academies and in the growth of our external research support by more than 50 percent.  We can be grateful that a higher percentage of students are accepting our offer of admission and that a significantly higher percentage finish their degrees in five years. 

We can note the completion of new research facilities, residence halls, and classroom space, the revitalized periphery of our campus at Emory Point and Emory Village, and the increasing degree to which faculty, staff, and students take responsibility for Emory's future.  We can point to the successes of our newly named Center for Community Partnerships, the Transforming Community Project, our Predictive Health and Global Health Institutes, the Institute for Developing Nations, and many more such endeavors.  Finally, we can note that we have come through the economic climate change since 2008 not unscathed but leaner and stronger, with the successful completion of our seven-year fund-raising campaign just over the hill. 

All of these measurable indicators of growth, strength, and intellectual excellence give us reason to celebrate.  We have done well, and we are doing good. 

Still - we are not finished, either with our current strategic plan or with the need to continue planning.  The next three years will bring us in a hurry to 2015 and the end of our 10-year strategy.  So it is imperative that we finish the work we set for ourselves in 2005.  This will mean the need to continue frequent checks of our compass as we gauge our progress. 

At the same time, when we reach 2015 we will not have landed.  We still will be sailing toward our destination of greater eminence, no matter how eminent we will be in 2015.  This journey never really ends. 

Our challenge during the next three years will be to wrap up what we have begun while also preparing the strategic map for the next phase of Emory's journey.  Our challenge will be to exercise the same creativity in plotting our course as we did in charting our way to this place. We must take into account where we are now, the changes in the economic climate, and the seaworthiness of our ship.  With our priorities keenly in mind, and with the willing engagement of those of our faculty and staff who are strategically gifted, Emory will move toward generating our future strategies even before the current plan concludes.  Our purpose today is to celebrate our work thus far and begin the conversation that will lead to these future strategies. 


James W. Wagner



"Wrapping Up, Setting Forth"

10 October 2012

Strategic Plan Reflection

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