Encounters with evidence

In a basic neuroscience lab, Emory student Irinia Lucaciu is carefully transferring a thin sliver of biological tissue to a glass slide. Her samples will help researchers engaged in an NIH study to see if progesterone is an effective treatment to lessen the symptoms of stroke.

In the Pitts Theology library, senior Ted Parker combs through marginalia in a 1540s edition of Isocrates' Orations, once owned by 16th-century scholar Hieronymous Wolf. Parker, guided by classics professor Garth Tissol, is on the way to proving that the marginal notes in the Greek volume were the basis of Wolf's subsequent edition of the Orations.

These examples are just two of how students already are using evidence at Emory to make new discoveries. Now leaders of a quality enhancement plan (QEP) want to enable similar opportunities for all first-year students in Emory's College of Arts and Sciences. Required for accreditation by the SACS Commission on Colleges, the QEP will be a key component that the accreditation team evaluates when it visits Emory's campus in March 2014.

Titled The Nature of Evidence, the QEP seeks to empower students as independent scholars and collaborative thinkers who will use different types of evidence to support arguments. "That's important at a tier-1 research and liberal arts university like Emory," says Pamela Scully, who directs the QEP and coordinates the efforts of many faculty who have helped with the planning.

The Nature of Evidence will introduce students to a variety of evidence from laboratory samples to original documents, from fragile habitats to museum artifacts. These encounters will be rolled out through new online videos for Emory's PACE orientation program, instruction in the first-year seminars, and co-curricular activities including lectures and performances as part of an expanded Emory Arts Passport program.

For more information, plan to attend a town hall on the Nature of Evidence on January 24, 2014, from 4:15 to 6:00 p.m. in the Winship Ballroom of the DUC. Questions? Email the QEP team at QEPTeam@emory.edu.