Table talk 'In Dialogue' with faculty

"I'm here to listen and learn."

With those words, Provost Sterk launched the first session of a new conversation series, In Dialogue. In Dialogue brings the idea of kitchen table wisdom to Emory's campus as the provost invites faculty to join her table-side to discuss their ideas, aspirations, and concerns. Ten sessions of small group conversations are taking place during the fall semester, and more will follow in the spring semester.

Some common themes emerged in the first sessions, which drew participants from business, the college, medicine, public health, and theology. For one, Emory faculty have a strong desire to collaborate across silos, and they want an infrastructure and better processes to enable collaboration. They asked for greater transparency in strategic decision making and, in general, they want more communication between administration and faculty.

Faculty reflected on the complexities surrounding research administration. Another conversation highlighted the symbiotic relationship between Emory Healthcare and the School of Medicine, with participants noting that the academic and the clinical arms of each help the reputation of the other.

Business and theater faculty connected over shared ideas for innovation in their respective disciplines. Both, after all, involve communicating, teamwork, listening, and relevance. One theater professor, who advises his students to think of their future careers as startups, was energized about having business faculty teach entrepreneurship skills in his theater classes. "You can give my students the skills to enable their startups to start up," he said.

With more sessions scheduled for the semester, the table wisdom will continue to grow.