Let's talk values 'In Dialogue'

"Emory is organized like a fleet of ships, each with its own captain, or dean. The provost's role is to keep the fleet moving together to accomplish the university's overall goals. When everyone cares as much about the fleet as about the ships, we can really get some headwind." That's Provost Claire Sterk responding to a question during an In Dialogue session.

In Dialogue offers faculty an opportunity to participate in small-group conversations with the provost. The fall conversations in the series ranged from budgets to values, encompassing innovation and nimbleness along the way. Faculty came with an openness to ask ambitious questions. How do we define our university values, even when in some domains colleges and schools may operate in different value currencies? How do faculty insure that scholarship and teaching are recognized for their value? In what areas can Emory lead?

Even as these big questions lack pat answers, In Dialogue attendees expressed many ideas for shaping Emory's identity. These ranged from the specific, such as courses offered by faculty from different academic units, taken by students from multiple schools and colleges, to the general, capitalizing on Emory’s rich human capital to energize creativity on campus. Ideas that bubbled up included defining faculty governance, more opportunities for informal faculty interactions, and an incubator for faculty to push innovation forward.

Sterk is hoping to jump-start broader university-wide discussions on reaching common definitions for who we are and what we value. "We need to align what we say and what we do," she says, "then to target our resources toward what we say we want to be."

This spring, the provost invites faculty from Oxford College, endowed chairs, and those at the beginning and nearing the end of their careers to the Dialogue.