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Welcome to 2017-18 academic year

Dear Members of the Emory Community,

It is both a pleasure and privilege to offer my first welcome message to the Emory academic community as your new Provost. Like the entering and returning undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, medical residents and fellows, faculty, and staff who have arrived at Emory for the professional and academic journeys ahead of them, I too am filled with a sense of excitement and engaged curiosity about my new academic home.

I am a native of Belton, South Carolina, a town with a population less than half the size of Emory's student body, which lies just 130 miles northeast along Interstate 85. After many years away, I'm thrilled that my own academic path has led me back to the South, and specifically, to this extraordinary place, Emory University.

I have only just begun to explore my new community and I am exceedingly grateful for the numerous gracious and generous welcomes I have received. I am honored by the many invitations to speak and to attend events in these early days. I ask your patience as I begin making my way and meeting as many constituent groups on campus as possible. It will take time, of course, beyond these first weeks and months, but I look forward to meeting many of you during my first year at Emory.

Plans for the Work Ahead

I will continue to listen, read, and reflect as I work to become the Provost that Emory University deserves as an eminent research university. I am excited to pick up the mantle of the excellent work done by President Claire E. Sterk when she occupied this office. During my first year as Provost, I look forward to working with a strong team of university leaders on strategic priorities and initiatives that support the student experience, research growth, faculty excellence, and greater connectivity with the City of Atlanta.

Many of you are aware of our efforts to collaborate on tools and resources for undergraduate student success. So much has already been accomplished surrounding the Emory Undergraduate Experience Initiative. I look forward to engaging on how best to implement recommendations from this important work. You will also see more communication from me as we advance efforts to support faculty excellence, enhance support for graduate students and graduate education (which are essential for an eminent research university), and recognize and increase our research strengths in the basic sciences, humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Faculty engagement will continue to be a cornerstone of the Office of the Provost. Given the increased focus on the undergraduate experience and faculty excellence, additions to the team of university leaders who will assist in our mission ahead include two new positions -- a Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and a Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. These positions will be held by tenured faculty members and we will initiate searches for both this fall.

Strategic Planning at Emory

My arrival coincides with an important time for Emory as we continue to take bold steps that will significantly impact this outstanding research university. With the guidance and input of our esteemed faculty, we will begin to further increase Emory's standing in the basic sciences, clinical and translational sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences, and interdisciplinary research. This will happen in concert with the university's strategic planning process, which will build on work done over the last two years in forums with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to develop the Emerging University Priorities.

President Sterk has asked me to take a leadership role as we launch this next phase of strategic planning to move these University Priorities into clear goals and bold actions. I will be working closely in this work with Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life, Ajay Nair, and Vice Provost and Dean of the Laney Graduate School, Lisa Tedesco, as project co-leaders and key liaisons to the Emory community. We will engage representatives across Emory, convene advisory committees, and host stakeholder engagement activities to sharpen our vision and strategic goals into specific initiatives. As this process proceeds through this academic year, updates will be available through the Office of the Provost website, social media, and future announcements.

I believe this is an important moment for all of us at Emory. I am both humbled and thrilled to work with the Emory community during this process. As before, your voice is critical. We have an opportunity to come together and set a clear vision for the future of our great university.

Communication and Outreach

I hope you all will come to see and appreciate how deeply committed I am to the principles of shared governance, transparency, and openness. I strongly believe that multiple voices and perspectives ultimately make for better decisions for the University. My office has begun to organize opportunities where I can personally connect with faculty, staff, scholars, and students to hear your aspirations, concerns, and suggestions for Emory's present and future.

One of the opportunities for engaging with the Office of the Provost will be my new Chief of Staff and Associate Vice Provost, Jennifer E. Hobbs, who joined Emory in August. As my chief deputy, she will serve as an additional point of contact with the Office of the Provost and will help to extend my reach in the community. I also plan to reconstitute the Office of Communications and Outreach within the Office of the Provost, including hiring a communications and outreach officer to lead the important work of helping us to tell the academic story at Emory and maintaining community connections that will be critical to telling our story.

Staying in Touch

To facilitate the sharing of ideas, my office has created the provost@emory.edu email address where the Emory community can communicate your ideas, suggestions, and dreams for the future of our academic community. My promise to you is that we will always read and thoughtfully examine your feedback. You may also "Like" us on Facebook at the Office of the Provost at Emory University Facebook page, where you will begin to see the many ways in which I will be connecting within Emory and the surrounding Atlanta community. I invite you also to follow me on Twitter, @dwightamcbride, as I share some of our work and stories there as well.

Once again, I welcome you to campus and not only to the beginning of this new academic year, but also to a new chapter in Emory's story. I look forward to meeting and working closely with many of you as we continue our journey onward and upward!

Sincerely,

Dwight A. McBride, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs