Welcome to the 2018-19 Academic Year

From the Provost's Desk

Dear Members of the Emory Community,

Welcome to the new academic year at Emory! As summer changes to fall and the days shorten, my excitement about all things Emory continues to grow. The fall is a time of transitions and new beginnings. It is an opportunity to set goals and recommit to our work and our ambitions. As faculty, students, postdoctoral scholars, and trainees first arrive or return to campus, there is an invigorating air of liveliness and intention. It is a time when we ask ourselves anew, "What can I do? What can I achieve?"

In my spring message, I remarked that I spent my first year at Emory listening. Over the summer, I spent time processing the many conversations I had with members of our academic community and the thoughts, hopes, and dreams you expressed for Emory's future. I am now ready—we are now ready—to refocus, declare our goals, and chart our path toward Emory's academic eminence.

We all have roles to play in this work. Students must endeavor to do their best to rise to the intellectual challenges set by our distinguished faculty. Faculty members must push themselves to do their best work in advancing their fields of knowledge. Academic leadership must ensure that we provide the infrastructure and necessary resources to support scholarship, research, and teaching at the very highest levels. And all members of the staff must ask, "How do I conduct my work at Emory each and every day in ways that best support our core academic mission as a leading research university?"

I implore every member of the Emory community to dig deep, to push ourselves, and support one another as we strive for the highest order of academic eminence. Let our shared commitment to Emory bind us, recalling the words of the anthropologist Margaret Mead, who famously said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Framework for the Journey Ahead

After a year of thoughtful planning, yesterday we officially launched Emory's Strategic Framework, One Emory: Engaged for Impact. This is designed to be a framework that will refocus our collective work ahead on our academic priorities no matter what our role in the university. While this framework is decidedly focused on Emory's academic eminence, the work necessary to realize our vision will impact every facet of our great university.

Many of you have heard me say, "This is not the president's plan, this is not my plan. This is Emory's plan." We have spent time envisioning how all of us in each school and administrative unit of the university will contribute to, and benefit from, this framework, so I encourage you to trust and engage in this process to move our great work forward. Also, let us not forget to enjoy our fellow travelers on this journey as we learn not only new ways of working at Emory but also new ways of working together.

To stay updated on the One Emory strategic framework, please visit one.emory.edu.

The Office of the Provost has also launched a new website to efficiently guide you to information housed in our office and connect you with events created to support an ever-stronger academic community at Emory. We sincerely hope you enjoy our new site and that you'll find it a reliable source of ongoing engagement.

Provost Signature Events

In my year of listening, I witnessed what a unique and supportive community we have here at Emory, led by collaborative deans and faculty who enjoy working together. To continue nurturing this community and in conjunction with the launch of One Emory, I am excited to announce that the Office of the Provost will be initiating two new signature event series:

  • The Provost Lecture Series will build and celebrate our academic community by bringing outstanding programming and educational opportunities to our campuses. Visiting scholars will interact with students in the classroom, deliver public lectures, and attend receptions for the academic community to enhance our culture of inquiry and collaboration on the Emory campuses and beyond.
  • The Emory Faculty Impact Forum will regularly convene our faculty across the enterprise to stimulate interdisciplinary faculty connection, collaboration, and community. Beyond connecting scholars at Emory, the series seeks to advance priority areas of research by celebrating and catalyzing cross-disciplinary research initiatives at Emory.
Both of these initiatives will launch this fall. These events will not only strengthen our academic community but will also to foster new ideas and research as we convene, collaborate, and celebrate together across the academic enterprise.

Faculty Excellence and Academic Community of Choice

I am also thrilled to report on our progress in three important areas of focus for Emory's future. Dean Michael Elliott (Emory College of Arts & Sciences) and I will be launching in the next week a Task Force on the Future of the Arts at Emory. We will be charging that group of faculty, alumni, and community partners to identify strategies that can strengthen Emory arts in the short to medium term (three to 10 years) — including considerations for new academic programs and investing in physical infrastructure. We will also ask the task force to discern ways that Emory can leverage and cultivate relationships to institutions, groups, and communities in the greater Atlanta region. This group is being co-chaired by Professor Kevin Karnes, Chair of the Emory Department of Music, and Emory alumnus Doug Shipman, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Woodruff Arts Center.

This past January, at the request of Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Jon Lewin and myself, Deans Michael Elliott and Vikas Sukhatme (School of Medicine) appointed a Task Force on the Future of the Basic Sciences at Emory. Their charge to this group of some of Emory's most distinguished scientists—co-chaired by Professor Huw Davies and Professor Guido Silvestri—was to identify areas for future investment in the basic sciences that cross departments and schools where we believe Emory has an opportunity to be an institutional leader. This task force will soon make recommendations to Lewin and me.

I am also grateful to the important and ongoing work of the Faculty Council and the members of the Implementation Steering Committee for Class and Labor II—led by Professor Deborah Watkins Bruner—for prioritizing the recommendations for improving faculty life at Emory and creating work plans to implement recommendations from the Class and Labor II Report. This work also advances our One Emory aspirations to foster faculty excellence throughout Emory.

Research and Scholarship

While the new school year brings excitement and stokes ambition, it can also be a time of increased pressure, as we have a lot of work to do together. As an academic institution, the core of our work is to further academic excellence in the creation of knowledge, foster creative inquiry and research, and facilitate outstanding and innovative teaching. Each of us enriches Emory's national and international impact and reputation as we strive together for ever-increasing visibility and recognition for our scholarship, research, and contributions to knowledge and society.

As Emory's provost, as a scholar, and as a member of the Emory faculty, I am enormously proud of the distinguished accomplishments of our community of scholars. Indeed, as I approach my work of academic leadership, I am renewed daily and inspired by their example. I ask you to join me, recommit to our work ahead with passion and fervor, and continue distinguishing Emory as a world-class research institution.

I look forward to advancing on this exciting journey together. Onward and upward!

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

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