Welcome to the 2019-2020 Academic Year

From the Provost's Desk

Dear Members of the Emory Community: 

Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year at Emory University! To the faculty, students, postdoctoral scholars, trainees, and staff who are new to Emory: please allow me to extend a very warm welcome to you. As members of our community you will contribute to ensuring Emory is recognized as a center of groundbreaking scholarship and research, transformative education, and purposeful leadership.

In a spring semester message, I asked our community to use the summer to reflect, envision goals for this academic year, and think ambitiously about the potential impacts of our work. I, too, have thought about my goals as provost, and am reinvigorated in my commitment to achieving our shared ambitions for Emory.

One Emory: progress and next steps

September 5 marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of our strategic framework, One Emory: Engaged for Impact, with the stated aspiration for Emory to “be recognized as a leading research university that fosters excellence and attracts world-class talent to innovate today and prepare leaders for the future.” During the past year, we laid the groundwork necessary both to ensure the success of the framework and to measure and assess our progress.

Our strategic framework is decidedly academic in focus. With this in mind, we have ensured that faculty play a central role by establishing the Emory Impact Committee, chaired by Professor Kimberly Jacob Arriola and made up of distinguished faculty from across the university. I am deeply grateful for their service.

Work from the Task Force on the Future of Basic Sciences Research continues to advance within two areas selected for focused investments: “Biological Discovery through Chemical Innovation” and “From Molecules and Pathogens to Populations and Pandemics” (MP3). The work within these areas continues to develop and the Emory community is invited to learn more about MP3 at the September 19 “Infectious Diseases Across Scales Symposium.”

The Task Force on the Future of the Arts gathered input from Emory constituencies and Atlanta arts communities to create recommendations for deepening our involvement in the arts on campus and beyond. These recommendations are currently under review and we hope to announce some exciting next steps later this fall.

We have furthered our commitment to create an academic community of choice through key hires. Enku Gelaye joined Emory as the vice president and dean of Campus Life. Mary Anne Bobinski joined us as the dean of Emory Law. Carol E. Henderson joined Emory as the vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and adviser to the president. These hires will provide leadership to strengthen and enrich our academic community.

The work ahead

Later this year, we will open an innovation center at Emory Point. This student-facing center will foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, discovery, and entrepreneurship for all Emory students. The center will consist of a maker space, classrooms, group workspace, and much more. We are currently in the process of identifying the inaugural leadership for this important initiative.

The Emory Undergraduate Project (EmoryUP), guided by the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, Enrollment Management, Campus Life, and the Deans of the undergraduate colleges, will continue its work to smooth pathways for our students through effective advising, easy registration, unimpeded cross-school enrollment, and translating the invaluable attributes of a liberal arts education.

Emory College has successfully hired an outstanding group of senior faculty members in the interdisciplinary field of Latinx Studies. The cluster hiring process involved 11 Emory College departments and faculty across the social sciences and humanities who worked to identify and recruit a diverse cohort of top scholars who will enhance Emory’s academic excellence in research and teaching in Latinx Studies. My thanks to Dean Michael Elliott and those that made this a successful process.

Opportunities to engage

We continue to make progress on plans for a One Emory Club that will convene faculty from across Emory schools, departments, and areas of research and scholarship. While planning is still underway, we have begun hosting faculty “pop-up” events to provide a sampling of the type of activities that will be facilitated by an eventual One Emory club. We will host our first Faculty Club Pop-Up on Monday, October 28 at Double Zero. Oxford College will host the first Dean's Pop-Up for this year, Cross-School Collaborations to Enhance the Emory Undergraduate Experience, on October 16 from 3-5 p.m. (with round-trip shuttle service for faculty). This Deans’ Pop-Up will feature Deans Doug Hicks and Michael Elliott with Professors Tasha Dobbin-Bennett and Peter Hoeyng in a panel discussion on enhancing the four-year undergraduate experience, including discussion of the Pathways Project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Office of the Provost will continue to support interdisciplinary scholarship through our Emory Faculty Impact Forums. Topics selected for this year are The Work of Death proposed by Professor Mary L. Dudziak and moderated by Professor Kylie Smith for November 12, 2019 and Religion and Public Health moderated by Professor Ellen Idler for April 21, 2020.

We will continue the Provost Lecture Series with three distinguished speakers, Meshell Ndegeocello on October 3, Deborah Tannen on February 13, and Joycelyn Elders on April 2. This series offers an opportunity to expand your curiosity, creativity, and commitment and further Emory’s efforts to attract scholars of the highest order.

Faculty, students, and staff

I am very proud of the work we are doing and have great expectations for Emory’s faculty, students, and staff.

As faculty, I know you continue to pursue academic eminence in your research, scholarship, and pedagogy. I also entreat you to actively participate in the academic community that makes Emory so special. An engaging academic community is key to creating an environment that supports our recognition as an eminent research university.

Students, I invite you to greet every day with passion, enthusiasm, and curiosity for investigating the past and imagining possible futures. It is with this mindset that great discoveries are made. You are included among, and surrounded by, the best and brightest minds of your generation. I ask you to embrace every opportunity, participate in this academic community, and tell people with pride that you are a student at Emory!

To our staff, I want you to see yourself as essential to Emory’s academic mission. For every barrier you eliminate and every process you create and streamline in support of our faculty and students, you are enabling and empowering our success. Engage with our academic community and do not simply do your job well, do it with excellence, inspiration, and a passion for service.

We all work in academia because we believe in the power and importance of research, scholarship, and higher education as a public good. We are at Emory because we believe in our mission to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity, and we believe that our community is hardworking, smart, and kind. I am grateful for the enthusiasm with which each and every one of you has embraced the changes we are making, and I look forward to the progress we will continue to make together.

Onward and upward! 

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