Emory Provost Claire Sterk invites University faculty to take part in a new series that involves promoting excellence at Emory and better understanding the faculty’s goals and aspirations.

The provost is the chief academic advisor of the University. Sterk is the sixth person to hold this position at Emory, according to the Office of the Provost website.

Each small-group lunch conversation will be school-specific, with conversations about the School of Medicine, the Goizueta Business School, the Laney Graduate School, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Neil Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the School of Law, the Candler School of Theology and the College of Arts and Science.

Sessions will be limited to 10 members of the faculty, with the exception of the first and last sessions, which are open to 14 faculty members across the University, according to a Sept. 11 University press release.

The lunch conversations will be held in the space formerly known as Caffé Antico, located in the Carlos Museum of Art, according to the University press release, except for the Oct. 4 conversation, which will take place at the Goizueta Business School.

“I think that one of my most important responsibilities as provost is to listen to what faculty, staff and students have to share with me,” Sterk said. “To make Emory as good as it can be, the Provost can’t work in isolation. I value the perspectives, knowledge and expertise of the Emory community, especially the faculty who form the core of the academic life of the university.”

One of the goals of the program is to draw on the faculty’s creativity to identify future directions for Emory in both education and research, Sterk said.

With the series, Sterk said she hopes to replicate her project entitled “Year of the Faculty,” in which she met with faculty across Emory and was able to learn about their career aspirations, challenges in teaching and research and ideas about tenure as senior vice provost for academic affairs.

Patrick Graham, the Margaret A. Pitts professor of Theological Bibliography and librarian, enrolled in one of the dialogue sessions because of the opportunity to learn about Sterk and other faculty members while bringing up issues that may not be apparent to the administration.

Specifically, Graham would like to use the dialogues as a forum to discuss how Emory libraries support the humanities programs.

“The Pitts Library has been experimenting with low-cost strategies that enlist the larger public in advancing research and the creation of knowledge,” Graham said. “These may be things that [Sterk] would like to encourage or about which she would like to offer counsel.”

Additionally, the Office of the Provost is working with Ajay Nair, senior vice president and dean of Campus Life, to create similar sessions in the future for students to learn about and improve academic and campus life at Emory.

“I believe that the Provost has signaled something very important to the entire Emory faculty – her willingness to listen to them and consider carefully what they’d like to offer,” Graham said. “Such an attitude should not be taken for granted by any faculty.”

– By Alyssa Posklensky