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Spring semester brings new programs, events across the university

The nine schools that make up Emory University have extensive plans for the second semester of the 2014-15 academic year. Here’s a roundup of what’s new and noteworthy from each.


Noteworthy events: The yearlong commemoration of Candler’s centennial continues with “Prophetic Voices: Confronting Theological Challenges of the Next Century,” an academic conference to be held March 18-20 at the school. “Prophetic Voices” brings together a dozen renowned theologians from Candler and beyond, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson, Cambridge University’s Janet Soskice and Duke University’s Norman Wirzba, among others.

Candler’s Black Church Studies program will host an alumni reunion and conference Feb. 18-20, “In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: Revisiting, Renovating and Revolutionizing the Path.” Candler alumna Maria Dixon Hall will give the annual Anna Julia Cooper Lecture as part of this event. Register by Feb. 10.

New scholarships: Candler has received three major gifts to establish new student scholarships. The Carpenter Scholarship for Community Engagement is funded by a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and will support master of divinity students committed to community engagement and social transformation. Two gifts from individuals established the Bishop Youngkag Kwon Scholarship and the Dr. Haesuk Lee Scholarship, which will benefit South Korean students at Candler.

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New plan: Tracy Scott, senior lecturer in Sociology, has been named director of the Emory Quality Enhancement Plan, “The Nature of Evidence.” Scott and the QEP Implementation Committees are preparing to launch the inaugural programs in 2015-16, including introductory videos for incoming first-year students and a faculty development workshop for those teaching evidence-focused first-year seminars.

New Fellows: Emory College is currently accepting applications for the inaugural cohort of Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellows, rotating faculty fellows who will pursue innovative projects in new fields of inquiry.

New website: The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project has gone live at Directed by Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism, the Cold Cases Project presents student work about unresolved crimes committed during the modern Civil Rights era. Building from a course co-taught by Klibanoff and Brett Gadsden, associate professor of African American studies and history, the website provides primary sources identified by students, as well as work about the broader cultural context of this critical period in American history.

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New books: David Schweidel, an associate professor of marketing at Goizueta Business School, looks at the present in identifying trends of the future. For example, presently, marketers have troves of data on customers. The goal for the future? Identify more ways to utilize the data in decision making (“Profiting from the Data Economy”). Also, one of Goizueta’s longest-tenured and most honored faculty members, Jag Sheth, recently published his autobiography. In the book, Sheth details his life and work in academia that has covered decades of change in marketing and management (“The Accidental Scholar”).

Cup of Joe: Social Enterprise@Goizueta (SE@G) continues its support of coffee farmers in Central America through Farmers to 40, which encourages sustainable economic development within the coffee-growing communities of Nicaragua. Farmers to 40 sells to consumers and returns 40 percent of the retail sale price to Nicaraguan partner farmers. 

New research: Erika Hall, assistant professor of organization and management, has received attention from national media of late for her research on race perceptions. Hall’s research (appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology) suggests white Americans perceive the term “black” more negatively than “African American.”

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Annual competition: The Three-Minute Thesis or 3MT is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. The Laney Graduate School 3MT competition serves as a skills development program that challenges students to explain their research project either through verbal communication (in three minutes or less) or by written abstract (350 words or less). Both competitions are judged by a panel comprised of a diverse group of professionals (academic and non-academic) with a wide range of professional expertise. 3MT finals will take place April 24.

Annual symposium: On March 25-27, LGS will convene the third annual STEM Research and Career Symposium at the Emory Conference Center Hotel. The symposium brings faculty advisers and their students from diverse backgrounds to the Emory campus for two days of shared research presentations and for networking, mentoring and recruitment. Participants include outstanding undergraduates intending to pursue the PhD or MD/PhD degree and graduate students seeking postdoctoral opportunities.

New partnership: LGS is partnering with Xavier University of Louisiana, which has received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the national Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. Xavier will use the grant to expand the already thriving biomedical programs the historically black university offers its students. LGS and other partner institutions will have access to Xavier STEM students to participate in summer research programs and ultimately attract these students to their graduate programs. The students, known as BUILD scholars, are motivated undergraduate science students interested in doing research and pursuing a PhD.

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New students: In the spring semester, Emory Law will welcome 10 students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University pursuing Master of Comparative Law degrees. New students will arrive from China, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to pursue Master of Laws (LLM) degrees. Emory Law will also welcome eight new Juris Master (JM) students.

Program highlights: Emory Law now offers joint Juris Master degrees with the following Emory schools: Emory College of Arts & Sciences (BA or BS/JM), Emory School of Medicine (MD/JM), Goizueta Business School (MBA/JM), and Rollins School of Public Health (MPH/JM). In addition, a new dual degree program with Georgia Tech has just been announced.

Summer programs: Emory Law is expanding the scope of its summer curricular offerings, including both onsite sessions for foreign judges and foreign students, and online offerings for degree-seeking students.

Faculty: John Witte Jr. has been named Robert W. Woodruff Professor, joining Emory Law professors Martha Fineman and Michael Perry. Vice Dean Robert Ahdieh has been named K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law. Jonathan Nash was awarded Emory Law’s first David J. Bederman Research Professorship. Peter Hay has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany.

Noteworthy: Professor Emeritus William C. Carney and his wife, Jane, have given the Law School a matching gift of $1 million in support of the Center for Transactional Law and Practice. They will match any gifts in support of the Center, up to $1 million.

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Ebola response: SOM faculty, researchers and clinicians helped to successfully care for the first Ebola patients in this country, and shared detailed treatment protocols and expertise with colleagues around the globe. Emory Hospital’s Serious Communicable Disease Unit, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Ribner, became a safe place of healing for four Ebola patients. President Obama met with members of the medical care team during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September. SOM clinicians continue this important work, publishing findings and conducting further research with the CDC to develop better treatments and vaccines.

Appointments and honors: Chris Larsen was named Emory Healthcare physician group president, adding to his other roles as medical school dean and VP of health center integration in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Ted Johnson was appointed physician director of Emory Medicine Primary Care and Population Health and chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in the medical school, and Maha Lund was recruited to direct the Physician Assistant Program in medicine. Neurologist Mahlon DeLong received the Lasker-DeBakey Award for his role in developing deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s; Rafi Ahmed and Chris Larsen were elected to the Institute of Medicine; and a record-setting nine Emory faculty members were elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Facilities: Programs and staff in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, as well as neurology, continued their move to Executive Park in anticipation of the spring 2015 launch of the Brain Health Initiative, an integrative neuroscience
center encompassing clinical care, clinical research, and fundamental and translational science.

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Incoming class: 227 new students from 26 states and 10 countries, ranging in age from 19 to 54. Some 58 percent of the new MSN students have earned a BSN degree from Emory.

New administrators: Susan Shapiro, associate dean for community and clinical partnerships; David Smith, associate dean for enrollment and student affairs; John Worth, associate dean for finance and administration.

New faculty: Corrine Abraham, clinical assistant professor; Brenda Baker, clinical assistant professor; John Cranmer, clinical assistant professor; Dorothy Jordan, clinical assistant professor.

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New construction: Construction continues on Oxford’s new science building, a 57,500-square-foot structure located on the northwestern corner of the quad. Completion is expected in fall 2015, and the building will open for classes in January 2016. In May, construction is expected to begin on a new dining hall, located at the corner of Pierce and Asbury streets, across from the current facility. Projected completion is summer 2016.

Sophomore Honors Program: Three interdisciplinary seminars — one each based in religion, economics and English — are being offered in the Sophomore Honors Program. The 15 students in each seminar were selected through a competitive process, and after successfully completing their rigorous study, will receive special distinction on their transcripts and diplomas.

Commencement: Commencement exercises are scheduled for Saturday, May 9, on the Oxford quad. Speaker for the event is John Morgan 67Ox 69C, chair of the Emory University Board of Trustees.

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Milestones: The Rollins School of Public Health will celebrate its 25th anniversary and James W. Curran will celebrate his 20th anniversary as dean of the school next fall. The Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics celebrated its 50th anniversary in October. Originally based in the School of Medicine, the department became part of the School of Public Health in 1990.

Awards: The first Dr. Kathleen R. Miner Scholarship for Public Health Excellence was awarded to second-year MPH student Claire Peterson (behavioral sciences and health education). The scholarship was established by former students of Kathy Miner 79MPH, associate dean of applied public health, as a way to thank and honor her.

Development: A recent $10 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation will double the O. Wayne and Grace Crum Rollins Endowment Fund. Established in 1997, this unrestricted endowment provides support for the school’s highest priorities, including recruiting and retaining key faculty leaders. Over the past quarter century, the Rollins family’s generosity has enabled the school to build the Grace Crum Rollins and Claudia Nance Rollins buildings.

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