Presidential Task Force on Scholarship

In response to the findings of last fall's Academic Summit, President Leo M. Lambert has created a Presidential Task Force on Scholarship to make recommendations on strengthening the scholarly and intellectual climate of the university. Read this note for details…

The Presidential Task Force on Scholarship will be co-chaired by Distinguished University Professor Tom Henricks of the sociology and anthropology department, and Tim Peeples, Associate Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. The task force is charged with producing a report for campus discussion prior to Nov. 1.

In announcing the task force, President Lambert said academic scholarship at Elon is growing in stature and importance. The university’s faculty has adopted the Elon Teacher-Scholar statement, sabbatical opportunities have increased and new awards and recognitions for faculty have been created. In addition, support for the thriving student research program has been enhanced and a thesis-based honors program has been established.

“The intellectual climate at Elon continues to evolve in positive and exciting ways,” Lambert said. “The ‘Elon Teacher-Scholar’ statement formalizes our collective view that scholarship is integral to our identity as an intellectual community and that scholarship and teaching are inseparable.”

Elon faculty members are receiving wide recognition in their disciplines, firmly establishing themselves and the university as leading authorities in a variety of academic pursuits. Examples include the following:

  • Anne Bolin (anthropology) received Elon’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2001 and is among the scholars contributing to the Kinsey Institute’s new online International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. She is currently working on her fifth book, Issues and Strategies for Teaching Human Sexuality in the Era of the Backlash.
  • Kevin Boyle (English) wrote a book of poetry, Home for Wayward Girls, that received the New Issues Press Poetry Award
  • David Copeland (communications) recently released his latest book, The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and its Unruly Legacy
  • David Crowe (history) is completing a new book, The Holocaust: Roots, History and Aftermath; two of his previous books, dealing with the life of Oskar Schindler and the gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia, were selected for recognition by the History Book Club
  • Clyde Ellis (history) has been invited to serve a three-year term in the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program, and he is currently working on his fifth book, a history and ethnography of Indian hobbyists in the United States
  • Victoria Fischer-Faw (music), a specialist in the music of Bartok, recently co-edited Bartok Perspectives (Oxford University Press) 
  • Jon Metzger (music), named “A New Star Vibist” by JazzTimes magazine, continues to win critical acclaim for his recordings, and has written articles for a number of percussion magazines
  • Laura Roselle (political science) was recently elected president-elect of the International Communication Section of the International Studies Association, and also wrote a new book, Media and the Politics of Failure: Great Powers, Communication Strategies, and Military Defeats, the first in a series of books on international political communication
  • Sharon Spray (political science) served as lead editor for a new book titled Tropical Deforestation, the fourth volume in an interdisciplinary series on the issues surrounding environmental challenges

President Lambert said these few examples illustrate that a more dynamic intellectual environment is present at Elon today. The task force will make recommendations for building on these successes, following this agenda:

1.    To recommend a multi-year plan to increase institutional resources devoted to supporting faculty scholarship at Elon, including but not limited to sabbaticals, travel support, and summer research support. An outcome of the task force will be a five-year plan, including associated budget, modeled after similar Elon initiatives that have led to transformative improvements, such as the library development plan and the technology plans.

2.    To recommend additional ways to publicly highlight and celebrate the scholarship of faculty, as well as students. Initiatives might include making scholarship more visible in University publications, seeking national visibility for scholarly accomplishments with the support of University Relations, creating additional campus forums for promoting scholarly presentations from and dialogue among University faculty, and exploring additional campus forums for celebrating the scholarship of both faculty and students.

3.    In the spirit of the Elon mission statement and the Elon Teacher-Scholar statement, to examine the important nexus between teaching and scholarship found in scholarly collaborations between teachers and students and to explore how the institution might enhance and further support the scholar-mentor role of faculty. In particular, the committee will consider steps the University might take to build on the considerable success already achieved by students and faculty to create one of the preeminent undergraduate research programs in the nation.

4.    To recommend ways in which the Office of Sponsored Programs could provide expanded services to faculty seeking external grant support.

5.    To assist in the Ever Elon comprehensive campaign by crafting a white paper with staff assistance from Institutional Advancement, making the case for philanthropic support of faculty and student scholarship at Elon. Special attention should be paid to the impact additional named professorships could have upon the University. In addition, the president may call upon members of the task force in soliciting major donors to the campaign.

President Lambert said the work of the task force will allow Elon to celebrate intellectual inquiry and advance the university’s evolution.

“This is a new dimension for Elon that is fully in line with our mission,” Lambert said. “As we further encourage scholarship at all levels, faculty members will realize their potential as teacher-scholars, and students will experience the rewards of intellectual discovery. I hope all members of our community will join in dialogue with the task force and play an important role in furthering this important initiative.”