In my visits around campus, a common refrain I hear is that Georgetown faculty find it difficult to get together to share common research/scholarship interests.
Of particular relevance are faculty who reside in different units (schools, departments, centers) who share interests but don’t have structured ways to interact.
We want to encourage such organic creation of scholarly interest groups. This is part of the larger effort to build an environment that supports original inquiry by our faculty.
We’ve decided to try a new program to facilitate such intellectual exchanges. The provost’s office will support new gatherings of faculty to discuss shared research interests, which might blossom into collaborative work or other ways to advance their scholarship.
We want to make the process simple:
1. The provost’s office will support the cost of group lunches or other meals, handle the logistics of room reservations, and meeting announcements.
2. The faculty involved will have the job of organizing the discussion and probing the desirability of continuing collaborative activities.
3. A multi-sentence (about 100 words) proposal can be sent in an email to Vice-Provost Janet Mann, describing the idea and what payoffs might result from the interchanges and listing the faculty.
4. The Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee will act on the proposal within a three-day window.
To make sure the support is wisely distributed, the following attributes will be part of the process:
1. Groups of faculty not yet working together are eligible for the support; long standing collaborative groups or seminar series should be supported through other mechanisms.
2. Groups should consist of at least 5 faculty members; the faculty attending should represent more than one school, department or unit.
3. The lunch conversation sessions should be advertised for other faculty members (not part of the original proposal) to attend if their interests coincide with those of the group.
4. The provost’s office will support three group lunches/meals over time under the original proposal. Extension is possible if there are unusual reasons, but we expect that other support systems would be invented after the three lunch sequence.
5. After the supported sessions have been completed, the faculty involved will send a short summary of the outcome and future plans to Janet Mann, by way of reporting of the value of the support.
The program begins immediately. We hope this might, in a small way, help the environment for faculty scholarship.