Leading the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Emory College's Strategic Priorities

students walking in front of Candler Library students walking in front of Candler Library

At Emory College of Arts and Sciences we are dedicated to the discovery of knowledge, the creation of new works, and paradigm-shifting research with broad impact. 

We push our students to learn how to think critically, weigh conflicting evidence, and ask questions that challenge existing orthodoxy. We expect them to communicate with clarity and collaborate within diverse communities. 

They take these skills into every field as the thought leaders and innovators our complex and interconnected society needs.

Our mission is clear: Through our dedication to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, Emory College of Arts and Sciences leads Emory University in setting the standard for what a liberal arts research university can achieve.

Our ambition is even clearer: Emory College will redefine the liberal arts in the 21st century and assert its potential to address the most pressing questions of our time.

To succeed, we must amplify the impact of our work – both the students we educate and the faculty scholarship that shapes our knowledge and understanding.  

Our strategic priorities and initiatives will make Emory truly competitive among its peers with a focus on faculty excellence, an exceptional student experience, and targeted research areas that have high potential for broad influence in the world.

More importantly, realizing our goals will allow Emory College to demonstrate just how transformative and important the liberal arts are for our students and the world in which we live.

Our Guiding Principles

Three principles — Creativity, Discovery, and Impact — drive our thinking about how we invest our resources and seek new ones. They help shape the strategic initiatives throughout this plan and the goals we set for ourselves.

group of boys walking across the quad group of boys walking across the quad


The creative spirit to push boundaries, forge new work, and ask original questions fuels our faculty and students — whether they are on stage or in the classroom.

birds-eye view of Emory University Symphony Orchestra birds-eye view of Emory University Symphony Orchestra


We are driven to find new ways of thinking about the world. Faculty and students work side-by-side to uncover the known and discover the unknown.

students working with Professor Anita Corbett in her lab students working with Professor Anita Corbett in her lab


Our faculty are reshaping their fields and beyond. Our students leave our quad equipped with the skills and audacity to transform their professions and communities.

Physics Professor Dr. Keith Berland with Emory College student Stephanie Wahab in his office. Physics Professor Dr. Keith Berland with Emory College student Stephanie Wahab in his office.

Our Goals for the Arts & Sciences

In an age of fast facts, it’s easy to drown in information. This is precisely what makes the mission of the liberal arts and sciences so urgent.

student class discussion student class discussion

The liberal arts promote the process of thinking. In today’s world, we need thoughtful citizens who can ask the right questions to find the solutions for our most pressing problems.

Emory College will develop the thinkers and provocateurs our world needs by achieving three core strategic goals:

  • Recruit and retain superlative faculty who live the principles of Creativity, Discovery, and Impact through their research, teaching, and mentorship.
  • Recruit and retain intellectually ambitious students who are not only hungry for knowledge, but demonstrate the urgency to use it in life after Emory.
  • Capitalize on the resources of our campus and Atlanta to grow the College’s national and international prominence— and advance Emory’s reputation as a top-tier liberal arts research university.

To achieve these goals, we will:

  • Increase faculty support,
  • Enhance our undergraduate student experience, and
  • Bring Emory College to greater prominence in research areas where we have exceptional opportunities to make a difference in our world.

Faculty Foundations

Intellectual leaders.

Path-breaking scholars.

Dedicated teachers.

 Environmental Science Professor Berry Brosi holding bee  Environmental Science Professor Berry Brosi holding bee

Our faculty play many roles and share our commitment to redefining the liberal arts for the 21st century.

Through their research and scholarship, they push disciplines to evolve and respond to new needs and questions.

As our faculty refresh their fields with new targets of research, methods of discovery, and areas of exploration,we must support them with the means to do so and ensure they have the broadest impact possible.

In addition to our commitment to increase support for faculty research and teaching, we seek to increase the visibility of our faculty at local, national, and international levels through public scholarship.

Our goal is to help our faculty share their work and passions with the broader public — and elevate Emory’s profile in the process.

Our faculty create the space to tackle both uncomfortable questions and uncomfortable answers. As mentors, they must model an increasingly diverse set of cultures, perspectives and experiences to guide our student body.

As researchers recognized as the leaders in their fields, they must have the ability and willingness to create new knowledge — and the drive to share it with our students and the broader world.

Advancing the Student

What students experience during their time in the College of Arts and Sciences stays with them their entire lives. Our goal is to make that experience nothing short of transformative.

students talking on the quad students talking on the quad

To be successful in providing such an experience, we must give them the tools, the means, and the motivation to thrive during their four years here.

Scholarship endowments empower that exploration.

Our students understand that these funds are not just an award, but also a challenge. What can they discover? What can they create? What will be the impact they make?

Completing our Scholarship Endowment Initiative—a $50 million matching program for gifts to scholarship endowment—is a critical part of realizing the College’s vision and goals.

We must do more to offer every talented and qualified student the opportunity to learn and contribute to the community on campus and beyond.

Additional resources are vital as Emory College competes for the very best students in the nation and world. 

Hands-On Discovery

A liberal arts education is, at its core, a struggle with ideas. And we believe that struggle should be as hands-on as possible.

Another primary goal to enhance the undergraduate experience is to expand opportunities for research in every field and increase access to independent projects.

Our students are collaborators in our research, not just in the natural and social sciences but across the humanities as well. They drive their own inquiries through independent research efforts working directly with faculty through programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research at Emory program, or SURE.

The experience that students gain through hands-on undergraduate research—working collaboratively, managing complex projects—empowers them in whatever career they choose.

Roadmap to Research Prominence

Staying relevant in today’s rapidly changing world means thinking in terms of connectedness. How can we marry seemingly disparate disciplines to solve modern problems?

Environmental Science Professor Berry Brosi with student in his lab viewing honey comb in front of window Environmental Science Professor Berry Brosi with student in his lab viewing honey comb in front of window

This is where our liberal arts perspective within a top-tier research university has particular value.

Our students and faculty can draw on the collective resources of the university to combine fresh insights with classic disciplines. 

Multi-disciplinary, cross-university innovation has the potential to become a hallmark of Emory College.

Consider our national standouts such as Quantitative Sciences, which pairs data science with disciplines across the liberal arts, and the Human Health program, which integrates the scientific study of health with its human experience. 

We also seek to maximize the impact of current research initiatives on the world.

We point with pride to departments and areas of scholarship in which we have achieved, or are near achieving, that level of prominence, from chemistry—with its record of drug discovery and novel undergraduate curriculum— to our nationally ranked creative writing program. 

The relentless quest for discovery, creative methodologies, and a hunger to create impact drove our past research success. These values will lead us as we target new areas for strategic investment.

Game On

Learn more about the three research areas where strategic investment can raise Emory to greater national and international prominence.

Emory baseball player. Emory baseball player.

Race and Social Justice

Any quick scan of current news demonstrates the absolute relevance (and necessity) of studying race and social justice.

Our location in Atlanta, strengths in faculty expertise, material resources like the special collections of the Rose Library, and partnerships across Emory and the city, make us remarkably positioned to tackle this research.

We have the resources to achieve broad impact – and the responsibility to do so.

Over the coming years, we will build a prominent Department of African American Studies and grow a network of scholars throughout the University, the Arts and Sciences, and Atlanta.

We also plan to ensure that more of our students are exposed to these topics in the classroom and through research activities that will fully engage them with our diverse, global city, and prepare them to lead wherever they live.

Discovery at the Intersections

We believe there are frontiers to be explored wherever two disciplines collide.  

While interdisciplinary research and collaboration is strong across the humanities and social sciences, we must develop more pathways for such work in the natural sciences.

This development is key, as most research universities are already investing in interdisciplinary communities of scientific research. Renewed focus in the natural sciences is critical for Emory to stay competitive.

We will develop a recruitment program for outstanding postdoctoral scholars working on emerging, interdisciplinary topics. This initiative will enhance the research culture on campus and raise Emory's visibility in the competitive research landscape.

It will also build on Emory’s strength in providing training for future faculty in the natural sciences, and expand their diversity by widening the pipeline of scholars in these fields.

Creativity and New Works

At Emory, arts programs do not exist in separate schools or conservatories for the exclusive purpose of preparing students for professional arts careers.

Our students, many of whom choose Emory because of our artistic strength, fully integrate their studies in the arts—music, dance, theater, media, and beyond—with other academic interests, deepening understanding in both disciplines.

Those connections create the chance for the arts to influence work from other fields, such as the sciences, and around topics of urgent social concern.

We seek to deepen those connections by recruiting outstanding emerging artists through national and international fellowships that will increase cross-disciplinary collaboration.

We will also work to capitalize on our strength in producing new works – and showcasing Emory's reputation as an incubator, contributor, and collaborator to creative endeavors in Atlanta and beyond. 

We must also provide students with more ways to be involved in the creative enterprise—from our renowned Creative Writing Program to our booming Film and Media Studies department—as an untapped mine of skill-building potential. 

Our Future

Evolving these strategic priorities from vision to reality will take effort, determination, and ambition.

And we are ambitious.

view of campus in the fall from above with red tile roofs and colorful trees view of campus in the fall from above with red tile roofs and colorful trees

With more investment in faculty, the student experience, and notable research, we can reinforce and amplify these liberal arts values for our students and the world.

Our students will emerge with the education and skills that will be critical for their success far beyond that first job. The Emory experience will be even more transformative and accessible.

We will be difference-makers by pursuing knowledge creation and taking risks into the unknown. We will make Emory a leader of liberal arts research universities.

We cannot do it alone.

female student writing in class female student writing in class

We count on our alumni, parents, and friends to advocate for the relevance and excellence of an Emory College education, to be the first to say that liberal arts students are game-changers.

We count on you to hire and network Emory graduates because you believe they have the skills for this job, the next one, and the one that hasn’t been imagined yet.

We count on you to promote Emory College to talented students as a place where they will thrive and learn to lead lives of consequence.

We count on your generosity to support the faculty, students, and the unparalleled Emory experience.

Together, we will create an Emory College

that leads the university and the world in re-defining what the liberal arts & sciences mean – and what they can achieve – in the 21st century.

Professor Doug Mulford teaching an undergraduate general chemistry class at the Atwood Chemistry Center. Professor Doug Mulford teaching an undergraduate general chemistry class at the Atwood Chemistry Center.

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view of students walking in front of Candler Library from the quad view of students walking in front of Candler Library from the quad
overhead view of the buildings on the quad in fall with Atlanta skyline in background and Emory College logo overlaid on photo. overhead view of the buildings on the quad in fall with Atlanta skyline in background and Emory College logo overlaid on photo.