Research and Service (R&S) Committee Year End Summary 2017‐18

Committee members: Ajay Agrawal; Silas Blackstock; Cory Callahan; Andrew Dewar; Peter Jensen; Sushma Kotru; Michael Kreger; Shuhui Li; Tom Lopez; John McDonald; Michael Parrott; Edward Sazonov; Kelly Shannon

Co‐chairs: Ajay Agrawal, and Michael Kreger

R&S Committee focused on the following tasks during the year:

  1. Data on faculty hires
  2. Search for VP for R&ED
  3. Research survey questionnaire
  4. Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean 5. Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

1. Data on Faculty hires

The committee prepared a memo sent to the provost in November 2017 requesting that the administration develop a matrix with quantitative and qualitative criteria to assess the progress made in faculty hiring, update the matrix on a regular basis (say each semester), and, in the spirit of transparency, make it available to the university faculty and/or community.

The committee identified a list of items to include in this matrix to help the UA community understand the impact of the recent research initiatives and, thus, become an effective partner as the University seeks to achieve the primary goals of the Strategic Plan.

In meetings, the provost mentioned that the Board of Trustees has also asked for similar data, and indicated that his office will coordinate with the R&S committee to make the information available while serving both faculty and Board of Trustees’ needs.

2. Search for VP for R&ED

R&S Committee member Si Blackstock was selected to serve on the search committee as faculty senate representative. The committee was asked to provide the 2‐3 most important skillsets, attributes, or types of experience that UA’s next VPR needs to have in order to be successful in this role. The committee provided the following input:

(a) Teaching, research, and administrative experience at a Tier I research university.

(b) Broad understanding of research beyond a disciplinary boundary and appreciation of the dual education‐research mission in PhD programs across a wide range of disciplines.

(c) Demonstrated skills to acquire and manage significant research funding (government, private, or a combination) including assignment as a research program monitor.

Si Blackstock provided periodic updates to the committee and faculty senate about the hiring process.

Candidates have been identified for on‐campus interviews in April 2018. The R&S committee is scheduled to meet with candidates during interviews.

3. Research Survey Questionnaire

R&S sought to seek faculty input to support the University’s research strategy, and thus, the task of developing a survey was undertaken throughout the year. The committee reviewed the Faculty Life Survey conducted in 2014, and initially sought to repeat it in 2017 working in conjunction with the Faculty Life Committee. However, the University is partnering with ModernThink to survey faculty and staff regarding their workplace experience and thus, to provide opportunities and resources that facilitate work‐life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff.

This survey does not focus on research.

The R&S committee developed a survey to collect faculty/staff input regarding research to support the research strategy announced by President Bell to “Increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities that impact economic and societal development.” The survey contains 24 questions divided into six categories. Multiple options are provided for each question. Response to questions can be to (1) either rank the answers in the order of importance, or (2) assign weight to each answer so the total adds up to 100. In addition, comments and ideas not covered by the possible responses provided can be entered in a free‐response space provided for each question.

The steering committee of the faculty senate has endorsed the survey. Input has also been sought from the University’s Research Advisory Committee. Plans are underway to work out the logistics and implementation of the survey in coordination with the administration.

4. Meetings/Discussions with Office of Research Administration (ORA) and Graduate Dean

The R&S Committee met with Cindy Hope, Director of ORA, and discussed several ideas to enhance the services. Through the course of the meeting, Ms. Hope informed R&S committee members that a proposal development team is being formed to assist faculty in preparation of proposals of any dollar amount. A technical editor has already been hired and is available to provide editing services. The committee also met with Graduate Dean, Dr. Susan Carvalho, and discussed several ideas to increase graduate enrollment.

5. Meetings/Discussions with Provost and acting VP for R&ED

The R&S Committee co‐chairs Ajay Agrawal and Mike Kreger had multiple meetings with the provost and VP for R&ED, and were asked to identify high‐priority items concerning research at the University. A white paper was developed to make the case for research infrastructure needs and priorities for the Capital Campaign.

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Contact: Sarah Miesse,