“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose..” (Zora Neale Hurston)
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of having a meeting with Dr. Caroline Whitacre, who currently serves as the OSU Vice President for Research. Essentially, Dr. Whitacre provides leadership to our university’s efforts to stimulate and support innovative empirical activities amongst faculty, staff, and students. And as you might imagine, someone placed in a position like this has had some sort of significant research career. True to form, Dr. Whitacre became our research leader in large part because of her own stellar empirical efforts in the area of autoimmune diseases.
My meeting with Dr. Whitacre was a follow-up to an earlier conversation that I had with her about research activities on our Mansfield campus. In brief, I had lots of ideas I wanted to bounce off of her in terms of elevating our research profile, as well as having questions about how to access resources from her office. We agreed that it would be very important for her to come and visit our campus in order to get to know more about our work and our needs. And in quick order, a date was set! Please mark your calendars for her visit on May 31st, and be prepared to fully engage in a dialogue about where we are as researchers and where we want to go in the years ahead.
I was also pleased to finalize my Ad Hoc Research Committee this week. Many thanks to Del Lindsey, Bill Putikka, Dennis Shaffer, Dawn Kitchen, Ozeas Costa, Dan Amsterdam, Noelle Chao, and Tena Katsaounis for volunteering to become members of this important committee. As I have mentioned previously, I want this group to take a leadership role in a variety of areas that include, but are not limited to, defining policies and procedures regarding research support on our campus and increasing student participation in the research process.
Because I have selected two full professors, two associate professors, two assistant professors, and two auxiliary faculty members, the campus now has a representational system for creating dialogue about critical issues facing researchers on our campus. Please also note, however, that the lifetime of this particular committee will be rather short in duration (at least when you consider how often committees are formed and then seem to take on a life all of their own). Instead, this group will be given a small but significant set of tasks to accomplish. Hence, once these goals are achieved, our campus community will want to think about other ways of sustaining our dialogue about research-related issues.
We have lots of exciting times ahead of us in our labs and out in the field, so strap on your safety goggles, prepare your bags and tags, and get ready for a great ride! In the meantime, please take the time to enjoy the weekend with family and friends!