Updates from the Provost
- Author: Monday, September 30th, 2019
Research, scholarship, and creative activity at WKU are important parts of our academic mission and, when nurtured and supported, they directly contribute to student success. It has been documented that applied learning leads to better understanding of principles and better student outcomes. It has also been documented that students that work with faculty on research projects are more likely to persist and ultimately graduate.
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at WKU does an excellent job providing pre-award support to faculty and staff who write and submit research proposals. Our major successes from this past year are reported below.
FY19 Sponsored Grants and Contracts awarded - $17,920,196
FY19 Instrumentation Grants awarded - $851,028
F19 Indirect Cost Recovery (F&A) - $1,549,711 (highest in 8 years)
Specifically, the following are just four examples of FY19 funded projects.
- The National Institutes of Health IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Program was funded for $882,481 to support biomedical and health related research at WKU. (Dr. Kevin Williams is the lead faculty representative and twelve WKU faculty received research funding).
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded two Major Research Instrumentation Grants for over $300,000 each to support the purchase of a Nuclear Magnetic Spectrometer (Principle Investigator (PI), Dr. Kevin Williams) and a Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (PI, Dr. Ajay Srivastava). These instruments will be used in both research and teaching.
- The Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded $503,803 to the Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging (CASHA) to partner with students and faculty from six Tennessee universities to implement Bingocize in 40 Certified Nursing Facilities in Tennessee (PI, Dr. Jason Crandall).
- The Wallace Foundation grant was awarded for $4,175,000 for four years to develop a competency-based principal training program (PI, Dr. Marguerita Desander).
Further, the annual Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey is used to rank colleges and universities on annual research expenditures. The current WKU HERD ranking is 324, which ranks WKU third in Kentucky. Lower scores are better. For comparison, the following shows Kentucky regional comprehensive rankings: KSU 357, MoSU 475, MSU 486, NKU 554, and EKU 599.
While we have done well, we aspire to raise our research profile by increasing the breadth and size of our portfolio of research grants and contracts and by strengthening and expanding our portfolio of innovative graduate programs. This expansion would allow us to enhance our capability to: expand partnerships aligning our work with emerging research areas, enhance and grow graduate programs associated with those emerging research fields, provide additional research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, and increase funding for graduate student research and undergraduate research experiences.
Finally, we will launch the search for an Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies next week. The search committee members are Dr. Tania Basta (co-chair, Dean CHHS), Dr. Bruce Schulte (co-chair, Associate Vice President), Dr. Xiaoxia Huang (Faculty representative, CEBS), Dr. Dana Sullivan (Faculty representative, CHHS), Dr. Allison Youngblood (Faculty Senate representative, PCAL), Dr. David Zimmer (Faculty representative, GFCB), Dr. Ann Ferrell (Graduate Council representative, PCAL), Dr. Scott Gordon (Graduate School representative), Ava Fergerson (Graduate student representative), Dr. Kevin Williams (Faculty representative, OCSE), Regina Allen (Research and Creative Activity representative), Dr. Helen Sterk (Faculty representative, PCAL), Dr. Beth Norris (Professional Graduate Programs representative, CHHS), and Dr. Aaron Hughey (University Distinguished Professor, CEBS).
Thank you for all you do to help our students succeed.