University administration sorts through priorities

Rachel Abbey

Funding is key to attracting more graduate students

Working to expand research funding will be a key issue for the division of Research and Graduate Studies this year.

The current financial environment encourages the division to look for more ways to increase support for research, said John West, vice president of Research and dean of Graduate Studies.

If the university hopes to increase the amount of federal funding it receives, it will have to outdo its peers with cutting-edge research, West said. The financial situation is tight, and current funds from the federal government are not enough.

The division will be coordinating with deans across campuses and colleges to create the environment to expand the research funding, West said. Increasing enrollment, donations to the university and external funds for research are all options to help fund research projects at the university.

Graduate student application and enrollment has decreased slightly from Spring 2004, West said. However, the online applications, “Apply Yourself,” have more than doubled. The majority of decreases came from international applications.

A change in attitude for research, including a graduate student in every research budget and getting more funding to support those students, could increase incentives for graduate student enrollment, West said.

In the area of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, the division hopes to continue supporting economic development and start-up companies in the region, as well as within the university.

“We need to make a name for ourselves,” West said.

While the university has made many advancements and gained international prestige through the Liquid Crystal Institute and the University Press, he said it is important now to look for additional departments to move forward and continue making advancements.

The Orienting New Teaching Assistants Program engages graduate assistants with the university culture and expectations, West said. This program is important in instilling entrepreneurship in the students, and West said he hopes it will encourage development.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].