The Course For
As the new dean of Research and Graduate Studies, I am pleased to welcome you to another issue of SMU Research, an annual journal begun a dozen years ago by my predecessor, Dean U. Narayan Bhat.
Narayan, as many of you know, resigned as dean in May 2004 and, after a year of leave working on some important research of his own, will retire from the University in June. One of the most respected and effective deans on the campus, he is missed already.
We are hard at work building on his legacy. Fortunately, this is a good time for research and graduate studies at SMU. Our sponsored research volume jumped 30 percent this past year, from $13.7 million in 2003 to $19.7 million in 2004; as recently as 1995, it was only $7.7 million. New Ph.D. programs in chemistry and in civil engineering have come aboard. Above all, President R. Gerald Turner and the Board of Trustees are planning a major gifts campaign – known as the “Centennial Campaign” in honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of SMU’s founding. It will focus mainly on resources for research, endowed faculty appointments, scholarships, and academic programs. The prospects are exciting indeed.
Our achievements in research and graduate studies have been considerable; we are focusing on ambitious goals for the future. In the next few years we aim to increase dramatically our sponsored research; inaugurate new Ph.D. programs (in English, for example); increase the amount of graduate stipends to attract the most talented and diverse students; and boost the number of Ph.D. students we graduate each year. We plan, in short, to put in place measures that will move SMU ever higher in the ranks of the nation’s prestigious research universities.
We have yet another goal, one of our most important: to establish ways to transfer our researchers’ best discoveries into patented and marketable products, an accomplishment that can result in remarkable benefits. Technology transfer, as it is called, can use our faculty’s research to improve lives and bring in extra revenue every year, which will reward our active researchers, the schools and departments that house them, and the University as a whole.
In research and graduate studies, SMU is poised for the next crucial steps that will enhance programs on our campus and gain recognition for our innovative research worldwide.