September 15, 2008
James E. Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, who joined SMU in 2007, has long participated in the enterprise of creating new knowledge. A scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey for 26 years, he brings a global view and experience in creating and leading large and significant research projects
Quick spent the past year becoming familiar with SMU’s broad range of research activities as well as its funding needs to support those activities. He shares his goals and thoughts with SMU Research:
How does SMU convince alumni and donors that research pertains to them?
The evidence is all around us. Research has been fundamental to creating the world we live in now. Absent achievements in science and engineering, we would be living much as we did in medieval Europe. We all benefit from extraordinary advances that have contributed directly to our quality and length of life: automobiles, airplanes, penicillin and modern medicine, electricity, computers, plastics and air conditioning.
What are your goals for Research and Graduate Studies at SMU?
My overarching goal is to set SMU squarely on a path that leads to increasing stature as a research university. Looking to the future, I envision SMU as a source of influential scholarship that addresses the major problems facing our society, with a prestigious faculty holding numerous awards from leading professional societies and recognized by increasing memberships in the national academies. I envision a vigorous research enterprise that attracts the best young faculty and offers highly regarded Ph.D. programs that produce graduates whom the nation’s elite universities covet as faculty. I envision an SMU that celebrates and invests in research and graduate education as essential components of the top-tier university it has become.
How does research support teaching?
Research informs a faculty member’s teaching, and faculty should constantly seek new knowledge so they can provide the most up-todate and accurate information to their students. Many fields, such as computer science and biology, are evolving so fast that a faculty member not engaged in research is teaching material that becomes progressively out of date.
If a key to SMU’s future is its investment in research today, how will you rely on the fund-raising initiatives of the upcoming Second Century Campaign to help support that?
Research is a business that cannot be grown without investment. A gift given in the interest of building the research enterprise is a gift that will go on giving by enabling the University to attract more federal funding in future years.
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