The University Record, February 11, 1998

OVPR changes will strengthen teaching, research activities

By Jane R. Elgass

Recommendations that will result in more coordination and more opportunities for collaboration between the University's teaching and research communities will be presented to the Regents at their Feb. 19­20 meeting by President Lee C. Bollinger.

The recommendations will result in a closer integration of the teaching, research and service missions of the University, while addressing the "realities of how research can be fostered both within the University and on the national stage," says Frederick C. Neidhardt, vice president for research.

Bollinger will recommend that:

 

The vice president for research report to the provost, while retaining executive officer status.

 

The position of associate vice president and executive director of research administration be created.

Neidhardt notes that relieving the vice president for research of day-to-day operational responsibilities through the appointment of an associate vice president and executive director for research administration is an important move. "This will make it possible for us to retain the voice of our vice president for research as a spokesperson for research policy and research initiatives on the national level," he says, "and will enable the vice president to remain an important participant in national debates about federal support of research."

Neidhardt says that in the four years he has held various appointments in the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), "It has been my observation that the provost's office and OVPR have got to be partners in any development of new research and scholarly activities. The missions of OVPR really can't be accomplished without a partnership with the provost."

Those missions include:

 

Nurturing excellent research, scholarship and creative activity by faculty and students.

 

Promoting integrity and responsibility in the conduct and administration of research.

 

Fostering the integration of the three missions of the University--teaching, research and service-- "to make sure the research component is not in opposition to the other two, but in fact mutually supportive," Neidhardt says.

These things cannot be done without the support and active involvement of the provost. "OVPR by itself cannot propose curricular changes or changes in academic programs to enhance the research component," Neidhardt says. "If there is a breakthrough of some sort indicating clearly we need to change course or expand in a new field, that cannot be done from OVPR because it requires recruiting, hiring and retaining faculty. There has to be a very close partnership because OVPR has only a limited role in faculty recruitment."

Neidhardt also notes that the new budget system places increased responsibility on the academic units to manage all their resources, including those for research. "The closer coordination of OVPR and the provost, to whom the deans report, will strengthen the University's capacity to respond to new research opportunities."

The president's recommendations, Neidhardt says, "bring the vice president for research into closer participation with the deans and with the budget process of the University. These changes will strengthen the office and make it more effective, in my opinion."

The president's recommendations follow a "discovery process," initiated by Provost Nancy Cantor and Neidhardt and carried out during fall term, that sought input from a subcommittee of deans; directors of the service; research and incubator units that report to OVPR; senior staff in OVPR; the Research Policy Committee; and other individuals interested in the future of research.

In a letter to faculty mailed late last week, Bollinger said: "This extensive process confirmed the vital role that the vice president and OVPR play in sustaining an environment conducive to research, facilitating interdisciplinary work on campus, fostering research collaborations with industry and other external partners, and representing the University in the discussion and development of research policy at the national level.

"The process also made clear, however, that there is an increasing need for the University to further integrate research and education and to foster greater collaboration between the academic and research enterprises," the president said. "In light of these pressing needs, the subcommittee of deans recommended closer integration of OVPR and the Provost's Office, as well as a streamlining of administrative and managerial responsibility within OVPR. This would free up time for the vice president to concentrate on broader issues of policy and strategy."

Provost Nancy Cantor is expected to announce the formation of an advisory committee for a national search for a new vice president for research in the weeks ahead.


Recommendations from the 'discovery process'

Recommendations resulting from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) 'discovery process'

Recommendation 1: Closer integration of OVPR and the Office of the Provost designed to provide:

 

Increased integration of research and education.

 

Better coordination on matters related to academic programs and budget.

 

Enhanced access to resources through the provost.

 

Enhanced links with the schools and colleges with respect to such issues as academic program initiatives, budgets, incubator program start-up and disposition.

 

Reinforcement of the role of the vice president for research in helping coordinate joint school, college and institute collaborations, including developing jointly managed programs and protocols for sharing revenues in collaborative enterprises.

 

Increased coordination of opportunities for collaboration with industry by working closely with the other executive officers and the deans.

 

Increased integration of interdisciplinary research and education, with coordination between OVPR, the Graduate School, the provost's office, and the schools and colleges.

 

Enhancement of the vice president's role in broad policy issues and in Universitywide academic initiatives.

Recommendation 2: Creation of the position of associate vice president and executive director for research administration. This will enable the vice president to:

 

Focus on broad issues related to academic programs and research policy, both internal and external to the University.

 

Serve as the University's spokesperson on research-related issues, both nationally and internationally.

The associate vice president will be responsible for OVPR infrastructure and administration, research administration, research integrity, technology transfer, coordination with industry and schools and colleges, and day-to-day oversight of units reporting to OVPR.

Appointing an associate vice president, the recommendation notes, "should help the University attract a vice president whose interests focus on the broader academic programmatic and research policy issues rather than internal operations of OVPR."