I am pleased to release the final report of the Task Force on Research Engagement chaired By Vice Provost Steve Warren and co-chair Professor Kristin Bowman-James. I want to thank the members of this task force for their work, as well as the members of the university community who contributed their suggestions and feedback to the task force.
This task force was formed to develop a plan for supporting and enhancing our scholarship, research, and creative endeavors. The members of the task force have spent many hours developing a blue print. I am impressed by the elegance of their work which goes to directly to the heart of what we need to do university-wide.
The report offers numerous excellent suggestions, but there are three broad recommendations.
The first is that we develop a method to assess on an annual basis how our research and scholarly activities compare to national peers and across units within the university.
The second recommendation is for each major academic unit to develop unit-sensitive strategies for supporting and enhancing research.
And finally, the task force recommends that the university increase the support for and recognition of outstanding research, scholarly and creative work through a variety of actions, including a program of annual awards that would be analogous to existing teaching awards.
In response to the first recommendation, I have asked Vice Provost Warren and Professor Bowman-James to work with our Office of Institutional Research and Planning, Information Technology, and other relevant campus organizations to develop a KU database that will allow us to systematically collect information on research output. Once the database is developed it will provide the opportunity for not only an objective assessment of where we are, but also for realistic goals setting and periodic review of our performance.
In response to the second recommendation, to enhance our scholarly and research efforts the deans will be asked to develop specific plans for increasing research engagement and quality in their units. Plans from the academic units will reflect the types of scholarship in the unit, specific plans for how to strengthen the culture of scholarship and scholarly output within units.
And as a first step in increasing support and recognition for scholarly engagement, I will develop options for funding annual research awards geared to early- and mid-career faculty researchers. These awards will recognize outstanding efforts across all academic areas of the university. I will also work with other university leaders to identify and respond to opportunities to further enhance the infrastructure necessary to support research engagement.
The scholarly work of KU is fundamental to our mission as an international research university. By implementing these recommendations, we can strengthen our research endeavors and make the discoveries that improve our understanding of the world, our prosperity and our quality of life.