Accelerating Research Activity and Improving Efficiency
It has long been a goal of the University of Memphis to achieve Carnegie I status as a research university. Two years ago, I formed a Research Vision Committee, chaired by Dean Richard Sweigard from the Herff College of Engineering. We are now in a position to implement recommendations offered by the committee, along with substantive change to support this effort. As you know, progress depends on improvements in both resource allocation and administrative efficiency, particularly in the relationships across multiple divisions, including our research office, innovation, pre- and post-award accounting, and the FedEx Institute for Technology. This past year, we made a commitment of $5M toward research and doctoral program growth at the UofM, with increases in doctoral stipends in targeted areas for the first time in many years.
In a move aimed at accelerating research activity, administrative efficiency and overall effectiveness, I am appointing Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal as Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation effective July 1, 2018. This will bring the offices of research, innovation and the FedEx Institute of Technology under a single umbrella. Additionally, this will position us to improve efficiency in pre- and post-award activities and accounting across multiple divisions. Modern universities of the 21st Century recognize that research and innovation are two sides of the same coin. With this reorganization, the current position of Vice President for Research will be eliminated from our organizational structure, reducing the size of central administration. Dr. Andy Meyers will assist with the transition in the coming months, along with taking a sabbatical prior to a return to full-time faculty status. Dr. Meyers has done a remarkable job over the past sixteen years, helping move the University’s research mission forward in significant fashion. Dr. Dhaliwal will also be stepping away from one of his current roles as Dean of the Graduate School. An interim appointment for that position will be made shortly.
Dr. Dhaliwal has worked closely with me to seed an innovative culture on campus over the last three years - it is now time for us to take the next step forward in our rapid evolution as a vibrant and dynamic research institution. Functioning as our chief research and innovation officer, Dr. Dhaliwal will bring focus and energy to our larger research strategy; lead the modernization of our research infrastructure, systems and culture; help boost research expenditures; increase the number of research doctorates awarded; and grow our base of research-focused faculty and staff, all of which are critical to our efforts to achieve Carnegie I status.
Dr. Dhaliwal joined the UofM in 2005 after international stints in Canada, Singapore and Norway, and has had impactful roles at the University. Among his initial achievements were the revitalization of what is now the Business Information Technology department in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics, and the founding of the Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) which is now a top disciplinary research group in the country, with on-going collaborations with the likes of the Department of Defense, FedEx, Microsoft and the Department of Homeland Security. He then led the modernization and growth of the University’s Graduate School such that one out of every five students at the University is now enrolled in a Masters or Doctoral program. Dr. Dhaliwal was also instrumental in building a great team that has strengthened the FedEx Institute of Technology’s role in bringing emerging technology innovation to the region, which is now attracting national attention as a new model for engaged universities. More recently, Dr. Dhaliwal has been working at re-energizing the University of Memphis Research Foundation as its Executive Director and is helping create its wholly-owned innovation subsidiary, UMRF Ventures Inc., which is bringing meaningful student work and jobs to campus in partnership with regional stakeholders.
Please join me in thanking Dr. Meyers for his excellent service to the University of Memphis and welcoming Dr. Dhaliwal as he assumes this new challenge.
M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor