Committee offers plan to enhance institutional excellence

Move forward on the president's goal to hire at least 200 top faculty. Create a central writing team for big grant proposals. Establish a presidential scholars program to help recruit Ph.D. students. These are a few of the recommendations from a committee that's seeking ways to enhance Iowa State's excellence in research and scholarship.

The President's Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence recently released its recommendations, which have been endorsed by President Steven Leath. The committee, co-chaired by senior policy adviser Tahira Hira and vice president for research and economic development Sharron Quisenberry, began its work during fall 2012. Quisenberry retired in July and animal science professor and Office of Biotechnology director Jim Reecy recently was appointed to co-chair the committee with Hira.

Following are action items that were recommended by the committee. For additional information, see the president's office website.

  • Continue the Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research program. The program provides three-year funding that will enable four ISU research teams to pursue large grants for multidisciplinary research efforts of national and international importance.
  • Move forward with Leath's goal to hire at least 200 high-quality faculty. Eighty faculty were hired for fall 2012 and 60 more for fall 2013. Additionally, the provost's office recently announced a matching grant program to hire more faculty.
  • Add more staff in the office of the vice president for research, including a central writing support team that focuses on large multidisciplinary grants, and additional staff in the office of sponsored programs administration and the office of responsible research
  • Establish a presidential scholars program to fund first academic year stipends for high-quality entering Ph.D. students. A central fund established this year is expected to provide $20,000 stipends to 20 new, entering graduate students.
  • Provide a bridge funding incentive program to recruit and retain Ph.D. students and post-docs
  • Establish a committee to lead the process of identifying and nominating candidates to the National Academies
  • Increase the long-term visibility of ISU research through a new digital repository managed by the university library
  • Make a list of the high-impact journals, by academic field, to encourage faculty and staff to target those journals when publishing research results and other papers
  • Provide competitive central funding to encourage faculty to seek arts and humanities fellowships