The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of Iowa has named its first faculty fellows.
The two fellows are Meenakshi Gigi Durham, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Thomas Scholz, a doctor and pediatrics professor in the Carver College of Medicine. They are the first to be selected for the Administrative Research Fellows Program; another call for applicants is expected to occur in January.
The program was created to give faculty an insider’s look into the UI’s research enterprise. The fellows will work closely with research office leaders on initiatives associated with research administration, research development and economic development and engagement. They also will participate as peers in meetings of the research office senior staff, the UI Research Council, and other governance groups.
“The program is an opportunity for faculty who may be interested in joining the academic administration at the UI to kick the tires a bit and to bring insights and faculty perspectives to our office,” says Dan Reed, the UI's vice president for research and economic development. “At the same time, the fellows are ambassadors, helping to communicate our office's mission, goals, and programs to their peers.”
Durham will lead a strategic communications effort for the office.
“This fellowship offers me the chance to dip my toe into the administrative waters, so to speak, and learn more about what that is like,” Durham adds. “Because I have a passion for research and feel truly committed to helping UI faculty advance their research skills and agendas, this office seems like a good fit for me in terms of that kind of exploration. I also believe it will help me to develop leadership skills that will have multiple benefits—professional, personal, and organizational.”
Scholz, meanwhile, will direct a comprehensive review of the office's core facilities. Like Durham, he says the experience should give him a broader perspective of the research enterprise at the UI.
“There are so many fascinating research activities on campus beyond what I’ve been involved with in the College of Medicine that I am interested in learning about,” he says. “I was also interested in the opportunity to learn some of the complexities about balancing the diverse research activities that are taking place throughout the university.”