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College of Science & Mathematics

Impressive New Record on the Acquistion of Grant Funding


Dr. Catherine Yang, Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry

There is a wealth of articles about the significance of research in undergraduate institutions and its impact on the enhancement of the undergraduate educational experience. Three years ago, the College of Liberal Arts and Science began focusing more on the promotion of scholarly activity in our undergraduate education and supporting those faculty who wish to have a more rigorous research and funding plan. Rowan University is a young university that was established when Glassboro State College, a predominantly teacher's college, received a major gift for $100,000,000 from Mr. Henry Rowan in 1992. Since then, much change has taken place to bring Rowan University to its current status, including its official designation as a research university. In recent years, we have seen new activities across campus consistent with the evolving vision of the University.

In conjunction, the tenure and promotion documents of departments have been revised to reflect the greater emphasis many faculty place on research, a new strategic plan for the college was developed to reflect our new identity, our vision and mission statements were revised, and a comprehensive support system was developed by the College to meet these changes associated with expanded research activities. This support system includes the creation of the position of Assistant Dean for Research and Grants, addition of post-doctoral fellows to several of the science departments, development of new graduate programs, introduction of the summer research award program, substantial increases in new faculty startup funds, continued and expanded support for faculty and student travel to professional conferences, and continued support to the on-campus STEM symposium. However no part of this support system would be adequate without the dedication and talent of our faculty and students.

These coordinated efforts have already resulted in enhancement of scholarly activity involving more faculty and students. This is reflected in a report published recently by the Rowan University Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). This report offers details about external funds received in academic year 2011-2012. According to this report, the former College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received the largest amount of new grants among all colleges and schools within the University, totaling over $3.7 million! That number represents a new record for the College. The largest portion of this total was received by the science and math departments and the greater piece of that was for lab-based research.

This figure reflects a major achievement by the faculty and students of the College. Kudos to everyone who contributed to this success! Why is this achievement so major? There is no doubt that getting external research grants have become very competitive in recent years but, in perspective, just three years ago in 2009, CLAS grants totaled about $958,000. This amount has steadily increased to the current record for the College.

As we go forward, the new College of Science and Mathematics plans include innovative measures to provide additional support for faculty to witness a sustained research and grant activities among the college faculty and in collaborations with others outside the College. We plan to continue to grow student involvement in research, build new bridges for students to experience the new realities of multidisciplinary, cross-departmental research projects. Most importantly, we plan to continue supporting our faculty in performing world-class research that benefits everyone in CSM.

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