Letter From the Vice President - March 2015

Last month, I had the pleasure of co-chairing a pair of workshops devoted to generating ideas to boost the impact of UO research, scholarship, creative inquiry and graduate education.

The sessions — which drew a healthy mix of faculty members, students and staff —were enlightening, inspiring and entertaining, and I was reminded how simple conversations among small groups of intelligent people can generate powerful ideas. Those ideas are helping to define our priorities and goals for the future as the Provost’s office leads the larger effort to create and implement a new strategic plan.

It’s an important task that benefits from your input. If you weren’t able to attend the sessions, I encourage you to visit the Strategic Planning page on the Provost’s website and submit your ideas via e-mail to provost@uoregon.edu.

I also had the honor recently of serving as a judge at the 6th Annual Graduate Student Research Forum. With so many students coming together under one roof to share their research and creative works, the atmosphere is always electric at this signature Graduate School event. This year’s forum showcased the work of students representing more than 50 disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and professions, and a total of 18 graduate students were awarded cash prizes for their panel and poster presentations.

Here in the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation, we’ve been busy celebrating a string of recent research awards, grants and accolades. One of the most visible examples comes from our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which was the subject of a recent article in The Oregonian.  

“Oh those University of Oregon chemists,” science reporter Susannah Bodman wrote. “They just keep raking in the awards.”

First, there was the news that Michael Pluth and George Nazin, both assistant professors, had received prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Awards. Then came word that Pluth, along with Shannon Boettcher and Michael Harms, also assistant professors, had all three won 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Congratulations are due to these and other outstanding UO faculty members  who are increasing the impact of UO research with their achievements.

I’d also like to congratulate Scott L. Pratt, professor of philosophy, on being named dean of the UO Graduate School. Graduate education is an integral component of the UO’s research enterprise, and I look forward to working with Professor Pratt to advance the outstanding research and education happening every day across campus in classrooms, laboratories, libraries, studios and performance spaces.

On a final note, I’d like to encourage you to visit the newly revamped Research Advisory Board (RAB) website. The site serves as a home base for all things RAB-related, offering announcements, agendas, a listing of board members and instructions on submitting comments, questions or concerns regarding UO research and innovation. The RAB meets monthly and reports to the Provost’s office on matters pertaining to the development of the University of Oregon as a center for research and innovation excellence.

Wishing you a productive spring term.


Brad Shelton
Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation
(541) 346-2090