UTSA Discover
UTSA Discover

2007 VOL.1, NO 1

The Road to Excellence
First Edition
Feature Stories
A Deadly Foe

Look Who's Talking—
In Two Languages

Tracking Transportation

Destroying to Protect

After the Dissertation
About Us

The Road to Excellence
UTSA sets its sights on premier public research status

Fig1By 2016, university officials want research expenditures to exceed $100 million a year, propelling the university to premier public research status. It’s an ambitious goal, they admit, but not impossible. Every year, research expenditures surpass the previous year’s, and UTSA adds dozens of new faculty and additional doctoral programs.

“It’s going very fast and it’s a challenge for research infrastructure to keep pace with this growth,” said Robert Gracy, vice president for research. “It is probably one of the most exciting things that we will experience in our careers, this enormous change that is going to happen in our university and in our city.”

In 2006, the university’s total expenditures for research increased 37 percent from 2005. That placed UTSA ninth out of the 42 public and independent universities in the state, according to the Texas Higher Education Coord
inating Board.*

Within the University of Texas System, UTSA ranks third in federally supported research and development expenditures, after Austin and El Paso. In the biological and life sciences, UTSA’s expenditures placed among the top universities in the state, exceeded only by UT Austin and Texas A&M University, according to the coordinating board.*

Yet, despite this progress, there’s much to do in the next decade, said Jeffrey Kantor, associate vice president for research. “I’m very impressed with the first steps we’re taking, but it’s a long road.”

To help guide the way to obtaining premier status, the university began work last year on a 10-year strategic plan. One proposed initiative is to increase research campuswide, from undergraduate students to faculty. Doing so is crucial for providing knowledge and molding a capable workforce, officials have said.

Exceeding $100 million in research expenditures would signal this elevated status, but there are many other factors involved in becoming a premier public research institution, Gracy emphasized. These include the number of publications produced by university faculty, research citations, patents, the development of technologies that can benefit society and other measures of creative endeavors. The number of research-oriented faculty, doctoral programs, Ph.D. students and postdoctoral trainees must also be considered.

“It all comes back to the accomplishments and the quality of our faculty,” Gracy said. “Premier means that we are recognized by the public, by our peer institutions. Thus, awards to faculty such as Nobel Prizes, National Academy memberships and editorial boards are other metrics of premier research status.”


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