|The Road to Excellence
UTSA sets its sights on premier public research status
Elevating UTSA’s reputation in the academic and research worlds could attract more research-oriented faculty across all disciplines, helping to further the goal of national recognition,
said Mahesh Senagala, associate professor and associate dean for academic affairs and research in the College of Architecture.
“Research is probably the most
important thing,” he said. “Reputation goes a long way in establishing research credibility and fundability. … Also San
Antonio is becoming a magnet for
research companies, so it means economic progress. If we look at many
successful research universities, you see they are either situated in very active economic zones or have been instrumental in forming those economic zones.”
With UTSA’s unique student population and its partnerships with community institutions such as Southwest Research Institute, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and other academic organizations, Southwest
Foundation for Biomedical Research, the military and commercial entities, UTSA won’t look like any other premier research institution in the nation, Gracy said. “These partnerships, in conjunction with our
multicultural diversity, create unique
synergies with which to build UTSA’s
research focus,” he added.
Increasing student enrollment will also shape the university. Predictions have enrollment hovering around 35,000 in 10 years. “We are going to need a lot of additional buildings for research,” Gracy said. “I think [the university] is going to be recognized by our community as an even greater asset to the community than it is now … both in terms of job creation and the training of a first-class workforce for the community.”
When universities accomplish their mission of education and research, the benefits are far-reaching, Kantor said. New knowledge is created, which is then passed on to students. New technologies developed within the institution can be implemented commercially.
“There’s not a single person that would not be affected in a positive way by the kinds of research and development that we’re doing,” Gracy said. “The research that we are conducting is going to have a major impact on our quality of life in the 21st century.”
While promoting research is a key initiative, it’s not the only mission of the university. “If we only obtain the money and we don’t promote the education,
particularly of Hispanic students, we won’t reach our goal,” said George Perry, dean of the College of Sciences, which brings in 75 percent of research funding to the university. “We’re a university. Our research occurs in the context of the education of students.”
* Excludes health science centers
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