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Outstanding academic year drawing to a close

Another academic year is drawing to a close at Mississippi State University, and what an outstanding year it has been for our research and economic development initiatives thanks to the exceptional work of so many of you. Last week, we celebrated many of these achievements during the annual research awards banquet. Congratulations to Nicholas Herrmann, associate professor of anthropology, for winning this year’s Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award — the university’s top research honor. A number of other outstanding faculty, staff and students were recognized, as well. For more about this year’s award recipients, please see http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6620


David Shaw is vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State University.

Revision to research, Extension and clinical faculty promotion
This past year, Drs. Gilbert, Bohach and I worked closely with faculty, center directors, department heads and deans to revise the process for promotion of non-tenure-track faculty to bring it into alignment with academic faculty. There was a very healthy dialog about this, and a number of iterations and revisions resulted in a very strong and fair policy. It will be in effect for the next promotion cycle. For details, please see the policy at http://www.policies.msstate.edu/policypdfs/5606.pdf

High ranks for research from National Science Foundation
Once again, Mississippi State is ranked among the nation’s leading research universities, according to the latest NSF survey. The recently released NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for Fiscal Year 2012 places us at 92nd overall among public and private institutions, based on $233.2 million in total research and development expenditures. For me, it is gratifying to see the hard work of our faculty, students and staff compare very well with, if not surpass, our peers. Additional information about our rankings may be found online at http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6588

Deadline near for Faculty Leadership Program nominations
As I have mentioned, my office and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President will again be conducting an Academic Leadership Orientation Program for selected faculty. This program has been very successful in the past, and many of its graduates serve in key leadership positions on our campus. To apply, interested faculty should send a one-page summary addressing their future career plans, a current, abbreviated CV and a one-page nomination letter from their center director, department head or dean. These materials should be emailed to Lynn Taylor at ltaylor@research.msstate.edu no later than May 30.

Student start-up success growing
Over the past few years, we have fostered an entrepreneurial culture on our campus, and the return on this investment has been growing. The recent Entrepreneurship Week and Investing In Innovation Day are examples of how Mississippi State students are gaining real-world experience with guidance from faculty, staff and successful entrepreneurs. Twenty-one start-ups comprised of 36 students were awarded funding during this year’s competition with a total investment from private donations of $47,500. For more information, please see http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6623

Traveling this summer? FBI's 'Game of Pawns' video a must-see
As part of the Office of Research Security’s ongoing outreach and education efforts, MSU faculty and staff are invited to schedule a screening and discussion of “Game of Pawns: The Glenn Duffie Shriver Story.” Produced by the FBI, the movie presents a chilling depiction of how easily a foreign intelligence service can recruit people — especially college students. It is a must-see for anyone traveling overseas. For additional information, please contact Neil Lewis at 662-325-8682 or Debra Hicks at 662-325-0400. The video is also available for viewing on the FBI website at http://1.usa.gov/1miGVng

Kudos and congratulations
Every month, I look forward to sharing success stories about our faculty and staff with you. Here are a few that have come to my attention recently:

* Congratulations to Ratan Jha, director of the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, and his team for receiving an NSF planning grant for an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Advanced Composites in Transportation Vehicles. This summer, MSU will host I/UCRC stakeholders so that researchers can meet with industry leaders to understand their R&D needs, match them with capabilities and propose relevant projects. That information will be used to craft a final proposal, which is due in September.

* Kudos to Jason Keith, interim dean of the Bagley College of Engineering, for achieving the status of Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, and to Thomas B. Nusz Endowed Professor Hossein Toghiani for being honored with a 2014 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

* Congratulations to the participants and winners of the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Providing research opportunities for all of our students is a priority at Mississippi State, and I am pleased that my office is one of several sponsors of the symposium. Read more about it at http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6573

Final words
Many of our neighbors and members of the MSU family have been affected by the severe weather that hit our state last week. There are a number of ways we can help, and I encourage you to visit the Maroon Volunteer Center’s website at http://www.mvc.msstate.edu to learn more about the recovery effort. Let me add that I appreciated everyone’s understanding when we postponed the research awards banquet out of an abundance of caution last Tuesday. We have had very positive reviews of the Wednesday luncheon, and are already looking forward to next year’s program. A special word of thanks to Jessica Northcutt, Lynn Taylor and Kelsey Stewart for their work on this special event.

As always, please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu with your questions or suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter.

Go Dawgs!

— David


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