The UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute
The Executive Planning Committee of the UGA Biomedical Sciences and Human Health Initiative was formed to advise the Provost about developing a program to link the University’s many activities and resources in the biomedical and health sciences fields. The Committee met from January through June of 2000 and has produced the present document as an internal recommendation to the Provost. The Report has two parts. First, the main body (Sections 2-12) describes a proposed new UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute. Second, the Appendices (A-E) record the committee’s deliberations on a range of related topics and issues that formed the conceptual foundation for the proposal.
At its initial meetings, the Committee developed a mission statement and three main goals for the overall Initiative and discussed objectives. The mission, goals and objectives formulated at the beginning of the process (see Appendix A) were intended to serve as a guide for those working collectively to strengthen biomedical and health science programs at UGA, and they directly inform the current proposal to establish an interdisciplinary institute.
Next the committee analyzed the findings of ten faculty discussion groups that met during the previous December to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and needs in the biomedical and health science fields at UGA. The discussion group reports provided the basis for proposing three content area divisions within the proposed institute (see section 9). The wide range of current activities at UGA suggested by the discussion group reports was explored in more detail by the development of an inventory of faculty involved in the biomedical and health fields and their research interests (Appendix E). These materials demonstrate in detail a fact that is not widely known outside the University: UGA has a significant number of faculty who are conducting medically related research, more than three hundred, and UGA receives more than $20 million in extramural funding annually for medically related research.
The faculty involved in this research come from programs within the life sciences, the behavioral sciences, the health profession colleges of Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine, the health communications programs within the College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences, programs in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Social Work, Family and Consumer Sciences, Education, as well as within many UGA research centers such as the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, the Center for Tropical and Global Emerging Diseases, the Institute for Behavioral Research and the Gerontology Center. The University also possesses nationally prominent programs in basic research that make fundamental contributions in the biomedical fields because they offer enabling technologies. The Georgia X-Ray Crystallography Center and the Center for Metalloenzymes are two examples. Health policy programs also link the Colleges of Business Administration and the School of Law with the Biomedical Sciences and Health Initiative. It is clear that the Biomedical and Health Sciences Initiative has campus-wide implications and must serve a broadly interdisciplinary function.
The Committee discussed various possible administrative structures that could link and strengthen the biomedical and health science efforts underway at UGA. One notion that became dominant was that UGA should be able to develop a unique solution to its particular situation, learning from experience elsewhere, but developing new programs positioned strategically to strengthen UGA capabilities and address national and international health priorities. Even without a medical school, an institution-wide program at UGA focused on biomedical and health sciences could allow isolated and generally unknown programs of quality to coalesce into an entity that would attract greater funding, top faculty, graduate and undergraduate students of quality, and other resources and opportunities.
Another important issue discussed throughout the deliberations was the potential for UGA collaboration with the Medical College of Georgia. The Committee decided that it was imperative to build a structured program for UGA in the biomedical and health sciences even if no linkages were possible with outside institutions. Moreover, there are such strong reasons to proceed in this direction at UGA, that it seemed unacceptable to postpone action until after the issues of fiscal risk, administrative complexity, and political resistance could be overcome in connection with a UGA/MCG partnership. The Committee decided to develop a plan for UGA to proceed on its own, culminating in the current proposal. At the same time, there was a recognition that a partnership that combined UGA’s strengths in the basic sciences with MCG’s clinical and research capabilities could be advantageous for the state of Georgia and both institutions, particularly in attracting federal research funding. Additionally, the Regents indicated they would recommend funding for a proposal initiated by the UGA Provost in cooperation with MCG to incentivize stronger research ties between the two institutions. The Committee thus took a two-stage approach: to develop a structure to strengthen UGA programs but then to consider how that structure could help improve existing collaborations with MCG.
An analysis of the factors involved in developing stronger collaboration between UGA and MCG is found in Appendix B, along with a synopsis of three key documents reviewed by the committee and an extensive list of the potential benefits of collaboration for both institutions. The proposal to the Regents for enhancing collaboration between UGA and MCG was submitted over a year ago and still offers the most pragmatic vision for significantly improving cooperation. An update of this proposal with revisions suggested by MCG has been submitted this year and is found in Appendix C, which also includes the formal Request for Proposals drafted by the Committee, to be employed in the selection of the collaborative UGA/MCG research activities envisioned in the Provost’s proposal, if and when that funding is made available.
During the course of its deliberations, the Committee was approached with an opportunity to establish an annual award for graduate students in the biomedical sciences. After initial contacts were made by the Provost, delegates from the ARCS Foundation visited UGA to meet with the Committee and explain their scholarship program supporting graduate students in the sciences. The Committee subsequently developed the required materials for submission and the University was very recently informed that approval for funding from the Foundation is “highly likely” and that candidates should be identified for the 2000-2001 academic year. Appendix D contains additional information about ARCS and the UGA awards.
It is hoped that the following sections discussing the structure, purpose, and potential programs of a new interdisciplinary institute at UGA will be understood as the collective effort of this Committee to outline a vision for an academic entity with appropriate functions to create stronger linkages and improved capabilities for the already impressive array of biomedical and health science programs and activities at UGA. While the institute proposed is necessarily extensive in scope, it is intended to augment rather than displace existing programs and is not expected to affect the reporting structure of existing centers, institutes and programs or their faculty. The vision may not be perfect and there are many details to be considered carefully, but the Committee hopes the following pages will provide the basis for very favorable developments at UGA and a clear rationale for its recommendation to form a Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute (see page 17).
2. Description of the Institute
The UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute (BHSI) will provide leadership, an institutional structure, funding, academic programs, and other resources for students and faculty from diverse departments and programs at UGA who share a commitment to biomedical and human health research and education. The Institute will be committed to developing increased visibility for UGA accomplishments in these fields, better access to interdisciplinary research opportunities, improved extramural funding, additional facility and equipment resources, educational opportunities to attract quality students to the Institute, and improved support and administrative mechanisms for collaborative relationships inside and outside the University. The Institute will be governed by its interdisciplinary faculty and led by a Director who will report to the UGA Vice President for Research. Based on the range of current activity, existing strengths, and opportunities for expansion, the current plan recommends that the Institute be structured with three program areas, each led by a Divisional Chair:
- the Division of Molecular Medicine;
- the Division of Infectious Disease and Immunity; and
- the Division of Public Health.
The three Divisions will each develop and offer a graduate curriculum leading to a doctoral degree in their respective areas of focus. In addition, faculty from all three divisions will collectively develop and offer the Institute’s undergraduate program leading to an advanced BS/MS in Biomedical and Health Sciences. Other proposed components of the program include, but are not restricted to: a grants program for faculty research, graduate fellowships and research and dissertation awards for graduate students, an intra-institute research seminar program, a summer undergraduate research program, a BHSI sponsored spring symposium and related publications series, a visiting scholars program, foreign travel grants, community outreach/information programs, a legislators’ scientific experience day, and BHSI graduate advising.
3. General Benefits
First: the Institute will strengthen existing research and education programs at UGA. Many scientists in programs throughout UGA have independently pursued promising research paths in the biomedical and health fields, and the Institute is committed to supporting their efforts by increasing external recognition for their activities and advocating for improved funding from all sources. Established educational programs will benefit from an improved ability to recruit top students and faculty.
Second: the Institute will foster the development of new interdisciplinary educational programs and cross-disciplinary research opportunities. Strong training, hiring, and funding incentives exist for increased interdisciplinary collaboration in the biomedical and health sciences, and the Institute will provide a context and structure for UGA academic units to interact in their mutual interest.
Third: the Institute will enhance productive collaborations with outside medical institutions. Building a strong biomedical research program at UGA will provide the basis for increased collaborations with the Medical College of Georgia, other institutions with medically oriented research interests, and with industry.
Fourth: establishing the Institute will bring regional and national visibility for UGA’s biomedical and health research capabilities. The public’s understanding of the importance of UGA’s research to the health and well-being of the people of Georgia and the world is increasingly important for the University’s efforts to recruit top people, to secure major funding, and to gain political support at the state and national levels for initiatives that have the potential to foster research and long term economic development capabilities. The Institute will provide a natural focal point for media attention and a source for public information about biomedical and health science research achievements at UGA.
4. Administration and Faculty
The Director will have full budget and policy authority for the Institute. In addition to reporting to the Vice President for Research, the Director will interact with an Advisory Board of prominent leaders and advocates for the program. The Institute’s three Divisional Chairs will advise the Director in matters involving personnel and resource allocation in their respective divisions. It is the responsibility of each Divisional Chair to ensure proper staffing of BHSI courses and that Institute faculty meet their appropriate teaching responsibilities. The Chairs will also cooperate in graduate student recruitment and the allocation of the Institute’s available student financial support. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, no administrator within the Institute may concurrently serve a role as Director, Chair, or Head of any other Institute, Center, Program, Division, or Department at UGA.
The Institute’s founding faculty will be UGA researchers in existing programs who have a commitment to biomedical and health issues and distinction in the research community. They will need to be team players in developing highly innovative, future-oriented programs, with a strong interest in graduate education; familiarity with the operation of active laboratories and/or population based research activities that collectively cover a range of contemporary medical science and health issues; a strong publication record with an emphasis on recent publications; and a history of attracting extramural funding.
Program funding for the Institute will come from institutional, state, external, and private sources. The need to assemble various and considerable resources for a major initiative at UGA in the biomedical and health sciences was discussed throughout the Planning Committee’s meetings, and with the Provost. Efforts to identify funding for the Institute director, staff, and eventually, a facility for the Institute, would have to be led by the administration centrally, in the Office of Research and by the Provost. The Committee is aware of the difficulties UGA faces in the development of new facilities, but it is not possible to imagine the Biomedical Institute reaching its full potential without the development of new research space. The Provost has noted that universities across the country are building massive new facilities in preparation for what promises to be a decade devoted to research in biomedical and human health fields, and the Committee unanimously supports her efforts to bring this issue into focus at UGA.
In addition to its administrative budget, the Institute would need additional support in the form of joint faculty appointments. There is an unprecedented opportunity at UGA to fill as many as eight endowed chairs with prominent new faculty, some or all assigned with joint status in the Biomedical Institute. It is also possible that new hires of junior faculty in the sciences might be considered for inclusion as joint appointments to the divisions within the new Institute, especially when that would be attractive to candidates and improve the chances of making priority hires.
The Committee identified joint appointments, credit in home departments for faculty involvement within the Institute, recognition for research successes, the distribution of indirect cost returns, and related issues as potential areas of concern for existing units. A general view of the committee was that such conflicts already exist, need to be addressed campus wide for a number of reasons, and would benefit from attention in the more comprehensive and more resource-favorable context of interdisciplinary biomedical and health science research and teaching. It needs to be emphasized that the purpose of the Institute is to link, strengthen and augment existing programs, not to compete with them. To the extent possible, solutions should seek to benefit all parties involved. The UGA interdisciplinary program in Toxicology is a possible model for developing such policies within the Divisions of the Institute. In any case, if the effort to establish this Institute proceeds, two immediate needs will be to develop a careful analysis of the conflicts that could arise between the Institute and other entities at UGA and to devise workable strategies to address these issues equitably and in advance.
Recognizing the need to increase extramural funding, the Committee considered ways to improve the relevant support infrastructure. Discussions with the Director of the UGA Office of Sponsored Research focused on the resources required to create special capabilities to identify, support, and streamline federal funding proposals for PIs working in the biomedical and health fields. Suggestions included developing a comprehensive system for electronic submission in keeping with federal movement in this direction, hiring a grants processing officer with experience in biomedical and health science, and developing a faculty strategy group to work with the sponsored research office in identifying areas of federal emphasis to be targeted by UGA initiatives in the biomedical and health sciences.
The Acting Director of the UGA Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) discussed strategies to improve the environment for biomedical and health science research. A strong technology transfer and commercialization specialty in this area would help attract both researchers and private companies looking to fund such research. One strategy would be to hire a new technology analyst who would have expertise in assessing, valuing and commercializing medical technologies. Such a person should be viewed as a colleague by research faculty, providing additional perspective as they develop their research directions. The acting TCO director and the Sponsored Research Director also indicated their commitment to integrating processes involving the development and subsequent management of industry sponsored research agreements.
The committee also considered ways of developing special resources to create visibility for the biomedical and health sciences programs at UGA to improve the university’s statewide and worldwide profile. In addition to publications, public meetings, and curricula developed within the Institute, suggestions included a health oriented public information focus within OVPR, perhaps directly linked to the activities of University Communications, or with a writer located directly within the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute to promote its programs and research.
6. What will the Institute mean for Faculty?
A key benefit will be an increase in support for collaboration among UGA faculty in the biomedical and health fields. The Institute’s interdisciplinary graduate curriculum and the cooperative development of other new programs of the Institute will increase the already expanding biomedical research interactions among faculty from diverse programs. The Institute will develop expertise at fostering interdisciplinary collaborations. For example, federal Center of Excellence grant applications will have a logical administrative advocate in the Institute for interdisciplinary proposals and accumulated experience with established protocols for managing indirect cost allocation and intellectual property issues. The Institute will be proactive in identifying and pursuing federal and private funds that will enhance the ability of faculty to deploy and improve cutting edge research technologies. In this connection the Institute will administer an interdisciplinary seed grant program to fund new initiatives with a high probability of receiving extramural funding once preliminary data are acquired.
Faculty affiliated with the Institute will have better knowledge of and access to core research facilities, the opportunity to participate in biomedical and health related symposia sponsored by the Institute, and access to a range of visiting scholars in biomedical and health research. Perhaps most important, the Institute will help faculty attract and support larger numbers of highly qualified graduate students and postdocs to UGA’s programs in these fields. The Institute will also support and encourage innovative approaches to new instructional technologies at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
7. What will the Institute mean for UGA Students?
The Undergraduate Program
The Institute will offer an accelerated MS/BS program to challenge and attract some of the best undergraduate science students to the University who are interested in careers as biomedical researchers and health science professionals. Students arriving with AP credit will be able to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical and Health Sciences and a Master of Science degree within five years of study, involving a health sciences core curriculum and a range of interdisciplinary learning opportunities. An affiliated BS/MS degree for students in existing departments is also a possibility. The BS/MS curriculum will consist in part of a health sciences core curriculum, a summer laboratory research experience, participation in an annual Undergraduate Research Day, access to competitive support for participation in national scientific meetings, and a scholarly thesis based on a senior project. The program will include involvement with other undergraduates, graduate students and faculty active in medically related, collaborative research and training. In addition to opportunities for ongoing graduate study within the Institute and in other UGA science programs, the institute will explore the development of direct linkages between the accelerated program and professional training in medicine, dentistry and nursing at the Medical College of Georgia. Such an inter-institutional relationship could enable UGA undergraduates to complete their first year of basic science requirements for such professional programs in their fourth year of study at UGA. Courses in the Institute’s Health Sciences curriculum will also be available to undergraduates in other basic science programs at UGA who wish to participate in specific learning opportunities. The Institute will also develop a yearlong preliminary studies program for undergraduates with a strong interest and likelihood of success in the accelerated program but who lack the necessary preparation in their high school years.
The Institute will offer graduate courses and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the three biomedical and health science divisions of the Institute: Molecular Medicine, Infectious Disease and Immunity, and Public Health. The Institute’s mandatory core curriculum for all graduate programs will include a two semester Medical Science survey course that introduces students to the diversity of current biomedical and health science research, including but not limited to cell biology, biochemistry, epidemiology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, toxicology, and public health. The core will also include a one-semester course in Bioethics. These core courses will be available to qualified undergraduates in the Institute’s accelerated program as well.
Within each Division and in consultation with the BHSI Curriculum Committee, additional appropriate curriculum requirements will be established that fulfill the instructional and training mission of the Divisional programs, the requirements of UGA academic departments for jointly affiliated students, and Graduate School requirements. Five-member Graduate Student Advisory Committees supervising dissertations within the program will include at least three faculty of the Institute. One external evaluator will participate in the final dissertation evaluation. The Institute Director, Divisional Chairs and Advisory Board will participate in the yearly assessment of the graduate student program with the goal of identifying areas of potential expansion and support. The three divisions will cooperate in refining requirements regarding: admission, required courses, elective courses, laboratory rotations, graduate teaching experience, qualifying exams, and dissertations. It is anticipated that the educational requirements for the graduate programs will adopt features from the NIH Training Grant Guidelines for Graduate Study as an appropriate model.
The Biomedical Initiative has already secured funding for five ARCS Foundation Biomedical Science Fellowships to be awarded annually and will aggressively seek to develop additional funding sources for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It is anticipated that students in the biomedical and health science graduate programs will receive funding for travel to professional meetings, for special research opportunities, and graduation awards. The Institute will also support internship programs to provide practical interactions for advanced doctoral students with industry and in clinical research.
8. What will the Institute mean for existing Units?
The interdisciplinary nature of the new Institute and the breadth of its involvement with other programs throughout the university mandates consideration of issues such as faculty assignments, support for activities carried out in the Institute, and tenure and promotion criteria. Courses developed as part of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum will be supported by the Institute and made available to other curricula to enhance the richness of the educational experience for students in departments throughout the university. Administration of grants received via the Institute and the disposition of indirect costs will be addressed within the Office of the Vice President for Research, but it is expected that increases in extramural support will benefit all parties.
Participation with the Institute will have other significant positive impacts for the affiliated departments and programs, including increased visibility for departmental faculty participating in biomedical and health science initiatives at the Institute, increased opportunities for extramural sponsorship through involvement with interdisciplinary research programs and curricular collaborations, additional endowed chairs for faculty and graduate fellowships for students jointly affiliated with the Institute and the departments, as well as related improvements in recruitment for top faculty and top graduate students.
9. Basing the Institute on UGA Faculty Strengths
Based on the initial input of ten faculty working groups and the development of an inventory of UGA faculty research activity, various ways to structure programs were considered in order to capitalize on institutional strengths in the biomedical and health sciences while at the same time focusing resources to address weaknesses. The decision to propose an institute with a strong educational mission, including undergraduate and graduate programs, determined that the organizational structure would be based on disciplinary “content areas.” The most promising model devised by the committee to both encompass and distinguish known strengths would involve the development of three interrelated Divisions within the Institute: a Division of Molecular Medicine, a Division of Infectious Disease and Immunity, and a Division of Public Health.
In addition to these main content areas, the committee recognized that there are serious technological needs for biomedical research at UGA that impact all three content areas within the Institute. For this reason it was decided that in addition to having three content oriented divisions, the Institute also needed to function as an umbrella organization for technology initiatives. While genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics programs, for example, are essential for a successful biomedical and health sciences initiative, these areas represent tools more than disciplines. They will, in time, become standard techniques for biomedical scientists just as cloning and the formation of genetically modified organisms have become routine. Even so, the critical need to improve access to and training in the use of these tools at UGA, in the present, argues for focused advocacy in this direction from within the Institute. The following sections offer more detail about the content within the proposed three divisions, and a listing of technology initiatives.
The Division of Molecular Medicine
Currently a diverse and excellent but relatively unconnected body of researchers in the area of molecular medicine exists at UGA. Publicly recognized programs in areas as apparently diverse as ethnobiology, glycobiology, structural biology, drug design, population genetics, and molecular parasitology exist, and many strengths in plant molecular biology could be profitably utilized in the biomedical arena. In addition, many lesser-known but high quality and well-supported research programs exist at UGA in this field. This fact was made apparent by the recent inventory of cancer related research programs currently in existence on campus that involve nearly eighty faculty.
UGA already has considerable research capability in the field of molecular medicine, including a strong overall equipment base, a hybridoma facility, multispecies animal models, the Animal Health Research Center which provides a BSL 3 biocontainment facility at the College of Veterinary Medicine, an ultrastructural facility, a BioXpress Lab, a fermentation facility, excellent analytical instrumentation augmented with technical expertise in the CCRC, a Genome Analysis Facility (GAF), an aquaculture facility through the College of Forestry and a developing applied genetics technologies facility. Collaborations that exist with Georgia Tech, the Emory University School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control will be enhanced by better integration of UGA resources and programs in this field. MCG’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics would be a natural source for increased collaboration with this division.
Coalescence of these researchers into the Institute structure will rapidly expand and strengthen the research program and extramural support of this group through the availability of seed grants, strong administrative support for collaborative ventures into new areas, and access to state-of-the-art core facilities. Moreover, there also currently exists acceptable strength in this area to sponsor and implement a graduate program in molecular medicine. Significant program expansion will be the outcome of collaborative ventures with clinicians and private industry. Faculty hires into areas of identified need such as human genetics and functional mammalian genomics will anchor UGA’s expansion to take advantage of federal research objectives as announced in, for example, the NIH Healthy People 2010 Initiative.
The Division of Infectious Disease and Immunity
At present there are a significant number of quality research programs at UGA in the field of infectious diseases and immunity. For example, the area of microbial pathogenesis, which seeks solutions to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, has strength in a number of faculty from several departments. The Animal Vaccine Development Resource in the College of Veterinary Medicine provides a central resource and expertise for the development, production, and testing of vaccines and diagnostics. The Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases is an interdisciplinary center established in 1998 with its roots in the parasitology programs that bridged the College of Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Additional resources can be found in UGA research directed at vector biology. Associated with this area are the behavioral science and policy issues which have an impact on the availability and use of therapeutic agents and vaccines to prevent and treat illnesses. At present there exist a sufficient body of faculty to form a highly functional division with an accompanying graduate program. However, many major areas with strong funding potential, such as human virology, immunology, and pathogenic microbiology are currently underrepresented. Moreover, high tech, state-of-the-art approaches to many research problems have been slow to develop at UGA.
Coalescence of current faculty into the Institute structure with the availability of interdisciplinary seed grants, staffed core facilities, aggressive leadership and support for generating ties with outside clinical and industrial entities, along with targeted hires into areas of need will support the rapid growth of research and funding in this area.
The Division of Public Health
Within UGA is a rich environment of research programs targeted towards solving problems in what is generally understood as the field of public health. Particular research strengths exist in the areas of disease prevention and management, violence prevention, health promotion and communication, addictions, family and health, aging, and behavioral science. These research specialties are distributed throughout a number of formal academic programs such as the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, the Department of Environmental Health Science, the Department of Food Science and Technology, the Department of Psychology, the UGA School of Social Work, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and more. Faculty from these and other units also participate in such interdisciplinary institutes, centers and programs as the Institute for Behavioral Research, the Gerontology Center, the Center for Research on Behavioral Health and Human Service Delivery, the Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, and the Interdisciplinary Program in Toxicology.
One way to assess our overall capability in this field is to compare UGA’s strengths with a traditional model based on the departmental areas within established US Schools of Public Health. In terms of the traditional departments of American Schools of Public Health, UGA has strengths in Behavioral Science and Health Education, Environmental Health Science, Toxicology, Food Safety, Health Communication, and Health Policy. Traditional areas where UGA is weak at present include Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Minority Health, and Environmental and Occupational Medicine.
Although UGA strengths do not encompass all the areas needed to create an accredited Public Health School, the institution does clearly have enough in place already to form a program offering an interdisciplinary MPH degree program for students jointly affiliated with other departments. A good model for forming the faculty and curriculum for such a program is to be found in the UGA Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program, whose faculty hold joint appointments and which also enables its students to retain their departmental status and to contribute to the enrollment, course credit and degree award statistics of those units. Longer-term goals for this Division include establishing a medical residency program in Athens for physicians in primary care and establishing a School of Public Health on the Athens campus. Georgia does not possess a publicly funded School of Public Health, but UGA already has strong programs in a majority of the areas required. This could be done in collaboration with MCG, which has existing academic components of relevance such as its Center for Health Care Improvement. This potential has been incorporated in the Provost’s most recent proposal to the Regents (see Appendix C).
10. Technology and Infrastructure Initiatives
The Institute will advocate for necessary technology and infrastructure resources that benefit biomedical and health science research across departmental boundaries. A primary effort at the outset will be to support a bioinformatics initiative involving a major commitment of UGA and other resources to expand into a more comprehensive bioinformatics capability to work with the large data sets that are being created by the “new biology” at UGA. Emphasis will also be put on initiatives in the related areas of structural and functional genomics, especially where these tools relate to biomedicine, molecular epidemiology, emerging diseases, antibiotic resistance, and environmental medical science. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility would be of great value in research areas such as oncology, developmental biology and neurobiology. The most pressing general infrastructural need is for improved, high speed and high volume connectivity for UGA laboratories and programs, especially to enhance off-site interactions. A first-rate transgenic mouse colony, a high-throughput core facility for generating monoclonal antibodies, and a microarray facility are all highly desirable. Over the longer term, development of a bioengineering program linked to technology initiatives could help stimulate the creation and application of new technology to solve problems in medicine and biology.
11. Linkages with Other Institutions
The Planning Committee decided early in its deliberations to first focus attention on characterizing the extent of UGA’s own resources and needs and to develop a broad strategy and administrative structure to strengthen Biomedical and Health Science programs internally, at the Athens campus. This would be the most pragmatic approach not only to bring improvements to UGA in the near term but also to create a basis for broader collaborations with outside organizations. The preceding sections of this report display, primarily, the considerable amount of biomedical and health science activity and resources at UGA and ways to link and improve these.
At the same time, extensive outside collaborations will be essential for UGA in these fields because of the need for both additional research contacts and interactions with the clinical community. Because of its strong basic research components, UGA has collaborative relationships in place and others developing with Emory, the CDC, the private medical facilities of Atlanta, and with institutions out of state. In addition, the committee was asked to look particularly closely at the potential for cooperation with the state’s only public medical school, the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) in Augusta.
There are significant opportunities to expand mutually beneficial collaborations between UGA and MCG. In addition to cooperative activities that have been in place for years, such as the pharmacy and nursing programs at both institutions, and individual research collaborations, there were several new developments involving both institutions during the past year. The Provost of UGA proposed an array of collaborations to strengthen both institutions, and received indications of support for these from the USG Chancellor, including support for grants for research involving faculty from UGA and MCG working in collaboration. The committee produced a draft RFP and selection process to put in place when support for collaborative research projects with MCG is in hand (Appendix C). Although the funding was not committed by the Chancellor, a series of positive interactions between the two institutions took place. The proposal to the Chancellor has been resubmitted. In the meantime, the first jointly funded UGA/MCG research collaboration was selected and supported with internal money from both schools.
There were other encouraging collaborations: 1) UGA provided the funding to hire an MCG faculty member part time to provide technical expertise for a nascent neuroimaging facility involving UGA faculty in Athens but with data available at both institutions via digital links and with the potential to involve additional MCG faculty; 2) two UGA faculty located at MCG in the College of Pharmacy have recently received NIH Minority Investigator Awards under sponsorship of NIH-funded investigators at MCG; 3) research collaborations in the field of obesity continued to evolve toward establishing a collaborative center; and 4) a conference center was established halfway between UGA and MCG because of faculty and administrative interest at both institutions, the advocacy of the Mayor of Washington, and the generosity of a UGA alumnus.
The Committee was asked to consider the benefits of close collaboration with MCG and developed a list of potential benefits (see Appendix B). Active cooperation could clearly benefit both institutions greatly—in terms of attracting research funding; improving education at both institutions and attracting top students; widening outreach and clinical activities; and streamlining the administration of collaborative activity. The advantage of cooperation should be more than additive. Simply combining the federal research totals for UGA and MCG would result in an overall research enterprise still very distant from the national research leaders. The real motivation should be to increase productivity dramatically—through the synergistic affects of matching the established basic research capability of UGA to MCG’s clinical and research programs.
An even more fundamental reason for cooperation should also be kept in mind: Georgians have some of the highest rates in the country for the prevalence of several major diseases, and the state’s best interests are aligned with addressing these issues through such existing state institutions as Georgia’s only public medical school (MCG) and Georgia’s premier institution for basic scientific research (UGA). Even so, the Committee felt that faculty could do little more at this time without high level administrative meetings between the leaders of the two institutions to determine the level of commitment on both sides for developing formally structured collaborations.
12. Next Steps
This advisory report to the Provost is intended for her consideration and possibly as a discussion document for others. The Committee understands that it may raise issues that will require further refinement and consensus building, but the general intention throughout the process has been to identify an appropriate academic structure for implementation to achieve the goals initially conceived and to address the many issues discovered and explored throughout the Committee’s deliberations.
The Committee recommends the establishment of the UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute to enhance linkages between researchers in multiple programs at UGA and at other institutions involved in biomedical and health research; to expand educational programs and opportunities; to give biomedical and health science activity at UGA better visibility and accessibility; and to improve funding for research in these fields.
Meeting the Environmental Challenge: The Role of the University of Georgia
A report of the Environmental Programs Enhancement Committee
Perhaps the greatest challenge now facing humanity is how to continue to improve the quality of life without doing irreparable damage to the life support system that sustains all life and human society. Universities have played, and must continue to play, a central role in generating the knowledge and training the leaders necessary to meet this challenge. But universities change very slowly and most, including the University of Georgia, are not well organized to meet the rapidly changing and highly interdisciplinary environmental problems faced by society. Solving big problems without generating worse ones will require not only more science and technology, but also greatly increased cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration among the sciences, humanities, and environmental policy fields.
To remain a major contributor to environmental knowledge and problem-solving, the University of Georgia must re-tool its faculty, re-invigorate its research and service programs, and re-invent its undergraduate and graduate teaching programs. Spurred to action by President Michael Adams, in 1999 the University created an Environmental Program Enhancement Committee and charged the committee to find ways to enhance the environmental programs and opportunities offered by the University. After 10 months of study, and much debate and deliberation, the Committee now recommends the University of Georgia create a new College of the Environment.
The College of the Environment will administer a small number of academic units and will work with other colleges to promote environmental programs in a larger number of affiliated departments. The academic and affiliated units of the College will focus on four broad, interrelated areas: 1) ecology, including human ecology, 2) earth and marine sciences, 3) environmental health, and 4) environmental design and urban planning. A central part of the new College will be an innovative, interdisciplinary Academy of Environmental Studies that will allow faculty from all parts of the University to participate in the new College without severing their current college affiliations. The Academy will encourage the formation of cross-collegiate, interdisciplinary teams of faculty to design and implement new courses and degree programs. The Academy will provide seed grants for interdisciplinary research and foster the creation of Areas of Excellence in research, teaching, and service.
The College of the Environment will also create three new campus-wide centers and institutes focused on the service mission of the University. The Environmental Leadership Center will identify and train environmental leaders and decision makers. The Center for River Basin Science and Policy will encourage and coordinate research and policy-analysis at the landscape scale of river basins. The Eugene P. Odum Institute for Advanced Ecological Studies will be a place for contemplative thought and study devoted to ecological synthesis and incorporating ecological knowledge into environmental decision-making.
The College of the Environment will not only be a new college, but also a new kind of college. The hallmark of the new College will be the flexibility that allows it to adapt quickly to emerging opportunities and new environmental challenges. Although we propose a number of new programs that will require relatively long-term funding commitments, such as Endowed Chairs in Areas of Excellence, most of the funding for the new College will be for short-term projects, innovative teaching, postdoctoral and graduate fellowships, and student internships. The new College will stimulate and nourish cross-disciplinary environmental scholarship and encourage students and faculty to work together across department and college boundaries. The new College will serve as a campus-wide clearinghouse, providing information to students about environmental programs throughout the University. The new College will seek to inform the public, train environmental leaders, and educate decision- and policy-makers.
The College of the Environment and its new programs cannot be implemented without significant new resources. The College will require a major new building, a significant number of new faculty positions including new endowed chairs, and substantial new funding for its innovative programs. However, once implemented these innovations will propel the University, already renowned in the environmental sciences, into a national and international leadership position as the preeminent environmental university of the 21st century.
The Environmental Challenge
A great many of the key problems that challenge human society are fundamentally environmental in nature. These include the burgeoning human population, rapidly evolving diseases, and the unsustainable depletion of the natural resources and biological capital of the Earth. The fundamental environmental challenge is how to continue to improve the quality of life while simultaneously protecting the life support system that sustains human society and all life. Despite growth in our scientific understanding of the environment, huge knowledge gaps and uncertainties remain, and public policy and economic decision-making on environmental issues lag far behind existing knowledge. Environmental problems cut across disciplinary boundaries and span multiple scales of organization, from DNA and cells, to the behavior of individuals and populations, to the dynamics of natural and human-dominated ecosystems, to the biosphere and whole-earth system. Solutions to these complex environmental problems will require breaking down traditional barriers between disciplines and finding more effective ways of linking basic research findings with the needs of applied environmental science, technology, and policy-making.
A host of complex environmental issues are likely to dominate the geopolitical, economic, and scientific agendas of the Nation and the world in the 21st century, and many of these will require universities to retool their research, teaching, and outreach capabilities. A sampling of critical environmental issues universities must help address are:
Human ecology, population, and demography: What is the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth? How do historical, cultural, political, evolutionary, and ecological forces interact to explain variation in human fertility, and how can unsustainable rates of population increase be avoided?
Sustainable development and use of natural resources: How do we price environmental values and natural resources to include the full environmental and social costs of human activities? How can we ensure the sustainability of agriculture and soils?
Environmental design and restoration: How do we build sustainable cities and environmentally friendly industries? How do we restore degraded ecosystems?
Environmental justice and ethics: How do we ensure that no segment of society carries an undue burden of environmental costs? How do we address inequities in access to and consumption of natural resources while respecting individual rights and democratic traditions?
Environmental leadership and education: How do we increase the environmental literacy of our citizens, and how do we train the environmental leaders of tomorrow?
Biology of organisms in natural and human-made ecosystems: What are the ecological requirements of organisms, and how do human alterations of natural environments affect their ecology and evolution? How do we control the emerging diseases and invasive species that threaten humanity and agricultural crops?
Conservation of biological and cultural diversity: How do we ensure that our biological and cultural heritage is available for future generations? Global change and ecosystem functioning: What are the key processes maintaining the Earth's life support system, and how are human activities altering these processes? What are the key scientific uncertainties, and how do we incorporate both scientific information and uncertainty into environmental practice and policy?
Reinventing the University of Georgia to Meet the Challenge
Universities have made enormous contributions to the understanding of and solutions to environmental issues. However, most universities, including the University of Georgia, are not organized optimally to meet the challenge of the complex, interdisciplinary problems we now face. Universities must reinvent themselves to stimulate more effective communication, research, and education among students and faculty across disciplinary boundaries. Scientists and engineers must know more about human nature and environmental policy, and legal experts, humanists, and policy analysts must know more about science. The University of Georgia must become much more adaptable and flexible and be able to evolve deliberately, building with both administrative and programmatic flexibility to allow needed mid-course corrections and to take advantage of unanticipated intellectual and educational opportunities as they arise.
The University of Georgia Environmental Initiative was launched by President Michael Adams in his 1999 "State of the University" address. President Adams challenged the University to maintain its teaching vitality and relevance for students by continuing to evolve new "courses, majors, and programs which serve their changing academic needs." President Adams also stated that he would "like to see us consider the establishment of a College of Ecology and Environmental Science." In response to President Adams' speech, Provost Karen Holbrook appointed the Environmental Programs Enhancement Committee and charged the Committee to find new ways "to enhance the ecological/environmental programs and opportunities offered by the University."
The Committee studied the current environmental programs offered by the University and the national and international trends in environmental funding and opportunities. The Committee held five open, campus-wide forums to obtain faculty, student, and administrative input into its deliberations, and to receive comments on its preliminary findings and recommendations. The committee drew the following four conclusions:
- There is growing public awareness of pressing environmental problems and increasing demand on universities to provide leadership in the search for lasting solutions to environmental problems;
- State and federal agencies, business and industry, and private foundations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to address environmental issues and are providing substantially increased funding to do so.
- There is a growing job market for students who are well trained in traditional academic disciplines but who are also prepared for interdisciplinary work and work at the science-policy interface; and
- The University of Georgia has a number of outstanding, nationally-ranked environmental programs, currently scattered throughout the University; which can be connected and re-vitalized to become more effective and more responsive to new environmental opportunities and challenges.
Taken together, the above findings constitute a strategic opportunity for the University of Georgia to consolidate and improve its environmental programs and to position itself to become the leading environmental university in the 21st century. Based on these findings, the Environmental Programs Enhancement Committee has developed a series of recommendations that will allow the University to become an entrepreneurial hotbed of cross-disciplinary research, service, and teaching. Yet the University must do this while remaining true to its core mission and continuing to emphasize its current strengths. To ensure that the University both remains faithful to its mission and takes advantage of this strategic opportunity to develop new strengths, the Committee recommends that the University commission an external review of the EPEC recommendations, including their potential impact on both the existing units and programs and the overall vitality of environmental programs at the University.
One long-standing strength of environmental programs at the University of Georgia is the very permeable boundaries between its academic disciplines and departments. A second strength is the wide-spread incorporation of environmental curricula, research programs, and service activities in many departments and colleges. These traditions of permeability, breadth, and communication must be energized, strengthened, and expanded in order to foster increased dialogue and collaboration among the diverse disciplines that are relevant to understanding and solving the great environmental challenges of the 21st century. The University must build on its considerable existing strengths in environmental science and technology and forge linkages among the sciences and environmental law, design, history, ethics, and policy. These linkages will, in turn, enable the University to train a new generation of environmental leaders who are far better schooled in the science-policy interface, a new generation of scientists who are far better prepared for cross-disciplinary research, and a new generation of educators in many disciplines who incorporate environmental ideas and concepts into their courses.
The Committee considered a large number of models for possible reorganization of the University's environmental programs. Among the extreme models considered, but rejected, were doing nothing at all, and moving all environmental programs into a single new college. Many, if not all, departments and colleges need strong environmental components and faculty with environmental interests and expertise. After much deliberation, the Committee focused on two proposals: a new, stand-alone College with its own core faculty and departments, and a cross-campus Academy whose faculty would remain in the respective home academic units but work together to establish a campus-wide environmental curriculum and new cross-cutting research and service programs. In the end, the Committee recognized there is much merit in both the College and Academy models, and the current proposal combines the best features of both.
A New Kind of College
We propose the creation of a new College of the Environment at the University of Georgia. The College of the Environment will not only be a new college but also a new kind of college. We propose an open, flexible, and adaptive college structure with both core faculty and programs administered within the College and a university-wide mandate to work with other academic units to promote excellence in environmental studies throughout the University. From its inception, the new College will be designed to break down barriers to cross-campus interactions and to foster interdisciplinary research and teaching. To this end, the new College will administer a campus-wide Academy of Environmental Studies, whose Faculty of Environmental Studies will be open to all UGA faculty members interested in environmental issues. The new College will have a flexible budget and adaptive programs that will allow it to respond rapidly to newly emerging environmental problems and opportunities. The College will have a critical mass of its own faculty and academic programs, but it will also support faculty and programs in academic units not directly administered by the College. The Dean of the College will be explicitly evaluated on the basis of his or her performance in promoting excellence in environmental programs throughout the University, and not just in those units reporting directly to the Dean.
The full organizational structure of the proposed new College is provided in Appendix 1. In brief, an Office of the Dean will have overall responsibility for the administration of the College and a mandate to promote environmental excellence throughout the University. An external Board of Advisors, appointed by the Provost, and an elected College Council, representing students, staff, and faculty, will advise the Dean. The Dean's Office will include a Development Officer who will actively raise funds on behalf of the College, a Director of Service and Outreach, and an Office of Student Services for advising, internships, and job placement. Three essential branches of the proposed new College are: a) an Academy of Environmental Studies which is home to the campus-wide Faculty of Environmental Studies and a broad array of interdisciplinary faculty interest groups and Areas of Excellence, b) Academic and Affiliated Units of the College, which consists of departments or schools administered by the College of the Environment or those jointly administered by more than one college, and c) a number of campus-wide Centers and Institutes.
Courses and Degree Programs. The new College will offer a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees, including both professional and academic degree tracks. The lower division undergraduate program for students not in professional degree programs will be embedded in the liberal arts. These students will fulfill most of their lower division liberal arts requirements in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The new College will offer a comprehensive set of upper division courses for its own majors, including courses appropriate to accreditation in professional degree programs, but students will also be actively encouraged to take relevant upper division courses from any other unit of the University. The College of the Environment will also have responsibility for providing courses for undergraduates in other colleges, both in environmental literacy and for majors in the biological sciences. The College Curriculum Committee will actively promote the cross-listing of courses with other academic units and will work to reduce barriers to students in one college receiving credit for courses taken in another college.
The Academy of Environmental Studies
The Academy of Environmental Studies will be one of the principal tools of the new College for reaching across department and college lines and promoting interdisciplinary interactions. The Director of the Academy of Environmental Studies will also serve as the Chair of the campus-wide Faculty of Environmental Studies. The Director/Chair will be provided sufficient funds to "buy time" of faculty to plan and initiate new courses and degree programs, to offer competitive "seed grants" for interdisciplinary research, to foster the creation of interdisciplinary faculty interest groups, and to promote the development of "Areas of Excellence" in environmental areas where UGA might become a national or international leader. The Committee recommends that the University aggressively seek endowment funds to support the programs and activities of the Academy.
The Faculty of Environmental Studies will be open to all members of the University community who have professional interests in the environment. Because many instructional and research opportunities are at the interfaces between traditional academic disciplines, a particular effort will be made to encourage interactions among and between environmental scientists, social scientists, and humanists. This new Faculty of Environmental Studies will offer courses, degrees, and certificates in environmental areas not adequately covered by degrees in existing schools and departments. The Faculty of Environmental Studies will also help to coordinate environmental research and service programs across department, school, and college lines. Among the responsibilities of this faculty will be the following:
- Development of a Campus-wide Environmental Curriculum. The Faculty of Environmental Sciences will comprehensively review all existing environmental courses, certificates, and degree offerings and take action to streamline those offerings, to identify redundancies and gaps in the current course offerings, and to reduce the redundancies and fill the gaps. This will be done in conjunction with an analysis of enrollment trends and job opportunities and with an eye to expanding instructional opportunities in those areas where student demand is the greatest. Based on these analyses, the Faculty of Environmental Studies will propose new courses, certificates, and degrees, particularly in highly interdisciplinary areas such as environmental journalism, environmental education, environmental policy, and urban and regional planning. It will also establish courses and workshops specifically designed to increase both the understanding of environmental science by students and faculty in law and policy fields, and the understanding of environmental policy by science students and faculty.
- Coordination of the Environmental Literacy Requirement. The University currently has a requirement that all of its graduates be environmentally literate and offers a variety of courses to achieve this goal. There is, however, no evaluation of the effectiveness of these courses at meeting the overall goal of environmental literacy for our students and no coordination or review of the content of the current course offerings. The Faculty of Environmental Studies will be responsible for reviewing the environmental literacy courses on an annual basis, developing a survey instrument to ascertain the effectiveness of the requirement, and convening the instructors in the environmental literacy courses to seek consensus on a set of common requirements for course content.
- Graduate Fellowships. A hallmark of a great university is a very strong graduate program. Graduate students are at the heart of the research and teaching enterprise of the university, and they will play a central role in the success of the University of Georgia's transformation into the leading environmental university of the 21st century. We propose a total of at least 30 new graduate fellowships, in addition to those attached to new faculty endowed chairs (see below). These fellowships will be administered by the campus-wide Faculty of Environmental Studies, competitively awarded to outstanding environmental graduate students in any department or college of the University, and funded at a level that allows the University to compete for the very best graduate students nationally.
- Competitive Environmental Seed Grants Program. The competitive seed grants fund will be established to facilitate innovative interdisciplinary investigation of environmental problems. Seed grants will be targeted to areas of inquiry with high prospects of attracting outside funding, will require collaboration of 3 or more faculty members from 2 or more different academic units (including investigators from other universities where appropriate), and will provide funding for no more than 3 years. A portion of the funds will be targeted specifically toward supporting interdisciplinary graduate students and postdoctoral students working across department and college boundaries. We propose a target of $1M per year funding for this program, anticipating that most grants will be at a level of $100K per year and that 8 to 12 such grants will be funded at any one time.
- Annual Student Environmental Symposium. Hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students participate in research projects at UGA every year and for the most part receive little recognition for their work. Furthermore, students in one department or school are unlikely to know about projects in other departments or schools, even when the students are working on closely related projects. We propose an annual environmental research symposium, with oral and poster presentations and significant cash prizes, that is open to students from all parts of the University.
- Environmental Theme Dormitory. The University is currently planning new dormitories to house increased numbers of students on campus. The environmental theme dormitory will be open to any undergraduate or graduate student with an interest in the environment, but preference will be given to those students who major or minor in an environmental degree program. Students will not only benefit from the learning environment provided by daily interactions with students in other environmental programs with different perspectives, but also will also learn by being actively involved in environmental decisions regarding dormitory life.
Interdisciplinary Faculty Interest Groups and "Areas of Excellence"
The Director of the Academy will encourage formation and development of interdisciplinary Faculty Interest Groups. The organizational chart in Appendix 1 lists some of the interest groups that will be promoted, but the number and composition of the groups will be determined by the participating faculty. Each faculty group will be focused on a different subject area and dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary research, service, and/or instruction in that subject area. For the most part, these will not be designed as permanent faculty groups, rather the groups will form and dissolve depending on the interests of the faculty and the success of the groups. Several sources of funding will be available to foster interdisciplinary activities by the Faculty Interest Groups. The Academy will provide funds to buy time and services of faculty members to teach specific courses and/or plan new degree programs. The groups can also compete for interdisciplinary seed research grants through the Competitive Environmental Seed Grants Program.
Depending on the availability of funding, a Faculty Interest Group can also compete for designation as an "Area of Excellence," which will include funding for endowed faculty chairs. While Areas of Excellence involve longer-term funding commitments than other Faculty Interest Groups, they will not be permanent, and when endowed faculty retire or otherwise leave the University, the funds will go back into a common pool and may be allocated to other purposes. We propose an aggressive endowment campaign to raise funds for five or more "Areas of Excellence" including funding for two or more endowed chairs in each area. Endowed professors will be appointed in departments across the campus, with no special preference given to the academic and affiliated units of the new College. Also, approximately half will be recruited externally, and the remainder will go to endow existing faculty positions, thus freeing up salary for approximately 10-12 junior faculty lines. We recommend an endowment of $3M per chair to provide for salary and for funds for at least two new graduate assistantships associated with each endowed chair.
The Areas of Excellence will be chosen both to build on existing strengths and to be in areas of increased public concern and student demand. The proposed areas will fall into one of two categories: 1) those areas in which UGA already has nationally and internationally recognized programs and expertise, and with additional support can expect to be among the top five programs nationally; and 2) those areas for which UGA is not recognized yet as a national leader, but in which the University has some strength scattered across department and college lines, and for which there are significant new national funding initiatives and increased demand and employment opportunities for well trained graduates. The selection of Areas of Excellence will be based on a competition with proposals submitted by the participating faculty. The proposals will be reviewed by a panel of experts to be appointed by the Provost and to include distinguished professionals from outside the University. Although the final designation of Areas of Excellence must await review by the panel appointed by the Provost, we offer the following two examples to illustrate how the program will work and how the program will build linkages between academic units:
Area of Excellence in Biological Diversity and Population Biology: The University of Georgia already has internationally recognized strength in population and evolutionary ecology and a successful interdisciplinary graduate degree program in Conservation Biology. Two endowed chairs in the Conservation of Biological Diversity might be offered to distinguished existing faculty members, freeing 3 or 4 junior positions to be recruited from outside the University in systematics, evolution, or behavioral ecology. Current faculty offered endowed chairs may assume split appointments between their current home college and the College of the Environment, and the junior faculty may hold appointments in any appropriate college. Additionally one or more of the new faculty members would, if appropriate, serve as a part-time curator in the UGA Museum of Natural History.
Area of Excellence in Environmental Ethics. Environmental ethics is fundamental to sound environmental decision making as well as scholarship, and instruction in environmental ethics is envisioned as a core requirement for students in the College of the Environment. The University of Georgia is already recognized for the excellence of its interdisciplinary Environmental Ethics Program. UGA has the largest environmental ethics program in the world with over 40 affiliated faculty from many schools, colleges, and departments, and thus it provides an excellent model of the type of interdisciplinary interactions the new College will promote. Two endowed chairs, one in Environmental Ethics and one in Environmental Justice, would support this Area of Excellence. One chair would be appointed in the Department of Philosophy and the other, a chair in Environmental Justice, would be a joint appointment between the new College and the Law School. We also propose the development of a certificate program in Environmental Justice and a student scholarship fund targeted for low-income students, especially those from urban and other areas heavily impacted by pollution and other environmental problems.
Academic and Affiliated Units of the College
Although environmental programs are widely distributed in units throughout the University, in most cases only a handful of faculty in each unit identify themselves as environmental professionals. In a few cases, however, all or almost all of the faculty in an existing department work directly in the environmental arena. We propose that such environmentally-focused departments be invited to formally affiliate with the new College in one of several ways. In no case do we recommend that a department be required to affiliate with the new College against the will of its faculty.
In a few cases there may be little compelling reason for a department to maintain its existing college affiliation, and the department might leave its current college and join the College of the Environment outright. In most cases, however, a more appropriate arrangement will be for the existing department to remain intact in its current home college but to develop a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the new College specifying the responsibilities of the individuals, departments, and colleges involved in joint programs and activities. Relationships between existing departments and colleges and the new College can range from simple coordination and cooperation of research, teaching, and service activities to, in some cases, actual joint administration of the unit by two colleges. As appropriate, the MOUs will also include guidelines for tenure and promotion decisions, and provide details of how teaching credit, cross-listing of courses, instructional costs, overhead returns, benefits, indirect costs, etc. will be handled.
In cases of joint administration, departments will remain intact, with all of the department members continuing to report to the same department head even though positions in the department are funded through two different colleges. Such a departments will have clearly delineated responsibilities to both colleges, and the department head will report to different deans for different activities of the department. There are precedents for this arrangement at UGA, and it is common at some universities such as Cornell, where faculty members often speak of being "college blind," meaning that a department operates as a single unit and students in the department are typically unaware of the fact that faculty EFTs are split between colleges. An example of how such joint administration of a department would work is given in Appendix 1.
We propose that the School of Environmental Design and the Institute of Ecology be wholly administered through the new College. This alliance makes good sense in terms of our goal of linking basic scientific research to the solution of environmental problems. Although the Institute of Ecology does have a service program and the School of Environmental Design does have faculty heavily engaged in research, the Institute of Ecology is mostly recognized for its basic research in ecology, while the School of Environmental Design is largely known for design and the application of scientific information developed in other disciplines. The School of Environmental Design and the Institute of Ecology will retain their identities as separate academic units, but will coordinate their curricula and report to the same dean.
We also propose that the following academic and research units be invited to become formally affiliated, in one of several ways, with the new College: the Departments of Marine Sciences, Geology, and Anthropology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Departments of Environmental Health Science and Crop and Soil Science from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory from the Office of the Vice President for Research. This plan does not preclude the possibility that other academic units might at a future time affiliate in some way with the new College, but all such affiliations will need to be acceptable to all departments and colleges involved, and administrative details of the affiliation will need to be spelled out in a MOU signed by all deans and department heads involved.
We propose that the University actively seek additional endowment funds to enhance programs in the academic and affiliated units of the College. Such funds will be made available through the Office of the Dean to build initiatives in four broad areas: 1) ecology, including human ecology, 2) earth and marine sciences, 3) environmental health, and 4) environmental design and urban planning. The faculty in the academic and affiliated units will work together to plan new degree programs and areas of research and service emphasis and, as appropriate, will ask faculty from other departments and colleges to participate in the new activities.
The initiative in Human Ecology will focus on human demography, the demographic transition, and the cultural, historical, and political dimensions of environmental issues. The initiative in Earth and Marine Sciences will focus on global change and build on existing strengths in biogeochemistry, soil science, and aquatic ecology. The initiative in Environmental Health will focus on emerging diseases and public health concerns related to pollution and toxins in the environment, and will include participation of the existing campus-wide Program in Toxicology. The initiative in Environmental Design and Urban Planning will focus on providing service and outreach to rapidly growing communities in Georgia and elsewhere. The strategic plan of the School of Environmental Design already calls for the development of degree programs in urban planning and design and the hiring of several new faculty members to implement this program. This program, and the other initiatives listed above, will be funded through the new College if endowment or other funds are secured.
Plans for implementation of the initiatives originating in the academic and affiliated units will be subject to peer review and evaluation by the same external review board as discussed above for the Areas of Excellence. Funding recommendations will be made by the panel to the Dean of the College of the Environment.
New University-wide Centers and Institutes
Centers and institutes are particularly appropriate for outreach and policy-related programs that need to be closely coordinated with the academic and research mission of a college but whose faculty and staff are more oriented to community outreach than to academic pursuits. Although additional centers and institutes may be appropriate in the future, at this time we propose only those for which we have already identified likely sources of outside endowment and/or programmatic funds. For example, discussions have been held with the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership and Community Development about a new Environmental Leadership Center to be jointly administered between the Fanning Institute and the College of the Environment, and there are indications that private funds can be raised to support this initiative. Likewise, a proposal has already been written for a campus-wide River Basin Studies and Policy Center, and funding sources are already available for some of the projects of the Center. The Odum Institute for Advanced Studies is proposed both because of the interest of a number of faculty in promoting ecological synthesis and its incorporation into environmental policy and because of the likelihood of securing funding for an institute named after Professor Odum.
Centers and institutes administered by the College of the Environment will be viewed as intermediate-term commitments and funded for 5 years at a time, with a mandatory review at the end of year 3 of the 5-year term. Faculty associated with the centers and institutes will be tenured in academic departments, and most of the funding through the centers and institutes will be short-term commitments to specific projects, so that unproductive centers and institutes can be phased out and their funding reallocated to new needs. Proposals for new centers and institutes will be submitted to the Provost and University Council for campus-wide review. Brief descriptions of the three proposed centers and institutes are provided in Appendix 1.
Adequate Space for Teaching and Research Programs
One of the greatest impediments to the advancement of the environmental programs at the University of Georgia is the lack of adequate space. Research is conducted in overcrowded and outdated space, and class enrollments are severely limited by the lack of sufficient classroom and laboratory space. A new building is essential for providing a focal point for environmental programs at UGA. This building needs to house academic units of the College of the Environment, plus provide a significant number of research labs, classrooms, and teaching laboratories, that can be used by other academic units. We recommend a building of at least 240,000 square feet designed to accommodate upwards of 100 faculty offices and laboratories plus a wide array of classroom, conference, and meeting spaces. The building should be identified as the place to go for information on the University's environmental programs, for academic counseling and job placement services in environmental areas, and for examples of teaching and research that relate to environmental studies. The building will also house the Environmental Ethics Program, the Environmental Leadership Center, the Odum Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Center for River Basin Science and Policy.
A building that houses environmental programs should itself reflect the best environmental values and principles. We are committed to constructing a "green" building that reflects state-of-the-art approaches for using recycled materials, achieving energy efficiency, and capturing storm water runoff in pond catchment basins. Furthermore, to make this building a useful "laboratory" for the building industry, we propose equipping the building with instruments that provide a continual record of total energy use and costs. Because the downside of achieving energy conservation can be decreased air quality, we also propose distributing instruments throughout the building to monitor air quality and make this information readily available to building residents. We hope this building will become known as a model of green architecture and will be frequently visited and imitated by builders and designers.
An additional feature of the new building will be a state-of the art computing facility that will serve as the hub of an environmental information network. This network will be a major repository for course materials and information about faculty, students, and student groups and activities. The network will also be a major site for data storage, research analyses and reports, and science-policy syntheses. A staff of programmers and database managers will facilitate the use of the facility by both faculty and students from throughout the University and by the public.
Because of severe space limitations for both research and teaching, we recommend that the new building for environmental studies be high on the University's capital request to the Board of Regents. This building should be built regardless of whether or not any of the other EPEC proposals are implemented and therefore is not included in the budget discussed below.
Budget for Environmental Excellence
Few of the Committee recommendations can be accomplished without significant expense. Some of the recommendations, such as a Faculty of Environmental Studies, Coordination of the Environmental Literacy Requirement, and an Annual Student Environmental Symposium, could be accomplished with modest internal reallocation of funds. However, the recommendations are only worth implementing if they can be done well, and some cannot be done well without a very substantial financial investment. We recommend that the major recommendations, such as a new College, not be implemented unless there are substantial new funds from external sources. A preliminary estimate of the cost of implementing all of the new programs and activities recommended in this proposal, exclusive of the cost of new construction, is approximately $8M per year or, equivalently, $160M in endowment funds. We recommend two primary sources of new operating and programmatic funds as outlined below.
"Line Item" for Environment. This year the University secured the Regent's approval for a $3M+ line item budget to support a Biomedical Initiative. We recommend that the University make a similar request in next year's budget, targeted for new environmental programs. We recommend at least $2M annually to initiate the 'Areas of Excellence' and 'Competitive Environmental Research Grants' activities of the Academy of Environmental Studies. We also recommend $1M for "fixed costs" of a new College such as administration, furniture, building maintenance, and set-up funds for new faculty.
Aggressive Endowment Campaign. "Improving environmental quality" and "excellence in education" are both popular themes with foundations and private donors. We recommend an aggressive external fundraising campaign aimed at establishing a minimum of $100M in endowment. The income from this endowment will be used to establish the new College, including supplementing the line item funds for 'Areas of Excellence' in the Academy, funding initiatives in the academic and affiliated units, and establishing of the proposed centers and institutes.
Flexibility, Adaptability, and Commitment
The College of the Environment will be a new kind of College because of its unprecedented openness, flexibility, and adaptability. Unlike most colleges which tend to look internally and to protect their own interests, the College of the Environment will be designed from the beginning to look externally and to promote excellence wherever it is found. The majority of the endowment funds secured for the new College will be available for campus-wide programs and will be used to foster creativity and innovation throughout the University. The budget of the new College will be flexible and allow the College to respond to new opportunities and challenges. Unlike most colleges, where upwards of 90% of all funds are devoted to fixed, long-term commitments, we envision the College of the Environment devoting only about 1/3 of its endowment funds to long-term commitments such as faculty salaries. The remaining 2/3 will be used for student support and shorter-term research and service projects and can be quickly redirected as needed.
The College of the Environment will be committed to breaking down barriers between academic disciplines and to linking sound research to the solution of real-world problems. Much of the funding provided to the new College will be used to build bridges between academic units and to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching. The College will develop world-class research programs recognized for their academic excellence. At the same time, equal emphasis will be given to synthesizing environmental knowledge and making information available to policy- and decision-makers. More than anything else, the College of the Environment will be devoted to meeting the fundamental environmental challenge of improving the quality of life on Earth without destroying the life support system which sustains human life and society.
Appendix 1. Appendix on Administrative Details
Office of the Dean. The Dean of the College of the Environment will be advised by an external Board of Advisors and an elected College Council. The Board of Advisors will be appointed by the Provost and consist of nationally prominent scientists, academics, and other leaders with expertise and interests in the environment. The Board of Advisors will advise the Dean on general policy issues, fund raising, and the allocation of endowment funds. The College Council will consists of elected representatives of faculty, staff, and students. Among the standing committees of the Council will be a Curriculum Committee charged with coordinating the curriculum within the College of the Environment and working with other colleges and the University Council to coordinate curriculum between colleges.
Student Services. Student services will be housed in the new building which hopefully will come to be known as the place to go for information about environmental programs on campus. An Office of Advisement will coordinate undergraduate advising, and services of the office will be available to students with environmental interest, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in the College of the Environment. This Office will be responsible for ensuring that students are following an acceptable program of study. The Office will also host workshops each year for faculty to improve their role as advisors.
Internships provide undergraduate and graduate students with important employment related experience. Opportunities for internships will be provided through various branches of the new College, including the academic and affiliated units, the Environmental Education Program, the Environmental Leadership Center, and the River Basin Science and Policy Center. Once a history of successful internships is established with private firms, non-government organizations, and public agencies, employment prospects in desirable areas will greatly increase. In order to make sure that internships are developed to the fullest extent possible, we propose establishing an Office of Internships and Job Placement which will have the primary responsibility for developing internship opportunities and maintaining relationships with potential employers. As is the case now, interns will receive university credit for their experience.
The Office of Internships and Job Placement will also be responsible for developing relationships with potential employers beyond the contacts provided by the internship program. Each year the Office will host an Environmental Jobs Fair, which will bring in representatives from potential employers. The Office will also provide workshops and advice to students to help them prepare resumes and improve interviewing skills. Each year, the Office will compile the results of questionnaires and conversations with potential employers to ascertain the critical skills valued by employers. This information will be made available to faculty advisors during the annual advising workshops. Information from potential employers about desirable skills will also provide guidance to faculty about the need to develop new courses.
Course Listings. As part of the understanding with affiliated units, there must be a mechanism by which environmental courses and curricula can be designed with a simple prefix with the understanding that course credit for participating will accrue to their home units regardless of the prefix. Likewise, course prefixes should not limit the ability of students to receive appropriate credit for the course in their major. The judgment should be based on informational content of the course rather than prefix and who gets credit for the teaching.
Affiliated Departments. A key to the success of the College of the Environment is securing sufficient new funds to allow the establishment of the new College without harming existing environmental programs essential to other units not joining the new College. Under the plan proposed here, the faculty in the School of Environmental Design and Institute of Ecology will come into the new College in intact units, causing little disruption of existing programs. Affiliated departments will retain their current college affiliations while still participating actively in the programs of the new College. For example, if the Department of Environmental Health Science chose to be jointly administered, and if this were agreed to by the deans of both colleges involved, the College of the Environment would provide funds for new faculty members to join the existing department and to buy portions of the time of existing faculty members of the department. As a result, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) would have no net loss of EFTs, but the Department of Environmental Health Science would gain new faculty members. In such a case, the faculty, new and old, will be full members of the same department and all will report to the same department head. Because of the influx of new funds and faculty lines, the expanded faculty will be able to continue its function within its existing home college, while still being able to take on significant new activities in the College of the Environment.
Individual Faculty Affiliation
In some cases it will be appropriate for an individual faculty member to join a unit of the new College of the Environment even though his or her department does not affiliate in any formal way with the new College. To allow for such a possibility without disrupting the function of existing departments, the proposed budget of the new College includes funds for positions to be recruited within the University. In this case, if such a faculty member transfers entirely into the new College, the home department and/or college will retain the full salary of that individual just as if the faculty member had left for a new job at another university. In other cases, only a portion of the position will be transferred into the new college, in which case the old department or college will be reimbursed only for that portion of an EFT. We recommend funding for the transfer of approximately 10 to 12 faculty EFTs into the new College; if, in most cases, only a quarter or a half of an EFT is transferred, this will permit approximately 20-25 individuals to be partially or wholly bought out by the new College. Details will have to be negotiated on a case by case basis between the new College and the other academic units involved.
Areas of Excellence. Many very good ideas for Areas of Excellence have been suggested to the committee. Our recommendation is that decisions on funding for Areas of Excellence should be based on an open competition and external review. Among the suggested Areas of Excellence, in addition to the two mentioned earlier in the proposal, are the following:
- Environmental Economics and Policy
- Local Government and Environmental Law
- Industrial Ecology
- Evolutionary Ecology
- History, Culture, and Politics of the Environment
- Health Science and Biological Engineering.
- Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development.
- Environmental Decision-Making and Policy
- Environmental Education
- Biogeochemistry and Global Change
- Biomedical & Environmental Health Sciences.
- Environmental Design and Restoration
- Mineral Resources and Geologic Hazards
Although there are clearly more suggestions than the number that could feasibly be designated as Areas of Excellence, the committee recognizes the importance of all of these topics. The intention of the Committee is to put in place a fair system that encourages the formation of Faculty Interest Groups in a diverse array of interdisciplinary topics and then encourages these groups to develop proposals for research funding, instructional and service activities, and recognition as an Area of Excellence. The expectation is that this entrepreneurial system of generating faculty groups and encouraging them to compete for funds will result in more creative ideas and novel approaches to research and problem solving than ever could result from a top-down system of choosing Areas of Excellence.
Environmental Leadership Center. The University must continue and increase its efforts to provide reliable environmental information to the citizens of Georgia and to decision makers everywhere. We propose a joint program with the Fanning Institute to develop a new 'environmental leadership' program to train environmental decision-makers in the state, national, and international arenas. The goals of this program will be to identify, recognize, and train environmental leaders. An annual Environmental Leadership Forum will initiate each year's activities by bringing together environmental leaders and decision makers. The forum will have a global theme, such as population issues or environmental sustainability, but will also have sessions for regional, state, and local decision makers. Throughout the year, the environmental leadership program will offer additional workshops, internships, and graduate courses and certificates aimed at translating academic knowledge into sound environmental decisions and action.
To provide leadership on our own campus, we propose that the University establish endowed chairs in Environmental Leadership and Environmental Education. These new senior faculty might be jointly appointed between the new College of the Environment and the College of Education . The new faculty should also work closely with the existing 4-H environmental education programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the environmental education and outreach programs in the UGA Museum of Natural History. In addition, we propose that the new faculty work through the Environmental Leadership program to offer UGA faculty and students training in environmental leadership skills.
Eugene P. Odum Institute for Advanced Ecological Studies. The Odum Institute will be patterned on the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University and will be a place for contemplative thought and study devoted to ecological synthesis and incorporating ecological knowledge into environmental decision making. A strong emphasis will be placed on synthesizing knowledge in such a way as to make it easier to use by policy and decision makers. The Odum Institute will sponsor and administer the following:
- an Endowed Lecture Series
- an Endowment for Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows
- an Endowment for Intellectual Renewal (a sabbatical exchange program)
Each year the Odum Institute will choose one theme in basic ecological knowledge and a related theme in ecological applications. Faculty from UGA and elsewhere will work with students and postdoctoral fellows to review and synthesize existing information, to propose research priorities, and to translate ecological knowledge into policy-relevant information.
Center for River Basin Science and Policy. The mission of this campus-wide center will be to encourage and coordinate research and policy-analysis at the landscape scale of river basins. The Center will bring our scientific knowledge of hydrology and riverine ecosystems to bear on policies relating to freshwater resources. The Center will have some focus on river basins in Georgia and the southeastern United States but will be international in scope to reflect the growing realization that fresh water will be a major limiting resource in the near future. A proposal for the creation of this Center is already in review and will be made available on request.
Appendix 2. Members of the Environmental Programs Enhancement Committee
Peter Appel, School of Law
Paul Bertsch, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and Department of Crop & Soil Sciences
George Brook, Department of Geography
Ron Carroll, Institute of Ecology
Cham Dallas, College of Pharmacy
Diane Davies, Cooperative Extension Service
Larry Dendy, University Communications
Timothy Denny1 (Secretary), Department of Plant Pathology
Dan DerVartanian, Department of Biochemistry
Bruce Ferguson, School of Environmental Design
Ted Gragson, Department of Anthropology
Ian Hardin, Department of Textiles, Merchandise, & Interiors
Mark Higgins, Vice Chair, Graduate Student Association
Robert Hodson, School of Marine Programs
Steve Hubbell, Botany Department
Alan Jaworski (deceased), Botany Department
Ed Kanemasu, Department of Crop & Soil Science
David Knauft, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Richard Meltzer, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Judy Meyer, Institute of Ecology
Victor Nettles, College of Veterinary Medicine
David Newman, School of Forest Resources
Tricia Page, President, Student Government Association
Barry Palevitz, Department of Botany
Ron Pulliam (Chair), Institute of Ecology
Elizabeth Reitz, Director, UGA Museum of Natural History
Mary Alice Smith2, Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Sam Swanson, Department of Geology
Rick Tarleton, Department of Cellular Biology
Robert Teskey, School of Forest Resources
Brahm Verma3, Biological Agricultural Engineering
William (Barny) Whitman, Department of Microbiology
Sandy Whitney, Honors Program
Judith Willis, Department of Cellular Biology
1Chair of Communications and Outreach Working Group
2Chair, Resources and Opportunities Working Group
3Chair, Issues and Inventory Working Group
Dan Hitchcock, Graduate Assistant, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Appendix 3. List of Issues Used to Evaluate Option Proposals
This list of issues was developed by the EPEC Issues and Inventory Working Group. The specific issue items were suggested by committee members and by other faculty and students who attended the EPEC forums. The issues were chosen to reflect goals of the Committee and the list was used by EPEC to evaluate the option proposals developed by the Committee.
A. TEACHING/COURSE ISSUES
- Improve the quality of environmental education at the undergraduate level for environmental majors
- Improve the quality of environmental education at the undergraduate level for general students
- Improve the quality of environmental education at the undergraduate level
- Increase coordination between academic administrative units during course and program development
- Increase interactions between different disciplines for course and program development
- Increase knowledge of course content across academic administrative units
- Encourage partnership between academic disciplines in the development and management of curriculum
- Modify rules that restrict undergraduate credit for cross-college/discipline participation
- Increase flexibility of transferring faculty resources (e.g. EFT) from one academic unit to another
- Increase incentives for faculty to get involved with other academic/discipline units
- Increase incentives for departments whose faculty become involved with other academic/discipline units
- Simplify administrative procedures for cross-college instruction
- Increase flexibility in an undergraduate's ability to satisfy University System of Georgia core requirements
- Increase flexibility in an undergraduate's ability to satisfy college core requirements
- Increase visibility of environmental content of courses
- Increase visibility of available environmental courses
- Increase access to substantive course descriptions
- Reduce the use of prerequisites as bars for cross-unit course enrollment
- Increase opportunity for faculty with environmental interests in non-environmental units to connect with other academic units
- Increase TA's available for upper-level laboratory and lecture classes
- Increase TA support for improving the quality of undergraduate instruction
- Increase space for teaching laboratories
- Increase experiential learning opportunities for the undergraduates in environmental courses
B. FACULTY ISSUES
- Remove barriers for hiring faculty who fall outside traditional disciplinary lines or who are interdisciplinary
- Evaluation procedures provide fair evaluation of performance of faculty who fall outside traditional disciplinary lines
- Simplify administrative procedures to stimulate joint appointments
- Means to identify and create new programs that address emerging environmental issues
- Facilitate the creation of faculty positions for emerging environmental programs
- Provide a solution to the disparity in 9 month/12 month/summer salaried faculty appointments
- Appropriately reward extra time required for field/lab instruction
- Provide institutional-level programs/incentives to foster cross-disciplinary interactions
- Alleviate the research laboratory space deficit for environmental studies
- Keep existing unit viable with a critical mass of faculty resources
- Provide mechanisms for increasing/expanding environmental programs through the extension infrastructure
- Provide mechanisms for increasing/expanding environmental programs through public service and outreach infrastructure
- Provide credit to faculty for public service and outreach
- Increase availability of reliable environmental information for citizens
D. INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES
- Provide adequate office spaces for environmental faculty and programs
- Spatial relationship of offices and labs encourages interaction of environmental faculty and students
- Reduce disparity in overhead rates on grants and contracts between different adm units
- Facilitate sharing overheads between PIs from different units
- Simplify contract and grant administration for interdisciplinary research and service
- Reduce turf battles
E. STUDENT ISSUES
- Increase availability of funding for students in environmental programs
- Improve connections with extramural organizations [e.g., industry, government, and non-government (NGOs)] via applied curricula, including real world problems and training
- Improve connections with extramural organizations [e.g., industry, government, and non-government (NGOs)] via advisement participation
- Improve connections with extramural organizations [e.g., industry, government, and non-government (NGOs)] via internships
- Create an environmental science major for undergraduates
- Create an environmental science major for graduate students with specif
Comprehensive Engineering: A Strategic Institutional Initiative
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Georgia
Brahm P. Verma
E. Dale Threadgill
May 5, 2000
There are moments in history when change is exponential rather than incremental. At such times, all bets are off and the rules of business, even the grounds for competition, shift fast, furiously and forever. Andy Grove1, Chairman Emeritus of Intel, calls these strategic inflection points. We observe that the State of Georgia and its flagship university are at such a moment. At this juncture, we must ask what strategic initiative must the University of Georgia invest in during the First Decade of the 21st Century that will leapfrog the University of Georgia into a preeminent university in the world? And how will the University of Georgia invest to achieve this?
State supported universities are increasingly having to demonstrate their relevance to the citizens and the impact of their work on development that improves the quality of life. In forging the postwar doctrine, Vannevar Bush2 in his report entitled Science - the Endless Frontier, set the U.S. science agenda for the second half of the 20th Century on two aphorisms: 1) "basic science is performed without thought of practical ends" and 2) "those who invest in basic science will capture its return in technology as the advances of science are converted into technological innovations." The U.S. university research direction has been captive of these aphorisms and in many fields there was very little connection between a university and users. This linear model (Figure 1) is clearly insufficient today. Increasingly, there is a call for forging university-users partnerships, "two way streets, defined by mutual respect among the partners for what each brings to the table" says Martin Jischke3, President of the Kellogg Commission. We are being asked to attain new levels of responsiveness in all areas of teaching, research and service to embrace, "a new conception of the connectedness of land-grant and state universities with the larger society."
The end of the cold war and advances in information technology have brought users to the realization that universities can more directly contribute to economic development and the cycle of knowledge-innovation-use can be drastically shortened when users more directly impact science and technology. The old paradigm using linear thinking of basic research, applied research and development as three distinct and separate activities is no more true. The new model (Figure 2) is a continuum which is responsive to user needs and does not view a science, e.g., physics or chemistry or mathematics or engineering, to be the sum of discrete parts, one pure and the other applied. Stokes4 says, "It is the organic whole, with complex interrelationships throughout." In this continuum, "user-inspired" fundamental research, applied research and development of technology directed towards identified user needs, and outreach for deploying advances for sustainable economic development to benefit citizens is an integrated view. For the University of Georgia to meet these challenges of the future, it must become strong in the entire spectrum of this continuum.
In this context, we asked, "Does the University of Georgia have the dimensions to complete the spectrum?" or, "Does the lack of a complete continuum make the University lame to meet its social contract with the citizens of Georgia?" In February 1999 Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) faculty had a dialog with the then newly appointed Provost, Dr. Karen Holbrook. The Provost was of the like mind on this issue. A faculty-led BAE strategic plan completed in October 1999 recommended that the primary strategic goal of the Department should be to affect the establishment of a college of engineering at the University of Georgia. The rationale, recommendation and approach presented herein is a synthesis of faculty and administrative views. Creative approaches developed by a Task Committee5 appointed by the Department Head to develop an implementation plan for the Department's strategic goal are incorporated in the framework of this recommendation. This recommendation has an unconditional support of our faculty.
The University of Georgia establish comprehensive engineering, a bridge between knowledge and meeting the needs of society, as a strategic institutional initiative for the First Decade of the 21st Century.
This initiative will position the University at the strategic inflection point where ways of conducting our daily business, grounds for competing for quality faculty and students and for extramural funds, and our focus on meeting the needs of citizens will change fast, furiously and forever. Overall, this strategic institutional initiative will
- Add to the University's science, mathematics, professional programs and humanities dimensions which have been impeded but are important to meeting the University's mission and vision,
- Provide a more comprehensive educational experience to all UGA students,
- Enhance UGA's ability to partner with industry and other institutions,
- Enable the University to contribute in the technologically savvy 21st Century,
- Position the University to contribute worldwide in education and sustainable development,
- Expand the opportunity for the University to secure development funds,
- Attract great educators, researchers and students, and
- Chart a course for the University to be one of the few mega-universities in 2020.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF GEORGIA
The University of Georgia is a Georgia-focused university. That is, its worldview is constructed through the vision and needs of the citizens of Georgia. When we contemplate current actions with the goal of leading the University to be a 2020 mega-university of international dimension and stature, our vision is that it is Georgia and its citizens who are actively impacting education and sustainable development worldwide. A prime role of the University is to enable Georgia's citizens to have the desired impact.
With the current revolutionary change, the world will increasingly rely on technology for development and quality of life. Three enabling technologies (information, advanced materials and molecular biology) are targeted to have major influence. By bringing together these three forces, the University of Georgia can impact the role of Georgia in the 21st Century. The recommended strategic initiative: Establishment of comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia, will greatly enhance the University's ability to meet the following needs:
- Fulfill demand for an expanded technological workforce.
- Over 2 million new jobs, mostly in high tech areas, will be created in the metro Atlanta area alone in the next 20 years.
- The number of engineering graduates from Georgia's universities will be 18% less than the State's demand for the period 1996-2006.
- Enhance the technological literacy of all University graduates.
- Educate engineers and related professionals who "make technology work".
- Fulfill demands for sustainable development.
- Provide appropriate eco-environmental technologies to insure sustainability, that is, sustainable environment, economic development and quality of life.
- Maintain the competitiveness of Georgia's current industries.
- Start up new companies based on university developed and university assisted technologies.
- Attract sustainable industries to locate in Georgia.
- Connect with the needs of Georgia's citizens.
- Link seamlessly knowledge creation, education, innovative technology development and economic development in partnerships with government, industry, and the private sector.
- Leverage state's investment in science and technology.
- Expedite the translation of knowledge into economically viable products and processes.
- Expand the state's knowledge base.
- Become a leader in international trade and policy.
- Integrate technology considerations with trade issues and policy development.
- Partner with foreign countries in technology transfer.
- Integrate technology, policy and user-inspired needs at the earliest stage.
- Sustain Georgia's food and forest industry base.
- The food and forest industries comprise Georgia's largest economic sector.
- Address demand for health care.
- Connect social, behavioral and technology dimensions for holistic solutions.
REINVENTING THE LAND-GRANT
Nearly a century and a half ago the land-grant model was conceptualized during the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. It was a unique social contract between public universities and American society to provide educational opportunities for the "working" class and to conduct studies in agriculture (the predominant industry of the times) and engineering for improving the quality of life, while committing to extension of knowledge and technology and public service.
We are in the midst of another profound transition. In less than two decades we have gone from computers as a novelty and an instrument of "brainy" engineers to being a commonplace in the first grade class; from several days delivery time for messages via mail to just a few seconds via email; and from a trip to the store to a click of the mouse to buy books; and have added E-mail, E*trade.com, E*bank.com and E*news.com to the vocabulary of a 4-year old.
Today, in the midst of this transition, the need for a social contract between public universities and American society is even greater than it was 150 years ago. In reinventing the land-grant, we keep the basic premise that calls for a social contract. Some say that the contemporary equivalent of land as an asset for producing food is the telecommunication broadband as an asset for accessing information for producing knowledge. And the equivalent of training which was to provide abilities to use natural resources is now education to reduce needs for natural resources, and the equivalent of industries for manufacturing products is now "industries" for developing the abilities and talents of people to provide services. James Duderstadt6, President Emeritus of the University of Michigan, in a recent UGA Forum called for universities to transition from land-grant to learned-grant and to foster a knowledge-based society by developing people's skills in problem solving.
The University of Georgia is a land-grant university and is also a sea-grant and space-grant university. Thus, the recommendation to have the University of Georgia commit strategically to establish comprehensive engineering is even more compelling for fulfilling the University's charge. In fact, not doing so will make it nearly impossible for the University of Georgia to meet its social contract in the 21st century. On the other hand, comprehensive engineering will add an essential dimension to the University of Georgia and transform it such that it is enabled to more fully meet its mission and contract with the citizens of Georgia. Examples of these benefits to the University are the following:
- The University of Georgia is the flagship institution of Georgia and it educates citizens and leaders of tomorrow. By placing premium emphasis on technology, the University will educate leaders for a technology-savvy society of the future. Norman Augustine,7 retired Chair of Lockheed Martin and a member of the engineering faculty at Princeton University writes: "... A recent National Science Foundation survey showed that fewer than half American adults understand that the Earth orbits the sun yearly, . . . and about 11 % know what a molecule is. "... A portion of the problem is due to the fact that there is widespread scientific illiteracy among those who hold high-level decision making positions. For example, only 20 (4.6%) out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives ... only 2 (4%) Senators ... and of 50 U.S. governors, nine (18%) have a science or engineering degree. "...Americans (will) survive - and thrive - in the technologically driven 21st Century." Americans have long argued, and implemented in engineering curricula nationwide, the need for engineers to be "educated" in social conscience and to value the works of art. Citizens of the 21st Century must similarly be educated in technology to appreciate its marvel and the foundational role it plays in the building of infrastructure and community that provides security and enjoyment to their daily life.
- The University will rapidly advance in the dimensions of applied science and applied mathematics which will enable UGA to develop solutions to contemporary problems and increase UGA's image to the citizens of Georgia as an institution that is directly engaged in benefitting the State.
- Having engineering students on campus in the same classes and in extracurricular activities with students from sciences and arts will enhance the undergraduate experience of all UGA students as they will understand and interact with students in a profession that is likely to be a part of their life-long work environment.
- The University's culture will transform in which development of technology and its availability and use on campus is integrated in the fabric of daily life similar to what is projected for the 21st Century society at large.
- Engineering students at the University of Georgia experience the richness of liberal arts and humanities. These engineers will be educated in the value of integrating cultural and societal values in their design and use of technology.
- The University will more rapidly transform knowledge from basic sciences to technology and transfer the technology to the benefit of society.
- The application pool of students will diversify and benefit non-engineering disciplines of the entire University.
- The University's position to attract outstanding faculty candidates will be greatly enhanced. Too often we loose outstanding candidates who select another institution because engineering is integral to their work. The quality of the University's faculty, stature and work will be enhanced.
- The University will make marked advancement in attracting extramural funds from government, industry and foundations. Significant increases in potential funding are in those areas which connect with visible problems and these areas are best addressed and supported with advanced engineering research and development work.
AN APPROACH FOR THE STRATEGIC INITIATIVE
We recommend not to pursue a "boilerplate" model with pigeonholed departments, but rather to implement an evolutionary approach which is primarily driven by and focused on meeting societal needs. In this approach, engineering programs should demonstrate two attributes: 1) the needs being addressed are real, and 2) the desired excellence for potential success is achievable. By expanding program by program, comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia will evolve over the next few years into engineering areas addressing a wide range of needs in research, teaching and outreach. Additionally, implementation actions should insure that the governing structure for these programs provides a degree of adhocracy and promotes adaptability to align and capture opportunities for meeting changing needs. Thus, we should build from bottom up and make the governing structure subservient and adaptable to program needs.
Based on the above stated considerations, on projected advances in sciences, applied sciences and computational methods, and on input received by Brahm Verma8 from several current faculty and administrators at the University of Georgia, six areas of excellence are identified as opportunities for the University of Georgia to meet needs of the First Decade of the 21st Century. The following two sections present the envisioned functions and form of comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia during the initial stages of its implementation.
SCOPE OF OPPORTUNITY
The University of Georgia is poised to establish many engineering teaching, research and outreach activities, and to organize activities with a common intellectual theme under a program. For example, engineering activities for designing drug development systems, transporting systems and screening systems can be organized under a pharmaceutical engineering program. The many program opportunities are shown in Figure 3. Furthermore, by clustering intellectually coherent programs the University should form areas of excellence which demonstrate a level of performance that shows clear promise of meeting identified needs. Six envisioned areas of excellence are outlined below with a brief listing of engineering programs and engineering activities.
1. BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING
Establishment of engineering programs are recommended that use advances in biological sciences, material sciences and applied computational methods is a unique opportunity for the University of Georgia. These programs may be clustered under a biological engineering area of excellence. We envision several programs emerging from collaborative work of engineering and other faculty of the University. The following programs were identified with the input of UGA faculty.
- Pharmaceutical Engineering
- Designing systems for drug development
- Designing systems for transport, screening and overcoming barriers in drug delivery
- Designing systems for understanding impact of drugs and methods for evaluation of toxicity on non-target systems
- Metabolic engineering
- Develop useful products from engineering metabolic pathways
- Industrial microbiological and enzyme engineering
- Develop fermentation technology for developing useful products
- Animal and plant mechanics
- Repair, transplant and rehabilitation of soft and hard tissues
- Designing prostheses and automation of functions for humans/animals
- Bio-Medical and Veterinary Engineering
- Engineering needs for developing technology for human and animal health.
- Biomaterials and Biomimetics
- Quantitative understanding and representation of properties and structure of biological materials
- Designing materials by mimicking properties of biomaterials
- Designing materials from composition of genetically designed biomass and synthetic materials
- Engineering from genetics
- Quantitative analysis and representation of information from Genome mapping
- Bioinformatics for guiding genetic manipulations for designing products
- Engineering physiology
- Designing for the environment
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Engineering focused on the programs listed above
- B.S. in Biological Engineering as currently offered with no areas of emphasis
2. MARINE ENGINEERING
The University is uniquely poised as a Sea-grant University having research and outreach facilities and resources on the Georgia Coast. We recommend establishment of engineering programs for designing sustainable marine systems and providing useful methods for harvesting materials and products, Engineering activities will complement an already recognized program in marine sciences and address critical needs of Georgia's coastal communities.
- Marine Engineering
- Designing systems for exploring and harvesting marine organisms and products of oceans for human and industrial use
- Quantitative understanding and simulation of marine environment
- Designing test beds for mimicking marine environment for research as well as producing useful marine organisms
- Designing for the environment
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine Engineering focused on the programs listed above.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
Georgia must develop responsible solutions that address both the competing demands for limited natural resources by industry and increasing populations and the growing concerns of citizens for the environment. The University pioneered the modern ecological perspective. Engineering programs should be established with ecological and environmental expertises existing within the University. This will provide a powerful combination for developing sustainable technologies. Additionally, Georgia will attract new industries related to environmental technology which will contribute to economic growth.
- Hydrogeological Engineering
- Designing for problems related to surface and sub-surface water resources
- Quantitative understanding of the availability and flow of surface and sub-surface water and the quality of water
- Quantitative understanding of water use
- Designing to improve efficiency of water use by rural and urban communities, and industries (agriculture, forest, food and hard industries)
- Designing for the environment especially for unique and fragile ecosystems, e.g., coastal zones, marshes, marine environment, wetlands and others
- Ecological Engineering
- Designing systems that are in harmony with ecological perspectives
- Designing for urban and rural ecology
- Designing for sustainability which concurrently address constraints of ecological limitation for preservation, economic development and equity - making advances with a sense of balance
- Atmospheric Engineering
- Quantitative understanding of particulate dynamics under a range of atmospheric conditions
- Designing for managing/modifying emissions impacting air quality
- Designing systems for modifying atmospheric conditions for improving air quality
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering focused on the programs listed above.
- B.S. in Environmental Engineering with emphases in Hydrogeological Engineering, and Ecological Engineering.
4. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
Establishment of engineering programs are recommended which exploit biosciences-applied chemistry interactions and the University's biomedical and environmental initiatives, thereby contributing new technologies, products and processes. These programs may be clustered under the chemical engineering area of excellence. The following programs have the potential for excellence in research and graduate studies and they will meet the needs for advanced materials and process technologies.
- Materials Engineering with structural biology and applied chemistry program in polymer chemistry and materials science
- Thin film layer materials science for developing unique materials for biosensor and perhaps for computer technology
- Biochemical Process Engineering for designing systems for
- food and textile products
- utilizing byproducts of food and other industries
- for the environment
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering focused on the programs listed above.
- B.S. in Chemical Engineering in bioprocessing for food and textile areas.
5. ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
Network theory, flux dynamics, transport processes and others engineering sciences provide the framework for developing quantitative understanding for modeling advances in biological and ecological sciences. Additionally, advances in computational methods is another important dimension for developing these representations. These dimensions are also critical for much needed sensors and controls for biological and environmental systems from the macro-level to the nano-level. The University should view establishing electrical and computer systems engineering as an exceptional strategic initiative to add an important dimension to more fully capture its already high commitment to biosciences.
- Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering
- Quantitative models of biological, environmental and natural systems useful for designing pharmaceutical products, environmental technology, forest systems, agricultural systems, and products and man-made systems for animal and human health
- Designing sensors and instruments that contribute to discovery in biological sciences
- Developing electronic sensors for biological, agricultural, forest, marine and environmental systems
- Developing electronic controls for implementing desired management strategies (inputs and environment) for optimizing the designed system
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering
- B.S. in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering
6. GENERAL ENGINEERING
The current engineering program in agricultural engineering is indeed a general engineering program. This area is mostly focused on academic programs and addresses an important class of issues which serves an important constituency that integrate various engineering disciplines and industries. We recommend adding a new dimension of industrial management and decision systems through collaboration with the UGA business faculty. This program should continue to serve the following general engineering needs:
- General Engineering
- Designing and developing electrical and mechanical systems for rural and small industries
- Designing and developing residential and industrial structures for rural industries
- Designing and developing for agricultural and forest production needs
- Industrial management, business and finance and decision support systems
- Educational Degrees
- M.S. in Engineering
- B.S. in Engineering without emphasis areas
- B.S. in Engineering with emphasis areas in Agricultural Systems, Forest Systems and Engineering Management.
In summary, establishing these areas of excellence will add the much needed engineering dimension to the University and will lead to the development and rapid deployment of technology to meet Georgia's needs. Furthermore, they will educate students for the new economy driven by a technology-savvy generation.
We recommend a governing structure rather than an administrative structure to emphasize the desire to have a very low administrative overhead and to protect those properties and features that contribute to the evolutionary approach for establishing comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia. In this context the structure should embody the following characteristics:
- Identification of real needs and opportunities. These needs could be in research and development, teaching and/or outreach.
- Flexibility for redirecting or ending programs that have served their use.
- Faculty with desired expertise from all parts of the University to form program groups to satisfy identified needs. Since real problems are not discipline specific, groups are likely to have both engineering and non-engineering faculty.
- Response to opportunities with very low bureaucratic overhead.
- Emergence of leader by the group itself, that is, a leader emerges by the action of the group.
- Engineering faculty to organize and become visible on our Campus and elsewhere.
- Regular presentation and discussion of engineering opportunities in decision making forums at all levels of the University.
- Identification and presentation of materials for extramural funding.
- Feedback from users and faculty for adapting future course of engineering.
- Recruitment of star faculty and students.
We recommend establishing a "Faculty of Engineering" at the University of Georgia with the responsibility for engineering research, teaching and outreach programs. The Faculty of Engineering should have an appointed Director who reports to the Office of the Provost. All faculty members in units with primary engineering responsibility will become members of the Faculty. Other units of the University may become affiliate units of the Faculty of Engineering by a Memorandum of Understanding between the head of the unit and the Director of the Faculty of Engineering. An individual faculty member from the University may become an affiliate member of the Faculty of Engineering when her/his unit is not an affiliate unit. Affiliation of a unit or a faculty member is appropriate when there is a significant allocation of EFT in the Faculty of Engineering. The head of each affiliate unit and of the affiliate faculty will report to the Director on behalf of the unit's faculty for those responsibilities that are administered through her/his office. To insure regular input from private sector, citizen groups, agencies and peers an Engineering Advisory Board should be established to provide periodic counsel to the Faculty of Engineering through its Director.
Upon the establishment of the Faculty of Engineering, a program leader should be selected by the faculty in each program and she/he should report directly to the Director (see Figure 4). All program leaders and the Director will constitute the Faculty's administrative council. In the initial stage an area of excellence may be formed informally by program leaders sharing information and results of their program and identifying new engineering opportunities and actions.
The University of Georgia has strength and also some engineering expertise in several of the areas shown in Figure 3. Unfortunately, there is currently insufficient faculty capacity to initiate activities in many of these areas. Strategically, engineering programs should initially be targeted in some of these areas with support from within the University and industry. Many programs have the potential to successfully compete for extramural funds. With good leadership these programs will succeed in attracting funds and will become largely self supporting in a relatively short time.
- We conclude that the establishment of Comprehensive Engineering is a most significant Strategic Institutional Initiative of the University of Georgia. The University of Georgia is positioned to take a great leap forward in the 21st Century in which higher education will be more directly user-focused.
- The State of Georgia needs engineering programs that are focused on those opportunities for which the University is well prepared,
- The State of Georgia needs to provide an alternative for high school graduates who wish to study engineering in a university that provides a strong liberal arts education,
- The State of Georgia needs more engineering graduates to meets its needs,
- Georgia is destined to become a leader state and developing leading programs is an inescapable responsibility of the University,
- The University will greatly benefit by increased capabilities to recruit star faculty and students and to compete for extramural funds, and
- Adding engineering to the University's strong liberal arts and highly respected science and business programs will strengthen the University for meeting its social contract.
- Implementation of Comprehensive Engineering at the University of Georgia is feasible and achievable in the First Decade of the 21st Century.
- The user-science-engineering-technology-outreach continuum will define future preeminent universities. It is a reinventing of the proven land-grant concept which built communities over the last 150 years. The "modernized" land-grant university will fulfill its social contract to transition U.S. society into a knowledge-based and technology-savvy 21st Century community.
- The University of Georgia will be Georgia-focused and at the same time will build communities beyond the U.S. borders and reach the world. In this way it will become a 2020 mega-university and will achieve this stature through the citizens of Georgia.
- Currently, the University of Georgia is lame without comprehensive engineering, a bridge between knowledge and meeting the needs of society. Without mending this impairment, the University is far too disadvantaged and will fall short of fulfilling its mission.
1 Grove, Andrew S. 1997. "ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE - How to exploit the crisis points that challenge every company." Doubleday, New York, NY
2 Bush, Vannevar. 1944. "SCIENCE - The Endless Frontier: A Report to the President on a Program for Postwar Scientific Research." (Reprinted by National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. 1990).
3 Jischke, Martin. 1994. "THE MODERN LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY: Looking to the 21st Century." Journal of Engineering Education, 83(1):19-21
4 Stokes, Donald E. 1997. "PASTEUR'S QUADRANT - Basic Science and Technological Innovation." Brookings Institute Press, Washington, D.C.
5 A Task Committee appointed by the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Head is charged to develop a plan for implementing the BAE Strategic Recommendation on college of engineering. The Committee is focusing on the question, "What should we do to create a college of engineering at the University of Georgia? Committee Members are: Manjeet Chinnan, Mark Eiteman, David Gattie, Brian Kiepper, Calvin Parry, Mark Risse and Brahm Verma (Chair).
6 Duderstadt, James J. January 14, 2000. "A SOCIETY OF LEARNING: A Vision for the Future of the University in the New Millennium." Presented at the Year 2020: The Research University in a Global Society, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
7 Augustine, Norman R. November 1998. "WHAT WE DON'T KNOW DOES HURT US - How can the engineering community help Americans thrive in the technology-driven 21st. Century?" PRISM, American Society of Engineering Education, p.48
8 Brahm Verma, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, recently interviewed several UGA deans, department heads and faculty members. He asked them, "In what dimension your discipline, department, college and/or university is unable to grow because of lack of comprehensive engineering at the University of Georgia that is relevant to the mission of the University?" Unanimously, everyone identified several similar aspects and listed a few specific programs. Comprehensive Engineering, A Strategic Institutional Initiative
The New Media Institute
You do not have to look further than the morning newspaper to see how new media is changing our world. The Internet is shaping the way we learn, work, and play. E-commerce is changing the way we shop. Distance learning is causing universities to rethink how they reach students. Old line media companies are being acquired by online companies in some of history’s biggest mergers. And technology is coming to market that will allow you to connect with a world of knowledge no matter where you are.
These changes present opportunities for the University of Georgia, Athens, and Georgia. New media provides the opportunities for our students to develop exciting and rewarding careers. It provides the opportunity for Athens and Georgia to recruit profitable and desirable businesses. It provides the opportunity for UGA to enhance its reputation as a technologically sophisticated institution. In short, new media offers us the opportunity for our students, our university, our city, and our state to assume leadership roles in one of the world’s fastest growing fields. To realize the potential opportunities offered by new media, we are proposing the creation of a new unit at the University of Georgia, the New Media Institute.
New media is the use of technology to create a new communication experience. The Internet is today’s new media, but the next even newer media loom on the horizon. As long as humans seek new ways to use technology to connect with other humans there will be new media. The New Media Institute is an interdisciplinary unit dedicated to exploring these new ways of connecting. The New Media Institute’s mission is the exploration of the commercial, critical, and creative implications of digital media content. This strategic plan outlines how we plan to accomplish this mission and make the University of Georgia, Athens, and the state of Georgia leaders in the dynamic field of new media.
The New Media Institute’s strategic plan consists of five complementary objectives:
- Prepare the people who will change the way we communicate.
- Provide the resources to help new media grow in Georgia.
- Improve UGA through new media systems.
- Establish UGA, Athens, and Georgia as home for innovative new media content creation.
- Provide educational resources for UGA and Athens.
Prepare the people who will change the way we communicate.
The challenge is not making new media work - anyone with a copy of The Idiot’s Guide to New Media can do that. The true challenge is making new media work for people. According to Zoe Baird, President of the Markle Foundation, we must ask, "How can we use this tremendous vehicle to deliver information in ways that will energize people [and] engage people to connect them to things that they really need in their daily lives?" Today the giant new medium, the Internet, with over 250 million people worldwide is still just exciting potential. The Internet’s greatest capabilities have yet to be realized. To realize the full potential of this medium, we must cultivate new ways of exploring it.
New media touches every aspect of our lives and impacts every field. Students and teachers must become adept at approaching new media from a variety of different perspectives. People with different roles (students, staff, faculty, business leaders), from different disciplines (at last count 22 different units from all over campus) and with different approaches (critical, creative, and commercial) will work together to develop and understand the communication systems that will change our lives. In the New Media Institute, different people will work in different ways to explore new media.
The New Media Institute will prepare tomorrow’s new media leaders through its curriculum and the experiences it offers.
The NMI will offer courses leading to certificates, and degrees to prepare new media professionals. Below is a brief list of the proposed curricular components of the NMI.
New Media Courses
Courses taught through the NMI will include technical training in the creation of new media content. But the NMI will also offer classes that examine the cultural, social, historical, political, and economic implications of new media systems.
The New Media Interdisciplinary Certificate
This 14-hour certificate program will allow students working in a variety of different fields across campus to augment their degree by developing expertise in new media.
The Masters of Internet Technology Degree
The NMI will partner with Computer Science and Management Information Systems to offer an intensive one-year technical degree designed to train workers for e-commerce careers.
The Humanities Computing Masters Degree
This graduate degree will focus on the use of new media technology in the areas of the arts and literature.
In addition to the formal curriculum, the NMI will offer access to valuable learning experiences.
A prerequisite for completion of the New Media Interdisciplinary Certificate will be a capstone project. These team projects will involve working for a real client on a new media system. Through the NMI’s New Media Service Bureau, students will be assigned new media projects for the UGA campus. Through this service learning project, students will not only come to understand technology, they will develop an in depth understanding of the people who need and will use new media systems.
New media businesses have much to teach our students - and much to learn from them as well. Businesses will be involved in the programs of the NMI through internships, lectures, and research projects. This close relationship between business and the Institute is reflected in the plans for a physical home for the NMI, which include space to be occupied by start-up new media companies. This close interaction between new media students and practitioners will allow us to prepare workers who understand how new media works in a commercial context.
Provide the resources to help new media grow in Georgia.
The NMI plans to help the state of Georgia grow into a hub for industry involved in the creation of new media content. New media content companies are desirable for several reasons: they work well in urban settings reducing sprawl, they are environmentally friendly, they support the arts community, and they have tremendous growth potential. The NMI plans to build a concentration of the two elements new media content companies need to grow their business: talent and ideas.
In its report on the future of electronic commerce, Georgia’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP) noted that the 20,000 people currently employed in information technology will grow to 90,000 in the next six years. Georgia’s universities and colleges must produce more "technologable" workers. Dave Clauson, the Executive Vice President for Worldwide Marketing at Atlanta’s iXL, states that the new media industry is "people challenged" - the biggest limitation on new media’s growth is the ability to find talented and knowledgeable workers. Through its programs, the NMI will provide the workers new media companies need. This trained workforce will become a major incentive for companies to move to Georgia.
The primary driving force in new media is not technology; it is creative ideas for the use of technology. Most new media companies start with a powerful idea. But many lack the ability to continue to generate groundbreaking ideas. The result is that over 90% of new media start-ups fail. The University of Georgia’s faculty is experienced in two of the primary means of generating ideas: research and experimentation. The proximity of a dedicated group of researchers focussed on the potential of new media will provide a further reason for a company should to locate in Georgia.
The New Media Institute will establish two mechanisms to guarantee that the education of talent and the generation of ideas are both relevant and supported.
The New Media Consortium
The New Media Consortium provides the mechanism for industry to participate in the programs of the Institute. Consortium members provide funding for Institute programs and receive in return access to expertise and talent. New Media Consortium companies will pay a one-time membership fees and make annual contributions to participate in Institute programs. They will provide insight on the research and educational programs most relevant to the new media industry. Through their participation in New Media Institute programs, Consortium members will improve the quality of their workforce, meet the next generation of new media leaders, and gain access to the ideas which will drive new media in the future.
The New Media Institute Board of Advisors
The Board of Advisors will be the NMI’s outside panel of experts. Advisors will come from industry, government, nonprofit organizations, and other educational institutions. The Board of Advisors will recommend policy, events, teaching directions, and research agenda to the New Media Institute.
Through the New Media Consortium and the New Media Institute Board of Advisors, the NMI will constantly reorient itself to the issues and challenges facing organizations using new media.
Improve UGA through new media systems.
The University of Georgia is a $3 million a day operation. As with any other institution or business of its size, UGA can benefit through effective application of new media technologies. But UGA is having difficulty adapting to the challenges of new media. Distance learning requires time-consuming planning and execution by skilled personnel. Electronic document processing can save our campus thousands of dollars a day, but it requires advanced knowledge of specialized technology. No academic unit can be taken seriously by a potential student or prospective faculty member if it does not have a well-designed and functional web site - but where are we going to find the people to build these sites? Like any organization, UGA has difficulty attracting and retaining trained new media professionals. However, UGA’s position is exacerbated by budget constraints - a public university will never be able to offer salaries competitive with businesses. As a result, our new media efforts are hampered.
The New Media Institute will offer a program to develop effective and professional new media systems for UGA while at the same time providing realistic learning situations for new media students. The New Media Service Bureau will be a division of the New Media Institute which will connect students completing certificates and degrees in new media with organizations on campus who need new media systems. The New Media Service Bureau will issue a campus-wide request for projects in the Fall semester of each year. The New Media Institute will evaluate each proposed project on criteria such as potential for advancing the knowledge of students involved, the need for the system, and the support available for the project. The New Media Service Bureau will then assign new media students to the projects. These projects will become the capstone projects for new media students. Through the capstone courses in the New Media Interdisciplinary Certificate and the Masters of Internet Technology degree, students will learn project management, team building, client relationships, and presentation skills. At the end of Spring semester, student teams will present their completed project to their campus clients. The New Media Service Bureau will provide a cost-effective way to expand and improve our essential new media systems while at the same time providing valuable and realistic experience for students. The New Media Service Bureau will be an important step toward meeting the challenges of new media at UGA.
Establish UGA, Athens, and Georgia as home for innovative new media content creation.
Developing a strong program in new media teaching is not enough. We must also find a way to let people outside the University know about our programs. The NMI will undertake programming which will publicize the activities of the New Media Institute and will gain exposure for the new media work of UGA students, faculty, and staff.
The NMI will host three events focussing on the creative, critical, and commercial implications of new media.
d.festival - The Digital Arts Festival will explore the creative potential of new media technology systems. This festival will showcase creative faculty and student new media work such as computer graphics, 3-D animation, theater, interactive installations, virtual reality exhibition pieces, new dance works, and musical performances.
The New Media Symposium will offer a forum for scholars to debate the impact and implications of new media technology. In keynote addresses and panel discussions, faculty, students, and visiting scholars will critically explore the social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of emerging new media systems and technologies.
The New Media Industry Day will facilitate interaction between the University community and new media commercial organizations. A day of presentations by academic and industry leaders will examine the trends impacting the new media economy. This event will also feature the presentation of the capstone projects created by students in the New Media Certificate program and a new media career fair.
The increased visibility afforded by these events will make UGA, Athens, and Georgia attractive to individuals and companies interested in working in new media. These events will improve new media study at UGA by making it easier to recruit high quality students and faculty. And the events will have positive economic impacts for Athens and Georgia because they will convince companies of the value of locating in a city and state alive with exciting new media activity.
Provide educational resources for UGA and Athens.
As computer technology proliferates, it is important that all members of society develop an understanding and working knowledge of new media and its tools. In addition to the specialized education it will provide to future new media practitioners, the NMI will also develop programs to help people in other fields learn to use new media effectively. Initially, the NMI will offer outreach to individuals without a specialization through the following programs.
Computer Literacy Courses
In 1999, the University began offering a one-hour Computer Literacy course designed to help incoming students learn about the computer resources available to them on campus. These courses provide learning experiences that can enhance a student’s performance in his or her chosen field. Currently this course is offered as a "university orientation (UNIV)" class without university credit toward graduation. This course will be moved to the New Media Institute where the focus will shift to the application of technology. In addition, the NMI will work to develop this course so that it can be used as credit toward graduation.
Athens Business Workshops
New media technology provides the potential to make businesses more effective, efficient, and successful. The NMI will offer workshops for local businesses focussing on appropriately implementing new media technology and business practices. These workshops will offer flexible learning opportunities designed around the special needs of business people.
Introduction to New Media
The New Media Institute will offer all students the opportunity to learn about new media through its large lecture class, Introduction to New Media. This class will provide an overview of new media technologies of yesterday (Old New Media), today (Now New Media), and tomorrow (Next New Media). The class will provide an introduction to new media technology and will help students develop an understanding the economic and cultural impacts of new media. This course will be designed to allow it to be used as elective credit for a variety of majors.
Honors New Media
The New Media Institute will also develop a course for the honors program specializing in the business applications of new media. This course will focus on how business are using and should use computer and new media technology.
These courses and workshops will help ensure that a variety of constituencies benefit from the expertise and efforts of the NMI.
Achieving these objectives will allow the New Media Institute to accomplish its goal of making our students, our university, our city, and our state national leaders in developing and understanding new media content.
The School of Public and International Affairs
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