Morris Foster of University of Oklahoma-Norman Gives Presentation for ORED Vice Chancellor Position
BATON ROUGE – On March 15, Morris Foster, associate vice president of research at the University of Oklahoma-Norman and also associate vice president of strategic planning at both the main campus and the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, presented at an open forum as part of the interview process for the position of vice chancellor in the Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED. He is the final candidate to interview for the role.
Foster began his talk by discussing the state of public universities, debating whether the institution is going through a cyclical fluctuation or rather a fundamental change.
“I believe we are getting to a point where public universities are going to have to find a new way of doing things,” he said.
He enumerated a strategic list of items he believes the public university – and particularly, an office such as the Office of Research & Economic Development, should follow to be successful, including:
• Bring in more sponsored funds than state funds;
• Broaden base of externally-funded faculty;
• Conceptualize external funding as part of an academic career path;
• Diversify LSU research funding resources – “Don’t throw all your eggs into one basket”;
• Pursue larger, multi-investigator and center awards and assist faculty in becoming part of multi-institutional projects;
• Establish a wide range of contract vehicles;
• Identify and remove internal barriers to research success;
• Make smarter investments in research;
• Leverage, leverage, leverage – “Each dollar invested in research should be ‘spent’ at least twice, and preferable three or four times, across the university.”
• Continue to invest in areas of strength, but also invest in new, counter-intuitive areas to build them into strengths;
• Emphasize customer service;
• Develop local and regional agglomerative economies, because universities are crucial in the development of regional economies;
“I don’t want to say to you that it’s not all about the money,” he said, “because honestly these days it is all about the money.”
Foster also emphasized the idea that research, scholarly and creative activities have other benefits, whether it’s through adding to the cultural milieu of a city or state, contributing to workforce development, providing the tools to use information critically, or any number of other positives.
LSU officials are in the process of conducting a search for the position of vice chancellor for research and economic development. Candidates participated in a series of interviews with university staff and students and campus-wide open forums followed by question-and-answer sessions led by the candidates. After deliberation, the search committee will send its recommendations to LSU Chancellor Michael Martin and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost John M. Hamilton, who will then select the next vice chancellor.
All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit an anonymous evaluation form at https://survey.eng.lsu.edu/vcsearch.
For more information regarding the search, including position description, search committee members and candidates’ vitae, please visit http://www.lsu.edu/faculty_staff/vcsearch/candidates.shtml.