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Building on Our Strengths

presidentsView

This is the first opportunity that I have had to write for Quad Angles, and the first point I would like to make is a simple one: Thank you for your genuine interest in and support of the University of Rhode Island. It is clear to me that our alumni and other friends are one of the University’s greatest assets. I have very much enjoyed meeting so many of you in the short time that I have been here.

An important goal of Quad Angles is to keep you up-to-date on the people, programs, and work of URI, as well as its opportunities and challenges. In this context, I would like to call your attention to the article on the possibility of creating a research and development park that would be closely affiliated with URI. I think the article provides a thoughtful and fair analysis of the benefits and issues associated with such a venture.

Strengthening and expanding the research agenda of URI is a high priority for the University and the state for multiple reasons. Foremost among them is the compelling need to rebuild and revitalize the economy of the state and the nation. Economic renewal in Rhode Island is a priority for everyone here, and for good reason given the severity of the downturn and the number of jobs that have been lost. The magnitude of the challenge would be daunting but for the advantages that I see in Rhode Island, especially in the talent and dedication of the faculty and students of URI. By building on our strengths we can be successful, and the development of a research park that emphasizes public/private partnerships and technology transfer could be an important component in a winning strategy.

Because URI is Rhode Island’s public research university, I believe that providing expertise, research, education, and leadership relevant to economic renewal in the state is at the heart of our mission. And it is important to note that the entire spectrum of URI’s research and scholarly activities can play a role—basic and applied research in science and engineering, of course, but also research and creative work in business, the social sciences, design, communications, and the humanities and the arts. Externally supported research has a direct and immediate impact as such funding creates jobs, prepares an advanced workforce by supporting graduate education, and expands the research infrastructure.

Finally, I want to emphasize that expanding and strengthening the research and scholarly aspects of URI’s mission provides numerous opportunities to improve undergraduate education. Engaging our talented and enthusiastic undergraduates in research, scholarship, and creative work provides a rich and unique learning experience that fosters critical thinking and analysis, the development of diverse communication skills, leadership and teamwork, and develops learning skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, externally funded research provides equipment, facilities, and opportunities that would otherwise not be available to our students. For all of these reasons, I look forward to working with our faculty, students, and stakeholders—and with all of you—to grow research and scholarship at URI.

—David M. Dooley

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