Final candidate for associate provost vists WKU

Natalie Hayden

Bruce Landman’s main position on academic research and graduate studies is collaboration.

Landman is one of three finalists in the search for WKU’s new associate provost for Graduate and Advanced Studies/associate vice president for Research. He currently works as the interim dean of Mathematics and Science at the University of West Georgia.

At a forum hosted for the position on Wednesday, Landman discussed how he thinks research and graduate studies should integrate.

“First of all I believe that all graduate education, strong undergraduate research and excellent faculty research are all mutually beneficial,” he said. “Each one, I think, supports the other two.”

Landman said he has three main goals of research. The first is integrating research and teaching in order to “embed research into the curriculum itself,” he said.

“I envision a campus where research is part of an entire culture,” Landman said. “I mean at every level, from the most senior faculty all the way down to the freshmen.”

The second goal is to provide graduates who can contribute to the state and local community with their research, and the third is using research as a tool to bring in external funding.

Landman would also like to involve the faculty more. He said he would give more support to existing faculty, while also recruiting new members.

“I would advocate for, in terms of recruitment of faculty, looking for very strong faculty that had the following two attributes simultaneously,” he said. “The first is they’re very interested in their research program, and at the same time they seem genuinely excited about the notion of mentoring students.”

In terms of students, Landman said he’d recruit the best undergraduate students from WKU to stay for graduate school, but at the same time would rigorously search nationwide.

After Landman explained his goals, the forum turned to a question and answer session.

San Diego graduate student Margaret Stringer asked what types of new programs or interdisciplinary programs Landman envisioned for WKU.

He said that for WKU to be competitive with schools like University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, it must pay attention to what they do and not overlap to be unique.

“We need to find unique niches based on what strengths we have now,” he said. “For example [Middle Tennessee State University] recently had three Ph.D.s approved that are strong sounding and not even housed in a particular department, but in the dean’s office.”

Merrall Llewelyn Price, associate dean, asked how Landman planned on encouraging interdisciplinary studies.

There are two ways — through fostering cooperation between different subjects within the same college, and also by paralleling that at a broader level between colleges, Landman said.

He also plans on being a strong advocate for the graduate students.