Baylis discusses new research priorities at WKU

Tessa Duvall

The top research priorities for WKU are removing obstacles that prevent research, improving the infrastructure and offering incentives for research, Gordon Baylis said yesterday.

Baylis, vice president for Research and president of the WKU Research Foundation, met with faculty and staff this week to discuss the direction of research at the university.

Baylis first gave a brief presentation about what he would like to accomplish, including the re-energizing of the WKU Research Foundation, the creation of research track faculty and ways to increase grant money coming into the university.

After the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions.

Craig Cobane, executive director for the Honors College, asked Baylis on Thursday what will be done to promote more undergraduate research.

“The best research students I ever had were undergraduates,” Baylis said.

Undergraduate students, including Honors students, should have opportunities to propose their own research projects as well as business proposals, he said.

Baylis said he would encourage undergraduate students to present at conferences, because it could be a good opportunity for them.

Keith Andrew, head of the physics and astronomy department, wanted to know if the addition of more doctoral programs would require the university’s enrollment to increase.

Earlier in the presentation, Baylis said he would like to see eight professional doctoral programs and four to five Ph.D. programs at WKU in eight to 10 years.

WKU must grow its research portfolio to about four times what it is now within that time frame, he said.

During the Wednesday session, an attendee asked if there would be new tenure requirements for professors if WKU becomes a research-intensive university.

Baylis said that was likely, but the new requirements would come from the faculty.

“I think a lot of faculty would like to up the ante in their departments,” he said.

At the end, Baylis encouraged faculty to submit their ideas for grant proposals to his office.

“The important thing to remember is you can’t get things if you don’t ask for them,” he said.

Baylis, along with Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, listened to student concerns last week in Mass Media and Technology Hall.

Emslie and Baylis will host a second student discussion on Oct. 27 at 11:30 a.m. in the same location.