Baylis talks research with faculty and staff

Tessa Duvall

Gordon Baylis, vice president for research and president of the WKU Research Foundation, met with about 40 members of faculty and staff to discuss the future of research at the university on Wednesday afternoon.

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.

“We’re not planning to sweep away anything that’s good,” he said.

The faculty and staff who attended then had the opportunity to ask questions.

One attendee asked how WKU’s colleges will develop their infrastructures.

Every college should have an associate dean of research, Baylis said. Currently, there are people who are being trained to fit this role. When they are ready, the associate deans will determine the needs of the college, because they better understand the college than Baylis.

Another attendee said that faculty need access to the latest online journals and asked if Baylis could coordinate with WKU Libraries to to make that happen.

Baylis said he and Provost Gordon Emslie are very interested in making the right online journals available to WKU faculty. He said officials need to evaluate if the library is buying the right journals that the departments need.

The library budget has been cut so much that all departments are now eliminating crucial journals, one attendee said.

Another attendee asked what can be done to promote “a culture of innovation” at WKU.

“We need more time to think and more time to talk,” Baylis said. “We need more interchange between us all.”

There can’t be a culture at WKU where people are told what they can and cannot do, he said. Everyone should be respectful of one another.

Another attendee asked if there would be new tenure requirements 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.

Another attendee asked how students could get involved in research.

Baylis said that matter was still under discussion. He wants WKU to have a way for students to get grant funding and funding for business ventures.

“I haven’t put that on the front burner yet, but I’m aware of it,” he said.

Baylis will host an identical forum on Thursday afternoon. Check Friday’s Herald for full coverage.