It is a homecoming of sorts for Stephen Welter, San Diego State University’s new vice president for research and dean of the Graduate Division.
The entomologist began his career as a faculty member of SDSU’s zoology department — now the Department of Biology — before going to University of California Berkeley where he spent more than 25 years, most recently serving as associate dean of instruction and student affairs in the College of Natural Resources.
Now, Welter is back at SDSU to lead the university’s research efforts and build on what he sees as its strengths. His first day was Oct. 31.
Teaching and research model
“San Diego State is a very different kind of school — in a good way — when it comes to research,” Welter said. “Very strong research is being done by faculty here, but there is an equally strong commitment to students and that hybrid model is one that California deserves.”
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said he is thrilled to have Welter join the university’s leadership team.
“Research and creative endeavors are central to San Diego State University's mission and Steve will work collaboratively with all university constituencies to develop the infrastructure supporting our research and creative endeavors,” Hirshman said.
“These collaborative efforts will be central to the university's further development as a national research university.”
SDSU has long had a research model focused on both teaching and research, and for good reason Welter said.
“As agents of evolutionary change, students bring vitality to research programs with new ideas and techniques,” Welter said.
Attractive research strength
With a bachelor’s degree from U.C. Davis and his Ph.D. from U.C. Riverside, Welter said another reason he was attracted back to SDSU was because of its demonstrated research strength and internationally renowned faculty in a multitude of fields.
“Over the past several decades, the faculty here have worked hard to build support for research and have been very successful,” Welter said. “My job will not be to define their vision and priorities, but rather to find ways to give voice to them.”
Welter said his focus is to enhance resources for research including facilitating grants, raising the prominence of research through the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign and catalyzing the faculty’s vision to create more collaboration across disciplines. He also plans to build structural systems that will facilitate those interactions.
An SDSU family
Welter is not the only member of his family on the San Diego State campus: his son is a sophomore studying biology. Welter’s daughter also studies biology at UC San Diego.