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San Diego State University

Strategic Plan

May 10, 2013


From: Stephen Welter, Vice President for Research & Dean of Graduate
Affairs; and Nancy Marlin, Provost

Subject:  Area of Excellence


I am very pleased to announce the four areas of excellence selected.
The competition was intense such that many very good proposals were not
selected. The faculty on our campus responded wonderfully to the call
for areas of excellence with 28 full proposals submitted.  Eight
proposals were selected as finalists by the faculty review committee. A
faculty member from each of these eight proposals was asked to make oral
presentations to a combined audience consisting of 3 outside reviewers,
college deans, the 9 member faculty review committee, and the Vice
President of Research. The outside reviewers consisted of a faculty
member from UC Berkeley (Department of Environmental Science, Policy,
and Management), UC Irvine (Department of Economics), and UCSD
(Department of Literature).

Although only four proposals were selected, the quality of other
proposals was stellar and I would like to encourage departments to give
further considerations to these hiring lines as they plan their requests
for new faculty.

Descriptions of the four selected areas of excellence are provided
below. The faculty lines selected in the new areas of excellence
includes 16 new positions within 4 colleges (College of Arts and
Letters, College of Sciences, Health and Human Services, and
Professional Studies and Fine Arts).

1. Climate and Sustainability Studies - This area of excellence provides
an opportunity for SDSU to fill the gap in a few critical
interdisciplinary research fields to complement existing expertise and
to leverage the SDSU capability for solving important and pressing
climate and sustainability issues at both regional and global scales.
The proposed hire of four faculty members will help SDSU to achieve four
main objectives: 1) fill critical expertise gaps in the current SDSU
excellence of research and teaching in the area of climate and
sustainability studies, 2) enable the SDSU faculty to have the capacity
to successfully compete for the interdisciplinary call for
interdisciplinary, block, and center funding from federal and other
agencies, 3) form a unique regional resource in a critical area, and 4)
equip SDSU undergraduate and graduate students to successfully tackle
the urgent and challenging climate and sustainability problems faced by
human societies at both regional and global scales in the 21st century.

2. Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience - This proposal builds upon
SDSU's strengths in human behavioral neuroscience and clinical
neuropsychology, and leverages existing faculty expertise in human
neuroscience methods such as neuroimaging,  the campus expertise in the
application of these methods to clinical populations with brain-based
disorders, as well as in neurotypical populations from childhood to old
age. The overarching goal of our proposed area of excellence is to
address susceptibility to cognitive changes and recovery of function
across the lifespan with focus on brain-behavior relations. New area of
excellence faculty hires would target cognitive and/or clinical
neuroscientists with expertise in neural plasticity, neurocognitive
effects of intervention (evidence-based practice) and recovery, and
human neurogenetics.

3. Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age - The proposal addresses the
opportunities that spring from the convergence of new developments in
spatial science, mobile technology, big data, and social behavior
research. There is the growing recognition of the importance of spatial
and temporal dynamic relationships in explaining processes relevant to
human behaviors, public health, and social activities, which has become
known as the "spatial turn." A maturing of mobile technology and smart
phone devices enables social scientists to collect data on human
activities and behavior digitally and to transform their research from
qualitative analysis to computational modeling, simulation, and
predictions with the focus on dynamic spatial and temporal relationships.

4. Viral Information Institute - The goals of the Viromics Information
Institute, "VII", are to study the interactions between the virosphere
and the biosphere, in order to understand how viruses affect all aspects
of the biosphere and to be able to manipulate such interactions in order
to benefit human health as well as the health of the environment. SDSU's
VII comprises a unique cross-disciplinary collaborative research
collective of investigators across three colleges. The members of the
VII institute will continue their commitment to discovery-based
learning, by providing an environment where undergraduates can
participate in meaningful independent research projects and by
continuing to pursue funding to expand such opportunities.

Contact

Send questions and comments to:strategicplan@mail.sdsu.edu
 
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