Faculty Research: Link to the Future via Links to the Present

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Revised 5/17/13

An interesting memo crossed my desk this week by kindness of Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty and Frontis W. Johnston Professor of Economics Clark G. Ross (who is retiring this year from the deanship but not from Davidson). Clark quotes a memo about a planned faculty research Web page from Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and Research and B. F. Dolan Professor of Biology Verna Case. I’m adding hyperlinks to her draft text below, to offer a sense of scope about what’s percolating at www.davidson.edu.

Infrared image of moi with a cold nose at the Davidson Farmer’s Market, by Professor of Physics Tim Gfroerer, Dec. 15, 2012

Subject: Info for website—The Davidson faculty is dedicated to and engaged in an immersive higher education experience for undergraduates and themselves. Active research and other scholarly pursuits allow faculty to be on the leading edge of their fields and enhances their teaching. Between 2007 and 2011, more than half of the faculty published, exhibited, or performed original work for a range of audiences beyond Davidson. The publications included 56 books, 46 book chapters, 655 scholarly articles in peer reviewed journals, 139 web-based publications and 85 performances or exhibits of their art. Approximately 60% of faculty members publish with undergraduate co-authors.

From 2007-2012, faculty supported their research with $10.3 million in funding from federal, state, and private funding agencies. These agencies include the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the North Carolina Arts Council. The funding allows faculty members to purchase scientific equipment, to travel to distant research sites, museums and archives around the world, and to provide summer research fellowships for Davidson undergraduates. Well-equipped research labs on Davidson’s campus rival many Research 1 institutions. Science faculty and students have access to a confocal microscope, laser technologies, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and technology for analyzing and manipulating DNA and RNA. Faculty and students engaged in field research have used iPads and GIS technologies, and other mobile equipment to track animals and record locations of ancient relics.

Whether tracking pythons in the Everglades, designing apps for sports ranking, analyzing recent insurgencies around the world, studying ancient civilizations in Mexico or Greece, or constructing bacterial computers, Davidson faculty are solving important problems, developing useful tools, and generally contributing to our understanding of the world. Davidson is also a place where the original production of art in many forms enriches and gives meaning to our lives.

Addition, 5/8/13: Citing the publication’s intellectual rigor and international reputation, the prestigious Spanish publishing house Anthropos, based in Barcelona, will assume financial responsibility for the publication of the academic journal Letras Peninsulares, while the journal’s founding editor, Mary Vásquez, will retain full editorial functions, independently.  This initiative by Anthropos ensures that Letras Peninsulares, once published through Davidson College, will have a second life after its initial 22 years of publication. —Mary S. Vásquez, Joel O. Conarroe Professor of Spanish


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