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Interdisciplinary Fund

October 11, 2007

To: University Community
Re: Interdisciplinary Fund

I am today publicly announcing the creation of a new Interdisciplinary Fund to support faculty research involving two or more disciplines that will become effective July 1, 2008. The Fund will be administered by Provost Ralph Kuncl and will solely be funded by contributions from the Presidential Venture Fund and other resources outside of any academic division's budget. Beginning July 1 of next year, I will provide $250,000 per year to this Fund during each year that I am president.

I have asked Ralph no later than January 15, 2008, to develop an operational plan for this Fund. This plan will address such questions as:

  • Which proposals will be eligible for support from this Fund? For example, will all proposals will be required to involve two or more academic divisions or solely two or more units within an academic division.
  • How will proposals be selected?
  • Can grants be multiyear?
  • Should there be size limits on grants?
  • Who should select the recipients of such grants?

No later than March 1, 2008, I would like an application process to be in effect so that the initial grants can be awarded for the 2008-2009 academic year.

I view this Fund as an important step toward inspiring the great imagination and creativity of our faculty to perform novel and important forms of research. I look forward to working with Ralph as he develops the Plan.

Let me express my personal gratitude to Provost Emeritus Chuck Phelps and others who last academic year worked on an internal report concerning this interdisciplinary initiative which laid the groundwork for this announcement. Let me also express my gratitude to our Board of Trustees who heard an oral report about this proposal at a recent Board meeting and clearly were enthusiastic about this initiative.