President Elson S. Floyd

Perspectives

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 10/30/07

A Reputation for Research

The academic reputations of individual colleges and universities do not change much over time. The popular perceptions of the top research institutions 10 or 20 years ago are not all that different than the perceptions today.  However, in truth, colleges and universities do change. Over the years, some make progress; some do not.

When I came to Washington State University, I was most impressed by the quality and breadth of the academic and scientific research that is taking place here. We have a solid national reputation. Still, the reality of what I have found here -- which reflects the steady leadership provided by my predecessors -- makes me think that, in some respects, WSU is still undiscovered.

That’s why I was pleased to have the opportunity recently to address about 100 members of the National Association of Science Writers, who took time out from their annual convention, held this year in Spokane, to come to Pullman and hear presentations by some of our outstanding faculty members.

NASW members visiting Pullman included staff members and freelancers representing the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Reuters, MSNBC and scores of other institutions and publications.  They had the chance to hear from, and talk with, some of our top researchers in the colleges of Sciences; Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences; Veterinary Medicine and Engineering and Architecture.  

As I told the writers, we are proud both of the accomplishments of our individual researchers and of the steady growth of our research enterprise university-wide. WSU is ranked among the elite group Research Universities-Very High Research Activity, with total research awards and appropriations in excess of $200 million per year.

I greatly appreciated the time that our faculty members took to meet with the science writers and to answer their questions, because I believe that building our reputation is important.  Our reputation plays a vital role in attracting more of the best students and faculty members to our university and in positioning ourselves to continue our research growth.

As a public institution, we have another imperative at work as well. We need to share the results of our research with the taxpayers who help pay our salaries and build our facilities, and with legislators who allocate those funds.

I am confident that that investment is paying off, and I am happy to talk with anyone who can help us spread the word.

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