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 Tuesday, September 11, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Stein Sture leads research and graduate education efforts
By Jon Leslie, Publications and Creative Services

On Aug. 1, 2007, Stein Sture officially took the reins as dean of the Graduate School and vice chancellor for research, returning to the post he held on an interim basis between fall 2005 and summer 2006. With 27 years of combined experience as a CU-Boulder civil engineering professor, department chair and associate dean, Sture comes to the position with a broad understanding of the academic world and the Boulder campus and is already hard at work on a variety of research and graduate education initiatives for the university.

"There are a couple of areas where I think my contributions really are looked for, and one of those is to increase the number of graduate students at the university," said Sture. "It's a stated objective of the university, because we know that graduate students make faculty more productive and also make faculty better. I would also say that post-docs are really in that same plan. Post-docs are really like super PhD students; not only do they help the graduate program, but they also help the productivity of individual faculty and research groups."

In order to attract more graduate students, Sture said that the university must find additional funding for them, both in terms of fellowships generated by gifts and through national funding agencies like NASA, the National Science Foundation, NIH and the Department of Energy. Because most graduate students require some form of funding, recruiting and retaining the most talented students from across the country requires the resources to sustain them as they complete their advanced degrees.

Additionally, Sture has identified the support and expansion of CU-Boulder's research portfolio as increasingly important to the university's success, with initiatives already underway in the areas of biotechnology, sustainable and renewable energy and computational science, among others. Key to these efforts are the university's ability to grow new state and federal funding sources, cultivate relationships with industry partners, develop tight bonds with local and national laboratories like NCAR, NIST and NREL and build stronger collaborations between academic departments and research scientists.

"One of my jobs is to help research and development interests in the academic departments, to find out how we can become more effective, generate more research funding, expand graduate programs in related areas and help faculty in these departments and our research institutes to team together," said Sture.

According to Sture, CU-Boulder must also increase the resources it devotes to faculty recruitment and retention in order to reduce the risk of losing top faculty to other universities. On the brighter side, he said he has seen great progress in some areas of the university's research enterprise, something he considers central to the university's mission to the state and to society as a whole.

"The beauty of the university is that certain aspects of the university remain constant, probably the way universities have been for the past 850 years, but other aspects of the university are becoming new," he said. "Literally, every week and month you see rapid progress and development where society really expects universities to take the lead, be it high-tech industries looking for new developments and insights or in other ways to improve the quality of life. So we are taking that leadership role and working to do the good deeds that society looks for."

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