I just completed my first full year as Dean of the College of Health & Human Services (CHHS). This year has been a great year with so many rewarding experiences. We have a good college with exciting endeavors ongoing for our students. These successful events would not be possible without the dedication of our staff and faculty. Many accomplishments have led to important, new discoveries and the dissemination of new knowledge in the form of applied research. Over this past year, research within CHHS has received a revitalization of its goals and purpose. Dr. Vijay Golla, from the department of Public Health, has been appointed as the Associate Dean for Research for CHHS, beginning in August 2015.
In the fall of 2015, a new CHHS Research Committee was formed and the first CHHS research forum was conducted in November 2015. Faculty and Professional staff were made aware of various research incentives in CHHS, and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the distribution of indirects, faculty incentive program (FIP), and spending grant monies. These SOPs were developed and voted in by the CHHS Research Committee. CHHS also conducted two writing days in the fall of 2015 and three in spring 2016 to encourage faculty to set aside a dedicated time slot for writing and manuscript completion without interruption. These writing days were held at the Medical Center Health Sciences Complex.
CHHS is committed to increasing its research profile within the university and the region. As part of this effort, a new series of workshops on “research methods” has been developed. The first workshop was held on March 30, 2016 with a focus on “developing research questions”. The purpose of these workshops is to encourage and enable faculty to refresh their research skills and focus on accurate methodology and measurements as part of their research design. CHHS Faculty and Student Research will be showcased in the first three weeks of April 2016 through poster and podium presentations of current research endeavors.
A new research initiative by the university resulted in the creation of the Quick Turn Around Grant (QTAG) program which made available small amounts of research funding (up to $3000) for faculty to utilize for completion of a study, small pilot funding, critical travel needs for research, etc. CHHS has funded five QTAG applications so far and is currently reviewing additional applications. With regards to extramural funding, CHHS has submitted 30 grant/ contract applications to a tune of $1,389,469.00 so far this academic year. CHHS faculty were also very active pursuing internal grant funding opportunities. Five faculty were awarded Faculty Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE) grants in fall 2015. In the spring of 2016, CHHS faculty submitted 12 applications to the WKU’s Research and Creative Activities Program (RCAP) to obtain seed monies for research initiatives as a stepping stone for building their research and advancing the disciplines of Health and Human Services into the future.
CHHS strives to achieve a balance in faculty work load—between teaching, research, and service. The college is determined to provide an excellent opportunity for faculty to improve their research skills and collaborations as we move forward. More information on CHHS Research can be found at http://wku.edu/chhsresearch/index.php