Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA — Georgia State University has awarded eight new proposed research clusters with new faculty hires in a second round of hiring under the university’s ambitious Second Century Initiative. The initiative is aimed at bringing GSU to a higher level of research and academic excellence in the 21st century.
The Second Century Initiative (2CI) is a faculty hiring initiative to recruit 100 additional faculty members to the university over the next five years, with the intention to build internationally recognized scholarly research strength in themes with national significance to enhance GSU’s quality, interdisciplinary richness and competitiveness.
“The Second Century Initiative is a key part of the new GSU strategic plan. The plan seeks to enhance research and scholarly activity at Georgia State through targeted investments in areas of current or potential strength,” said GSU Provost Risa Palm. “The Second Century initiative is aimed to do just that: to identify areas where interdisciplinary collaboration can accelerate research and scholarly productivity and to add new faculty to those areas. Success in this initiative is key to achieving greater stature as a research university.
“Faculty throughout the university have worked very hard to come up with bold and innovative proposals to strengthen the university,” Palm added. “The competition for awards was keen, and the eight proposals selected will result in greater levels of achievement and recognition for the research and scholarly work that is the basis of our reputation as a research university.”
The eight new research clusters for which new faculty will be hired under 2CI include:
• Atlanta Census Research Data Center: The Department of Economics, the Institute of Public Health and the Department of Sociology have proposed a three-position cluster hire to include experts in health policy, health disparities and risky behaviors in conjunction with the 2011 arrival of the Atlanta Census Research Data Center. The ACRDC is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau and a consortium of area institutions led by Georgia State. This program will be lead by Barry Hirsch, professor, and James Marton, associate professor, both in the Department of Economics.
• Eliminating Health Disparities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities from Diverse Backgrounds: Three new faculty members will be hired in communication disorders, psychology and public health to address health disparities among individuals with developmental disabilities. This program will be led by Daniel Crimmins, professor of public health.
• Exploring and Testing Strategies for Obesity Reversal (EATSFOR): This proposal will lead to a new center, EATSFOR, aimed at addressing the obesity epidemic in America, with three new faculty hires in nutrition, biology, and biology or GSU’s Neuroscience Institute. This program will be led by Tim Bartness, Regents’ Professor of biology.
• Health Information Technology: Faculty hires in this area will address the effective use of information technology in health care, which could transform the field, from areas like electronic health records to computerized provider order entry systems. The program is a ollaboration between the Computer Information Systems Department and the Institute of Health Administration in the Robinson College of Business, and the Georgia Health Policy Center in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. This initiative will be led by Ephraim McLean, Regents’ Professor of computer information systems.
• Neurogenomics: Three new faculty hires in this area will conduct research in an area of neuroscience research that seeks to understand how genes regulate neural circuits and interact with the environment – leading to better insights into disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and schizophrenia. The new faculty members will both increase understanding in the nervous system’s role in social behaviors at the genetic and molecular levels, and will also identify new routes to create therapies for disorders like mental illness. The new hires will be in the Neuroscience Institute, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Biology. This area will be led by Walt Wilczynski, professor and director of the Neuroscience Institute.
• Primate Social Cognition, Evolution and Behavior: Three new faculty members will complement current scientists at GSU’s Language Research Center (LRC), where studies of primate behavior have increased knowledge of the origins of language and other behaviors. This area will be led by David Washburn, professor and director of the LRC.
• Stellar Astrophysics and Astroinformatics: GSU’s astronomy and computer science programs are joining forces to learn more about stars in their environments using tools such as Georgia State’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy Array, where new faculty will create high-resolution images of stars, mine large-scale databases, and develop models of stars and their distribution in space. The leader of this area is Hal McAlister, Regents’ Professor of astronomy.
• Trans-cultural Conflict and Violence: In this cluster, led by the departments of Communication, Computer Science, Religious Studies, and English, in cooperation with the Middle East Institute, three new faculty will examine trans-cultural conflict and violence. The initiative will hire faculty with expertise in signal and imaging processing, Middle Eastern visual culture, and contemporary violence and religion. This area is led by Carol Winkler, professor of communication.
The university announced the program in 2009; in 2010, it awarded eight different proposals under the first round, including diagnostics, neuroimaging, evidence-based policy, law, media and ethics, new media, Chinese language and culture, bioinformatics and health justice.
“The faculty we are in the process of recruiting as a result of the first set of awards will, in many cases, transform the activity within departments and result in new levels of cross-departmental and cross-college collaboration,” Palm said. “This second group of awards will further enhance these efforts.”
For more about the Second Century Initiative, visit http://www.gsu.edu/secondcentury/.
Published March 16, 2011