Fearless Investigation

When you think of research, you may have a mental picture of a cloistered library, a pile of musty books and the card catalog. But the truth is that even library research is a digital wonderland these days, and research takes place across campus, across disciplines, across student/faculty lines and sometimes even across the country. This issue of PRIDE is dedicated to research, and what we found when we started poking around was a bevy of professors and students breaking out of their silos to perform research that will benefit our campus, community, region, state and the globe.

To sit down and talk with Dr. Adolfo Benavides—the new provost and vice president of academic affairs—is to be inspired by the state of academics at A&M-Commerce. Driven by our university mission statement, Benavides’ job is to promote and reward research as well as scholarly and creative endeavors within this institution as well as fostering engagement between the university and the region.

“Our role is to create knowledge, but also to disseminate it to our students and peers of scholars within our fields. But we must also, according to our mission statement, engage in the cultural, social and economic vitality of the region,” said Benavides. “To enhance the economic vitality of the region, we have to engage in the economic development of the region through partnerships with a multitude of constituents like local school districts, peer organizations, service organizations and businesses.”

It is a big job for certain, but our community of scholars—from junior and senior faculty members, administrators, staff and students—at A&M-Commerce is actively living its mission statement, as the articles within this issue of PRIDE can attest.

Another person of vital importance to research at A&M-Commerce is Dr. Arlene Horne, vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at A&M-Commerce actively aids faculty in finding opportunities to fund their projects and grow them beyond what they may initially believe possible.

“The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has personnel who help our faculty with every facet of applying for an external grant. We help faculty develop proposals, we help them find opportunities and submit proposals, and if they receive funding, we help the faculty manage the project according to the guidelines of the grant,” said Horne.

It’s a big job, and the office provides an impeccable level of service and aid to faculty with a staff of five: a director and individuals working in pre-award, post-award and compliance areas.

Collaboration and outreach is another area in which the Office of Research and Sponsored programs can provide aid. In keeping with Benavides’ passion for regional engagement, as well as the A&M-Commerce mission statement, Horne said, “We have some outstanding, cutting-edge research going on at this campus. If alumni business owners want to partner with our faculty researchers, they can reach out to us or we can reach out to them. Research collaborations are welcomed and encouraged. We also help faculty collaborate between departments and colleges and other universities.”

As this issue demonstrates, the collaborations between faculty and their students, as well as collaborations among different colleges can produce powerful and far-reaching results. Computer science and psychology go hand-in-hand. Education and human services live in harmony with humanities, social sciences, and arts. By combining their knowledge and innovation, seemingly disparate subjects can do great things together.

Read all about the fearless investigation taking place at A&M-Commerce at pride.tamuc.edu!