TAMEST Board of Directors Meet with North Texas University Leadership

Image: TAMEST Board of Directors and North Texas University Leadership

Last month, the TAMEST Board of Directors met with leaders from four academic institutions on scientific research, multi-institutional support and the recruitment of more National Academy members to Texas.

The meeting, hosted at UT Southwestern Medical Center, took place during the board’s annual September meeting and aimed to ensure TAMEST stays true to its mission to connect the state’s brightest minds to foster collaboration and advance research, innovation and business in Texas.

“We’re honored that leaders from four of our 18 member institutions could join us to share what’s happening on their campuses and discuss opportunities for further partnership,” said TAMEST Executive Director Terrence Henry. “It was encouraging to hear a consensus on the need for more collaboration across our state.”

Presidents and leaders from The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Southern Methodist University were in attendance.

“Collaboration with academic institutions across Dallas-Fort Worth is very important to us,” said Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, executive vice president for academic affairs, provost and dean of UT Southwestern Medical School. “We’re excited to be working with UT Dallas and SMU to establish new science and research programs that leverage each institution’s unique strengths.”

The group agreed that partnerships help mitigate competition for recruitment. UT Southwestern Medical School has partnered with the Department of Bioengineering at UT Dallas to offer an innovative joint graduate program providing students with opportunities to collaborate on research and become involved in tech company startups. The Department of Statistical Science at SMU has joined the Department of Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern to offer a Ph.D. program in Biostatistics.

In addition to this collaboration, SMU program offerings have increased focus on technology and high-performance computing. This shift allows the university to continue climbing towards a Carnegie Classification of a Tier One research institution. The leaders noted that the continuing growth of Tier One research intuitions in Texas is also helping the state recruit more talented faculty.

“Over the past three years, we have actively, and successfully, recruited about 150 of best and brightest from the top institutions across the nation to join our faculty,” said UT Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari. “In fact, just this year we celebrated the addition of three faculty members with National Academy distinctions, including one of our own.”

Dereje Agonafer, Ph.D., one of the most recently elected National Academy members, came to UT Arlington in 1999 where he is currently the site director for the Industry University Collaborative Research Consortium. Dr. Agonafer’s election into the National Academy of Engineering in February allowed UTA to meet a critical benchmark for becoming a top research university.

Texas is currently home to nine Tier One research universities: Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas at El Paso, University of Houston and University of North Texas.

Attendees included The University of Texas at Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari; The University of Texas at Dallas President Richard C. Benson; UT Southwestern Medical Center Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost and Dean W.P. Andrew Lee; and Southern Methodist University Associate Vice President for Research James E. Quick.