Planning for the Research Mission of Public Universities in the Twenty-first Century

The Barn, Valley Falls, KS

June 11-13, 1997

In 1997, the Merrill Center at the University of Kansas inaugurated a retreat series: The Research Mission of Public Universities. This has become an important vehicle for Midwestern administrators who want to develop policies to propel their research labs to new levels and enhance their institutional rankings. Prominent faculty share their experiences in graduate education, product marketing, and grantsmanship, including tips for productivity and successful collaboration. These lively dialogues are captured in the publication of a white paper each year.

The retreat draws its participants from public institutions in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. The first year, the University of Oklahoma also participated. Two of the four institutions attending in 1997 have formed a strong partnership with KU throughout the years: the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the University of Missouri - Columbia. Participants enjoy comfortable lodging and relaxed time to talk at The Barn Bed and Breakfast in the countryside near Valley Falls, Kansas.

These are a few of the themes from 1997 that set the tone for this retreat series:

  • Our colleagues must engage in flexible, cross-disciplinary research projects despite their investment in traditional academic disciplines.
  • We need externally-generated funding that will support research at public institutions -- both federal and corporate.
  • There are many demands on researchers, and the training of graduate students is an important occupation.
  • We must educate the public about the value of our research and how we secure funding for it.
  • Researchers must develop sophisticated advocacy skills.

Retreat Participants 

University of Kansas 

  • Andrew Debicki, Dean, Graduate School & International Programs  
  • Steve Fowler, Human Development and Family Life 
  • Sally Frost-Mason, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
  • Robert Hemenway, Chancellor  
  • Mary Lee Hummert, Gerontology 
  • Eli Michaelis, Pharmacology and Toxicology  
  • Howard Mossberg, Interim Vice-Chancellor  
  • Mabel Rice, Director, The Merrill Advanced Studies Center, Child Language Doctoral Program 
  • Richard Schiefelbusch, Director Emeritus, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies  
  • Steve Schroeder, Director, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies  
  • Sidney Shapiro, School of Law  
  • David Shulenburger, Provost  
  • Thomas N. Taylor, Biological Sciences 

University of Kansas Medical Center 

  • Al Chapman, Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs 
  • Paul Cheney, Director, Smith Mental Retardation and Human Development Research Center  
  • Deborah Powell, Dean, School of Medicine 

University of Missouri 

  • Jerry Atwood, Chemistry Dept.  
  • Larry Clark, Dean Arts and Science 

University of Nebraska – Lincoln 

  • Brian Foster, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Timothy Gay, Physics 
  • James Moeser, Chancellor  

University of Oklahoma 

  • Kelvin Droegemeier, CAPPS 
  • Nancy Mergler, Senior Vice President and Provost