Around Campus

Dr. Kevin Ball, dean of the School of Health Sciences, and Dr. Judy Didion, dean of the School of Nursing

Dr. David A. Stone, associate vice president for research and professor of Health Sciences

Around Campus

Winter 2017

|  by Emell Derra Adolphus

Setting Sights High

Oakland University’s plans to strengthen its research initiatives

The best way to expand Oakland University’s research enterprise is to support research efforts that are already strong, explains Dr. David A. Stone, Ph.D., associate vice president for research and professor of Health Sciences.

“In the competitive research game, you want to start with your strengths and build on those, then you can focus on areas that have been less successful obtaining external research funding,” says Stone. “Having a richer research ecosystem allows you to attract and retain better faculty, and it allows you to engage undergraduate students in nationally funded research projects, which is beneficial for them when they apply for graduate school.”

A “richer ecosystem” starts with building an infrastructure that helps faculty streamline the research funding process, says Stone.

“You need as robust a research environment you can get and you want that to be externally funded,” he says. “So my job is to grow that ecosystem so that we can retain better faculty, so we can provide a richer learning environment for our undergraduate students. Undergraduate research is a very strong retention mechanism. So if we can engage more undergraduate students in research, we have a better chance at retaining them, and they have a better chance of graduating.”

He adds, “So for all those reasons, we need a more robust ecosystem than what we have.”

School of Nursing

Dr. Judy Didion, the new dean of the School of Nursing, plans to support the School of Nursing’s faculty research by developing partnerships. Many nursing faculty have completed collaborative research with other departments at OU such as Engineering. And Dr. Didion plans to continue to create an environment that further supports interprofessional research and education opportunities for School of Nursing faculty and students.

“We also want to increase and solidify academic practice partnerships by re-engaging our relationships with health care organizations in the community,” says Dr. Didion. “We are working with the health care community and involving faculty in meeting research and program needs. This is opening doors for collaborative research that will provide scholarship opportunities for our students and contribute toward improving patient care in our community."

School of Health Sciences

At School of Health Sciences, strengthening OU’s research enterprise takes shape by reaffirming the schools identity.

“A major initiative for us this year is to create themes, based upon our expertise, that help us to better communicate and define who and what we are,” says Dr. Kevin Ball, new dean of the School of Health Sciences.

Our four themes are: Biomedical Professions - the bio-measurement science of health care; Human Performance - advancing human physical function; Public and Environmental Wellness - pursuing society's big health challenges; and Interdisciplinary Health - exploring how daily life intersects health.

"And in common, we have a tagline, ‘in purpose for health.’ Whether it is community-based research, or student service-learning, ultimately anything we do, is, in purpose for health.”

The School of Health Sciences has plans to “unite everyone in doing their work,” says Ball. A new internal organization called the HELPS initiative (Health Education Leadership Performance in Service) implements both a student leadership model, and a faculty community partnership program to engage everyone in meaningful work.

“We concentrate on knowledge translation, to help turn the wheel, from theory to practice, then back to inform theory again,” he says, which will make for a stronger school, healthier communities, and a better OU.