Research universities focus of ‘Critical Conversation’

research happening.

By SUE WUETCHER republished from UBNow.

Published November 7, 2017

AAU President Mary Sue Coleman, named by Time magazine in 2009 as one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents,” will visit UB Nov. 15-16 as the featured speaker at this year’s “Critical Conversations,” the presidential series showcasing distinguished individuals at the forefront of their fields who are helping to shape understanding of vital issues facing the world today.

Coleman will deliver the keynote address on “Why Research Universities Matter” at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus. A moderated Q&A will follow Coleman’s talk.

After the talk, a reception will take place outside 250 Baird.

While at UB, Coleman also will spend time meeting with students and faculty.

She will take part in two small group discussions. The first, on leadership, will take place from 1-2 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, 220 Student Union, North Campus.

The second meeting, on research, will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Nov. 16 in 732 Clemens Hall, North Campus.

Coleman will conclude her visit to UB by joining a panel of UB faculty and students to discuss “Higher Education in the 21st Century” at 1 p.m. in the Buffalo Room, 10 Capen Hall, North Campus.

Faculty panelists include Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development, and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; Cristanne Miller, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Edward H. Butler Professor of English and interim chair of the English department; and Krishna Rajan, Erich Bloch Endowed Chair in the Department of Materials Design and Innovation.

Also joining the panel will be Elizabeth Quaye, a pharmacology and toxicology major and participant in UB’s WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) program.

The discussion will be moderated by Suzanne Rosenblith, dean of the Graduate School of Education.

All events are open to faculty, staff and students. Registration is suggested, but not required. Space is limited for the small group discussions. RSVP by Nov. 10.

Coleman has served as president of the Association of American Universities, which comprises 62 of the most distinguished research universities across the country — including UB — since 2016. She previously was president of the University of Michigan (2002-14) and the University of Iowa (1995-2002), as well as vice chancellor for research and graduate education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provost at the University of New Mexico and a biochemistry professor at the University of Kentucky, where she did research on the immune system and malignancies.

A member of the National Academy of Medicine and recipient of the American Council on Education’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, Coleman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

She holds a PhD in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College.

Coleman is the latest in a list of distinguished speakers in the Critical Conversations series. Other speakers were internationally acclaimed political scientist Theda Skocpol; Ed Lazowska, one of the world’s foremost scholars in the area of high-performance computing and communication systems; David Relman, a leader in research on the human microbiome; and John Borrazzo, a leader in maternal and child health.