President's Report Masthead
December 31, 2012

Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence

Binghamton University’s NYSUNY 2020 plan supports faculty hiring in the area of smart energy. Prior to approval of that plan, the University had made a commitment to hire faculty in another area of strength, healthcare. As the University grows over the next four years, where else should hires be made? Recommendations on additional areas in which the University should invest is the work of a committee of faculty leaders charged by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Nieman to help identify what makes sense for Binghamton.

“This is a major initiative for the campus as we look to support areas of excellence that draw on expertise from several disciplines to address significant social, intellectual and public policy issues and increase our research strength and international visibility in the social sciences and humanities,” Nieman said.

Professor of History Howard Brown, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC), is chairing the committee, which is comprised of five faculty selected by the FSEC and five by Nieman. They are: Bat Ami Bar-On, professor of philosophy; Laura Bronstein, professor of social work; Dave Clark, associate professor of political science; Shelley Dionne, professor of management; Mohammad Kashawneh, associate professor of systems science and industrial engineering; Joe Keith, associate professor of English; Adam Laats, assistant professor of education; Florence Margai, professor of geography; Tom McDonough, associate professor of art history; and Randy McGuire, distinguished professor of anthropology.

Nieman asked the committee to consider the following:

  • Areas selected should be sufficiently broad to encompass issues of critical importance to scholarship, public policy and/or the community, and raise Binghamton’s stature as a research university.
  • Areas should reflect existing programmatic and faculty strengths so that we can leverage existing resources to assure that we can gain international recognition.
  • Areas should lend themselves to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to allow us to leverage the strength of multiple schools and departments, tackle truly significant issues and remain at the forefront of scholarly trends.

The committee has released its preliminary report, which identifies “Sustainable Communities,” “citizenship, Rights, and cultural Belonging,” and “Material and Visual Worlds” as important areas that the campus is well equipped to address. The report is currently being reviewed by faculty across campus. Comments on the preliminary report are due to Howard Brown by Jan. 15. The committee will meet after that date to prepare its final recommendations.