CCPA Research Committee elevates research at college level
Committee aligns research, teaching, service, community engagement and international reach
Binghamton University counts itself among the 131 elite universities in the nation that have achieved the “very high research” (the highest rank) classification by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Laura Bronstein, the dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA), recognizes the importance of building on that accolade by elevating research at the college level. Under her direction, CCPA’s Research Committee was established.
“The role of the Research Committee is part of a broader, strategic initiative to align research, teaching, service, community engagement and international reach,” she said.
The committee is composed of three faculty members: Assistant Professor of Public Administration Komla Dzigbede, Assistant Professor of Social Work Dalhee Yoon and Assistant Professor of Human Development René Rojas.
Dzigbede is chair of the committee and describes it as the “action arm” of the dean’s office in its mission to support faculty research.
“Research is very important to me as an individual scholar, and I felt an obligation to extend myself to support this mission,” he said. “My colleagues on the committee are also passionate about research and expanding its reach, and not only producing publications but also research that makes contributions to the real lives of people and organizations.”
Bronstein’s key strategic initiatives for the committee include recruiting and retaining top scholars, expanding funding for faculty and doctoral student research, and supporting the development of knowledge that makes a difference in the lives of those most in need.
For example, over the past several years and with support from the SUNY Research Foundation at Binghamton, Bronstein has made funds available to support faculty research through the Research Excellence Award. Past funded projects have included research related to disabilities and youth poverty.
“That is in addition to what is currently available from the University,” said Dzigbede. “I think that’s remarkable. The goal is to fund pilot studies so that they can then secure larger grants.”
Dzigbede said the goal of expanding funding to graduate students is equally important. “We need to fund them as the next generation of researchers and also to help them complete their programs with more ease.”
Dzigbede said it’s critical to place research on a high pedestal within an academic setting because it places the University at the forefront of international and policy discussions; the research being conducted in CCPA is especially important.
“The importance lies in the name of the college: community and public,” he explained. “Those are important terminologies that are at the epicenter of our very lives. All the research that is produced here helps to make better communities. If we take an expansive view of community it goes beyond Broome County. It extends to the state, it extends to the nation and the global community.”
Dzigbede looks forward to the committee taking on a more prominent role in the coming months and years.