Switching her focus from graduate students to research faculty, Dr. Sue Bloomfield knows she has a challenging road ahead in her new role as associate dean for research. She hopes the key to success is finding a balance.
“I’m coming in fresh to the situation. I might have my ideas but I want to be careful to listen to others and get their opinions. There’s going to be a lot of talking and listening this first month. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There are a lot of questions people want answered yesterday.”
One of the ways she plans to accomplish that is by hosting open town hall discussions with principal investigators in each department. Her goal is to find out what their top priorities are so she can take them into consideration when making strategic decisions.
“What I look forward to most is interacting with a lot of bright, energetic and interesting people. In any job, a lot of your satisfaction comes from who you’re interacting with. I think it will be very stimulating. I hope to be effective in translating good ideas and best practices from multiple resources into what we can accomplish within our own college.”
One of Dr. Bloomfield’s top priorities is supporting proposal development, particularly for junior faculty preparing to write their first major grant proposal. For her, investing in junior faculty is an investment in our college’s future and the future of our disciplines.
“The overarching goal is to support the work of research faculty in the best way possible. Research is our job description as a land grant institution. That’s one of our key missions. The research success of our faculty also impacts our educational mission because successful researchers can better support more graduate students to provide them the best training in their area. It also benefits undergraduate education because those students that get exposed to research activities are often those students most competitive for the best jobs or placement in graduate schools or professional school after they graduate.”
Dr. Bloomfield joined the faculty of Texas A&M in 1993 as a kinesiology professor. Since 2012, she has served as Assistant Provost in Texas A&M’s Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Dr. Bloomfield has been a funded researcher for 19 years and is currently involved in four projects funded by NASA. While she knows she may have to scale back on some commitments like manuscript or grant reviewing, she plans to maintain an active research program.
“I strongly believe being an active researcher is important to my role as associate dean for research because I still have skin in the game. Policies I might promulgate are going to have an impact on my research program as well as everyone else’s. Research is what draws many of us to academia, the chance to be involved in the on-going intellectual development of your own discipline.”