Tuesday, April 3, 2012
State of Academic Affairs address outlines university success
Oakland University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Virinder Moudgil delivered his State of Academic Affairs address before a large audience of students, faculty and staff Tuesday at Meadow Brook Theatre.
“Oakland University has made remarkable strides in the past few years, but it is important for us to continue moving along the path we are on,” Dr. Moudgil said. “We must continue to be a university in motion and be prepared to take a leap that will place us among the more prestigious institutions across the country.”
The address reviewed many of OU’s academic accomplishments over the past year, touching on academic programs, inspired faculty, research initiatives, technology advancements, and visionary gifts and programs.
Dr. Moudgil identified two key priorities as the university moves into the future. The first priority is to create productive and unique experiences for students and faculty, and the second is to engage Oakland with community resources to benefit the public good.
“Civic engagement is crucial to Oakland, not only in terms of building good relationships with community organizations and corporations, who can support our programs and research initiatives, but also to anchor the community and use our resources to make our cities better.”
Among the state universities, Oakland has excelled in developing its base of academic programs with timely subjects. The university has also worked to increase faculty members and helped to combat the brain drain of academics leaving the state, according to Dr. Moudgil.
“In these difficult economic times, I see many Michigan universities that have reduced their programs and academic offerings,” he continued. “But here at Oakland University, we are adding to our academic programs and expanding our faculty, which makes us stronger.”
Among the growing academic programs Dr. Moudgil cited were the newly approved Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design, Master of Science and doctoral degree in psychology, and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Other new concentrations are in growing fields such as court administration and nutrition and health.
Many individual faculty members were recognized for their scholarship, innovative research, and ability to earn external grant funding. Dr. Moudgil noted that the university has steadily continued to add new faculty members, keeping pace with growing student enrollment and working to keep class sizes small.
In the last three years, Oakland has worked to support faculty members by adding an additional $9 million in funding to faculty research programs, academic support units, laboratory improvements, and student research opportunities.
“At Oakland, we offer many formal and informal undergraduate research opportunities,” Dr. Moudgil said. “It is amazing to see how professional our undergraduate students are. Their dedication to research and the skill set they bring are at the graduate level and beyond.”
Other important university developments include the selection of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s second class of students, the construction of the Human Health Building, and the upcoming groundbreaking for the planned School of Education and Computer Science building.
Additionally, Dr. Moudgil praised the Varner Vitality Lecture Series and similar campus events, which attract world class scholars, as well as the growing presence of Oakland academics both through online courses and in outreach programs at OU-Macomb, and the expansion of Kresge Library’s hours and services.
“I love Oakland. I have a passion for what I do,” Dr. Moudgil said in closing. “Our faculty can go toe-to-toe with any scholars from around the world. We can continue to improve the big picture, and through our talent and passion, achieve success.”