The hiring of the Ohio State University’s 16th President, Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, and her subsequent appointment of Dr. Grace Wang in the newly formed position of Executive Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Knowledge has injected much enthusiasm for research across the university. In the 2021 State of the University Address, President Johnson announced that, “Ohio State aims to double its sponsored research within this decade,” solidifying the importance of research to the university.
Many new initiatives have been developed in the past year in response to the president’s call for “excellence in research and creative expression,” including: a planned investment of $750 million over the next decade for research and researchers, the creation of the Presidential Research Excellence Fund to support research projects, the launch of Exploratory Research Groups by the Sustainability Institute, and the kickoff of the Growing Research Opportunities (GRO) Academy.
The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is also responding to this renewed commitment to research. As a college-level effort to identify and develop the next generation of research leaders among early and mid-career tenure track faculty within the college, the CFAES Office for Research & Graduate Education announced the inaugural STARS Program.
The goal of the Strategic Alignment for Research Success (STARS) program is to propel emerging research leaders – those individuals with the interest, vision, and motivation – to take their research programs to a higher and more collaborative level. The program will provide participants with the information, skills, and connections they need to assemble and lead large-scale teams in the pursuit of major extramural funding. Participants selected for the 2021-2022 STARS cohort are primarily early to mid-career career faculty with at least two years in their current position from a variety of CFAES departments.
Dr. Gary Pierzynski, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education for CFAES, has been instrumental in the development of this new initiative. “We need to think broadly about what our researchers need. Going beyond grant writing workshops, successful researchers require management skills, leadership skills, strategies for building a resume, and experience managing mid-sized grants to better position them for the big ones.”
The cohort will participate in a 6-month leadership program consisting of individual and group exercises as well as lectures and group discussions designed for early and mid-career faculty. Leadership experts from both inside and outside OSU will provide course content. Participants will be coached one-on-one to develop their research action plan which will be aimed at strengthening their research activities. Group members will have access to a monthly networking opportunity among research leaders and peers with the goal of fostering collaboration among participants from diverse disciplines.
“The STARS program facilitates the building of a track record of accomplishments and awards, management skills, and leadership skills for faculty that are essential for competing for major awards,” said Dr. Gary Pierzynski. “We have learned a great deal this past year regarding what it takes to get this work done and will continue to collaborate with faculty, administration, and staff to make the processes more efficient.”
Introducing the 2021 Cohort
Dr. Marília Chiavegato, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Dr. Jessica Cooperstone, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology
Dr. Suzanne Gray, Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources
Dr. Andrea Gschwend, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Dr. Emmanuel Hatzakis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology
Dr. Shoshanah Inwood, Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources
Dr. Zoë Plakias, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics
Dr. Jonathan Fresnedo Ramirez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Dr. Alejandro E. Relling, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences
Dr. Mary Rodriguez, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership
Dr. Joy Rumble, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership
Dr. Christopher Simons, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology
View full participant bios, here.