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Vision for Informatics Department

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  1. Vision for Informatics Department Geoffrey Fox

  2. General Principles/Characteristics • As chair, I would • Provide vision for a department consistent with school leadership • Interact with faculty and work for their success • Implement and manage needed department wide functions • Link with other organizations including school, university and (inter) national entities. • Set up Department wide activities that will build on our successes and provide more resources (money) and opportunities for faculty to pursue their interests • Need key hires that will provide synergistic linkage between existing faculty and so enhance existing research. • Shared departmental principles including excellence in research and education and multidisciplinary work • But different implementation mechanisms in different faculty groups within Informatics. • Clarity with flat transparent inclusive governance structure.

  3. Near Term Actions • Visiting committee of 10-12 distinguished outside experts • Majority of the committee would come from faculty suggestions and be supportive of and expert in the key sub-disciplines in the department. • Committee chair and a few (1-2) others would be tasked with leading cross disciplinary suggestions. • Mainly academic but have 1 or 2 Industry representatives. • Focus on research and the graduate program but could comment more broadly. • Ask faculty to produce the equivalent of an OnlineAnnual Report describing the department activities. • Outreach internally and external to department • Help the proposed visiting committee. • Establish faculty group to propose a governance structure for intra department and external interactions • Enable broad involvement with fair, open, transparent governance • Minimizes the time the faculty have to spend on service while maximizing the impact of that service.

  4. Department wide Activities I • Initiate new department wide initiatives exploiting innovative and unique structure of the Informatics department • Department wide REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) activity • Attract undergraduates who will apply to our graduate program • Further broader participation of (under-represented groups) • Department supports core mentoring and management structure for faculty and department REU • Agreements with leading international universities • Enhance faculty research • Send students to our undergraduate and graduate programs including REU as stepping stone • Establish new curriculum development activities working with Associate Deans for undergraduate and graduate education • Fund faculty time developing new innovative courses • Support from companies like Google and federal government (NSF EHR)

  5. Department wide Activities II • Working with the Associate Dean for research, I would use my experience to support faculty interested in increasing research funding • Link with appropriate collaborators within and outside school that will enable more competitive proposals. • Develop more distance education activities both to other campuses and across the globe • Build on successful Cheminformatics classes • Exploit UITS technology • Department provides support for faculty driven activities • Prepare proposals for department wide Broadening Participation activities for underrepresented groups.

  6. Teaching Loads • There are substantial faculty concerns about the size and fairness of teaching loads • A detailed plan here requires knowledge about budgets and operational constraints for department and I do not have this • Produce a high priority plan that would address: • Clarification of buy out of courses using research funds to pay faculty salary • Increase of curriculum development funding to allow buy outs in education as well as research • Hire more lecturers as long as one can maintain course quality • Reduce number of courses offered. • This could be combined with reducing course requirements for PhD • Greater emphasis on research in masters and undergraduate programs.

  7. Graduate Students • Need very vigorous effort to recruit PhD students of highest quality • Department initiatives in areas of REU, Broadening Participation and International agreements will be helpful. • Recruit the highest ranked (say top 10) students with very attractive offers. • Overall admit students that match faculty interests • Use multiple criteria to identify highest ranked students • Work with school wide group led by David Leake • Increase US Citizens • Extend video conferencing based interviews of foreign students • Research and Teaching potential • Review the PhD program and optimize the requirements for the different parts of department • Some might benefit from an increased research and decreased course load in requirements.

  8. “Informatics the Program” • Expand informatics activities outside the core interests of current faculty by appropriate multidisciplinary collaborations with other parts of Indiana University • Work with UITS, COAS, SLIS and Business school • Business informatics is particularly valuable given our undergraduates’ interest in this • Astronomy and Geography Informatics are obvious areas

  9. Particular Discipline Initiatives I • Life Sciences:Bioinformatics has young group of faculty who have done very well. • Raise national visibility • Increase number of PhD students • Continue search for a senior hire in Bioinformatics. • Life Sciences:Cheminformatics program has already achieved national reputation in a much smaller peer group but small size makes “business model” unclear • Visiting committee can help • Combine some management functions and curricula between Bioinformatics and Cheminformatics • Preserve Bioinformatics/Cheminformatics labels to attract the best students and national attention • Complex Systems: Here we need to build on successes and address key loss of talented faculty member • Opportunity for university wide leadership • Current PhD requirements may not be optimal for students

  10. Particular Discipline Initiatives II • Technology: Marshal resources to attract a leader for security. • Security package could involve both the senior hire and the possibility of a further junior appointment. • The visiting committee could help guide our strategy here. • Human centered Informatics: I need to get educated about the fields of Social Informatics, Music Informatics and HCI. • Marshal resources to make a senior appointment that will work with existing faculty to create a synergistic group with perhaps the help of an additional junior appointment. • Proposed department wide initiatives to encourage both education and research proposals should be helpful.

  11. Career and Qualifications I I have been involved in multidisciplinary research for much of my career starting with my first paper in crystallography in 1966 The Caltech Concurrent Computation Program established by me around 1983 was an early version of “Grand Challenges” linking computer science to applications is online copy of book I have run a research group with an annual budget, mostly federally funded, of $2-$5 million since 1983. Before that I had an active physics research group funded by DoE with a budget of about $250K per year. My physics work was always computer-oriented involving substantial model building and data analysis at interface of theory and experiment. I have experience with DoE, DoD, NASA, NIH, NSF (many directorates including EHR), Industry and SBIR funding.

  12. Career and Qualifications II I have over 550 published papers and supervised 57 PhD students in mainly Computer Science and Physics but also Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computation and Neural Systems (CNS at Caltech of which I was co-founder) My core expertise is mathematics which was my undergraduate major I was top in Cambridge my year 1964 being Senior Wrangler and winning Mayhew prize (defined in Wikipedia) My PhD was in Physics in 1967 (my 23rd birthday) and I switched from “computing in physics” to computer science 1983-1990 Currently I work on Earthquake Science (not looking at magnitudes < 6.5 in Indiana), Polar Science, Particle Physics, Plasma Physics, Digital Libraries (with Smithsonian National Museum for American Indian), Command andControl/Emergency Management, and Cheminformatics extending to Bioinformatics My current core computer science work is in Grids/Clouds/Web 2.0 and multicore with a focus on practical applications as listed above Several of my projects involved outreach to Industry

  13. Career and Qualifications III I was chair of Caltech Physics department from 1981-1983 (ranked number 1) I led Caltech Computing Organization 1983-1988 deploying networks and PC’s to undergraduates In physics my major administrative achievements were in graduate student recruitment and faculty hires My best known research (parallel computing) was done while I held these administrative positions I have always been interested in distance education Teaching many classes to Jackson State University from 1997-2005 I also work extensively with minority serving institutions and have four active grants in that area. At Syracuse University, I set up their computational science undergraduate and graduate education program I taught the Saturday morning “Java for Kids” program using distance education Developed several web-based education projects with Physics and School of Education