Research News

New faculty advisory committee to develop research IT services and resources on campus

by Jane Hirtle

Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan
Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan

A new faculty advisory committee has been convened to prioritize communication, security, programming, networking and storage resource needs as they relate to research. The committee continues the work of the Research IT Special Projects Working Group founded in 2017 by Provost Susan R. Wente as part of the Provost’s Initiative to Enhance Research and Scholarship, and puts the recommendations that committee released in a report earlier this year into action to advance research and scholarship at Vanderbilt.

“Our faculty researchers have many and varied technology needs that are intensifying as scientific and scholarly research becomes more intertwined with digital technologies,” Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan said. “This advisory committee will help us establish and triage priorities among those needs and implement lasting solutions that leverage our existing resources and strengths, and will serve the broad university community from humanities to sciences.”

The Research IT Faculty Advisory Committee initially will focus on three high-priority areas, with subcommittees devoted to the development of each.

  • Storage, Computing and Communication: The subcommittee on this topic will conduct a study aimed at understanding scalable storage and processing needs for Vanderbilt researchers and documenting findings in an actionable manner to provide solutions, especially for the data-intensive workflows related to scientific and scholarly research.
  • Secure and Compliant Data Processing: This subcommittee will identify best practices for secure data storage and processing for different research projects at Vanderbilt, including those involving NIST 800-171 compliance and/or human subjects compliance protocols.
  • Training and Resources: The final subcommittee will identify sustainable training curricula and project development models, such as a training program aimed at bootstrapping new research faculty, staff and students with best practices for completing data-intensive research and a sustainment model that could eventually be open to the public for a fee as part of a continuing education initiative.
Associate Provost for Research Development and Technologies Doug Schmidt (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)
Associate Provost for Research Development and Technologies Doug Schmidt (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

The committee is composed of members from diverse research and scholarly areas and schools that represent the breadth and depth of research IT needs at Vanderbilt. The committee will collaborate as needed with VUIT, ACCRE and the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries to maximally leverage existing IT services and resources on campus. The committee also will interface with VUMC-employed VU faculty and IT staff to round out their understanding of the current needs and resources across campus and ensure that solutions apply to all disciplines and are synergistic with available resources.

“Research progress is increasingly driven by advances and applications of IT,” said committee chair and Associate Provost for Research Development and Technologies Douglas C. Schmidt. “This advisory committee will help amplify Vanderbilt’s success as an internationally recognized institution of excellence and innovation by expanding the impact of our research through information technologies.”

The committee members include:

  • Hiba Baroud, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, School of Engineering
  • Andreas Berlind, associate professor of physics and astronomy, College of Arts and Science
  • Corey Brady, assistant professor of teaching and learning, Peabody College
  • Madeline Casad, senior lecturer in the Program in Cinema and Media Arts, College of Arts and Science
  • Laurie Cutting, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Special Education, Peabody College
  • Vicki Greene, Stevenson Professor of Physics, College of Arts and Science
  • Noam Lupu, associate professor of political science, College of Arts and Science
  • Yolanda McDonald, assistant professor of human and organizational development, Peabody College
  • David Michelson, assistant professor of the history of Christianity, Divinity School
  • Mariann Piano, senior associate dean for research, School of Nursing
  • Chuck Sanders, senior associate dean for research, School of Medicine
  • Douglas Schmidt, committee chair, associate provost for research development and technologies, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, School of Engineering
  • Matt Tyska, professor of cell and developmental biology, School of Medicine