Following the trend of many top administrators leaving the University lately, Fawwaz Ulaby will be leaving his position as Vice President of Research. Ulaby will be moving to Purdue University and will become the new vice president of research there.
“Purdue is in a growth stage in part because of substantial resources made available to them by the state of Indiana to become one of the top universities in the country,” Ulaby said. “I would like to play a role in making that happen.”
Ulaby has been in charge of the University’s research spending since he was appointed to the position in 1999. This includes taking care of all administrative tasks pertaining to research on campus and allocating funds to different projects. Ulaby said he will be leaving the University sometime between July and September to begin his position at Purdue in the fall.
President Coleman stated in a written statement to University officials that Ulaby and his leadership abilities will be missed on campus. “Our research activities have grown dramatically under his leadership, as has our capacity to stay on top of many new regulatory mandates. We are simply better for his leadership. We will miss him and wish him well,” she said.
Under Ulaby’s leadership, research spending at the University increased by 14.3 percent this year, the largest proportional increase since 1987. One of the nation’s leaders in research, the University spent $749 million in 2003. At Purdue, the figure is less than half as much, with $335 million allocated toward research in Fiscal Year 2002-03.
But in the last five years, Purdue has been focusing on expanding research spending through a variety of new programs. In early 2003, Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon announced the funding of 12 new projects by the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, a state program. Purdue has also been working with private investors to increase research funding outside of what the state of Indiana provides for them. With its efforts, by 2003 Purdue saw a 51 percent increase in its research spending.
As vice president for research since 1999, Ulaby was in charge of research spending on grants, contracts and projects on campus. His job description included checking and following all regulations regarding research mandated by the federal and state governments, as well as the University, he said. He also helped faculty members find sponsors and develop new areas of research.
Since the University prides itself in providing undergraduates with research experience through programs such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, Ulaby furthered this aim by providing funds for the Undergraduate Research Forum, the University’s first undergraduate research journal.
Engineering junior Wei Gu, the journal’s former editor-in-chief, said it would have been difficult to go on with the publication, which published its first issue this semester, without the help of Ulaby.
“He’s been behind us financially and in spirit,” Gu said. “The OVPR is very well structured and … friendly, and I think that had a lot do with (Ulaby) being in charge.”
Under Ulaby the University also was ranked first in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for undergraduate research.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said no definite plans have yet been made regarding a replacement for Ulaby. Whether there will be an interim vice president has not yet been decided.
In addition to serving as Vice President of Research, Ulaby has been an electrical engineering and computer science professor for 20 years. He said he will continue his current research at the University through close associations with his colleagues.
“I’ve been at Michigan for 20 years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Ulaby said. “I was part of a major growth in research on campus across all disciplines and have enjoyed being able to contribute and supporting that growth.”