During this football season, we’re presenting a special series of guest blog posts from research administrators at the other Big 12 institutions. Today, we help you get ready for Saturday’s top-ten matchup with a Q&A with Linda Freed, the director of TCU’s Office of Sponsored Programs.
What are a few of the fastest-growing research areas at TCU?
Our researchers have delivered exciting results that are helping to find new ways to deliver cancer-curing drugs, uncovering the nature of gender distinctions in history, helping adopted children adjust to a new life, examining diets to alleviate obesity, helping us understand the environmental effects of wind farms, keeping unsafe fish from the food supply, identifying the best ways to prepare math teachers, curing addiction among prison inmates, and doing much, much more. And, of course, we wouldn’t be TCU without a biologist who studies Texas horned frogs and the impact of habitat change.
What research opportunities are available to undergraduate students?
Undergraduate research is a hallmark of the TCU student experience. In addition to a very active Honors program, students in every major can find opportunities to engage in rigorous, publishable research under the tutelage of faculty mentors. In the spring, every college hosts an impressive exhibition of faculty-mentored student research projects.
What’s an interesting element of your campus culture that people outside the TCU community might not know about?
Another hallmark of TCU is adherence to the teacher-scholar model. It is not teacher or scholar but more like “teacher as scholar” and “scholar as teacher”. Faculty who choose to spend their careers here walk a tough line. They must be excellent scholars, active and respected in their disciplines. And they must be excellent teachers, informed by the latest developments in their discipline, and ready mentors to promising student scholars.
What’s a typical day in your office like?
There are only three of us, so we are “lean and mean,” and very busy most of the time. It also means we are juggling multiple tasks and deadlines all the time. I sometimes describe our workdays as “popcorn days” – when there are so many things popping up at once that you can’t possibly catch them all.
In a typical day, any one of us might work with a junior faculty person on their first funding proposal, draft a subaward, work with the research accountants to review project expenditures, edit or submit a proposal, negotiate a corporate research contract, and read and interpret grant guidelines and federal regulations. The intensity and variety are both challenging and rewarding.
Thanks to Linda Freed and the Office of Sponsored Projects for participating in our “Get to know Big 12 research” series. Visit their website at http://www.sponsoredprograms.tcu.edu/.
Read more about TCU research in their magazine, Endeavors.