UWM’s journey to becoming a top research university

UWM’s journey to becoming a top research university


Here at UWM there’s research happening in every
school, every college, every department. I mean, this is a broad-based research
university, which is what the Carnegie R1 designation means. This is a recognition of the research efforts we have put in for the last decade. It’s not happening overnight. It shows
that the institution is headed in a direction where we really contribute to
the forefront of knowledge. Our Research 1 designation along with the Carnegie classification is emblematic of who we are as an institution. Being an R1
institution will help us in recruiting top students to come to UWM. Also, in
receiving research funding. When I first came, it was a nucleus of faculty doing
research that eventually grew. I’m very gratified by the fact that now my work
and the work of the others here have helped us to gain R1 status. The research we do pushes the frontiers
of physics and astronomy. The highlight of my career thus far is
definitely the discovery of gravitational waves. The gravitational waves
discovery opens a whole new field of astronomy, in a sense. We announced the first
observation of gravitational waves from a pair of black holes that collided out
in the universe 1.3 billion light-years from Earth. That, you know, is really an
important development for which no doubt there will be
a Nobel Prize awarded. Without Leonard, we wouldn’t
have such a fantastic group here. I figured I’d be long gone by the time
LIGO was able to actually detect these things. My research is really literally all over
the map, and now I’m a historian of the world. I was the editor-in-chief of a nine-volume
Cambridge world history. It just came out last year. We’d worked on it
for almost 10 years. One of the reasons that I was
really pleased to see that Cambridge University Press came here
is that I think that it’s a global recognition by the top of the academic
heap that there is excellent research going on here at UWM. My research looks
at the intersection of race and law. It has a lot to teach us about the history
of where our problems with race come from and also why we still have
lingering problems. In 2010, I began to work with America’s Black
Holocaust Museum. Even though the museum had closed,
it was still a very important group of folks who are going to make sure that the
institution itself and the importance of the institution remain vibrant in the
Milwaukee community. America’s Black Holocaust virtual museum
is important because now we reach an international audience. We performed a series of validation
studies in a laboratory. One of the most rewarding aspects of this whole process
was that students were working together, and they developed a product
that’s now on the market. The wrench that we designed has very
unique features that make it safer and easier for workers to use. In my field of
occupational injury prevention, we scientists try to find ways
to save people’s lives, prevent injuries and make work easier. A few years ago when we invented this
sensing platform, we understood there’s a significant need in real-time detection
of different contaminants in water. Many of the pipelines we have in the
U.S. still contain lead. If you don’t have a real-time sensor to monitor the water
quality, then our human beings will become the sensors, which is the last thing you
want to see. There are also biomedical applications of
these sensors. For example, we currently are working on the detection of Ebola virus
and acid reflux using the same platform. We’re aiming at some of the larger scale
societal problems to address, but once solved, those solutions can have a
significant impact on our society. I just love the fact that when you talk
to faculty and staff across campus you get that diversity of activity that is
contributing to the forefront of research and scholarship. The thing that’s kept me here at UWM the
most — it’s now more than three decades — is a feeling that I have that I’m making
a difference in students’ lives. We stand here as a bastion for educating
the people of the city. As long as the adequate funding can be obtained, the future is limitless. UW-Milwaukee is one of the most
important and significant urban research institutions in the country We merge high-level research and
community engagement as best as any school in the country.

One comment

  1. I am PROUD of my alma mater and the educators who have and continue to provide generations of students with a quality education. CONGRATULATIONS! I still draw on the knowledge (altho ever-changing–heck Pluto is no longer a planet!) and discipline I cultivated during the six years I attended undergraduate and graduate school.

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