The College of Science and Mathematics plays a critical role in NDSU's excellence as a Student-Focused, Land-Grant, Research University. The following three research themes have been identified as a focus for investment of a significant proportion of our financial resources, including tenure-track faculty lines, over the next three to five years. These themes represent areas of intrinsic intellectual interest as well as socio-economic importance to the state, nation, and world. They also address complicated problems that require an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to solve. We will be focusing on hires that fill critical gaps in expertise, bring the perspectives of new disciplines, and help form bridges across disciplines. We seek to integrate expertise in data/information/systems management (Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics) into all three themes.

Theme 1: Linking Ecosystems and Health in Rural Populations:

This theme brings together considerable existing expertise in ecological/environmental (primarily Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Geosciences), human health/biomedical (primarily Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Psychology), and data science/informatics (Computer Science, Statistics) research to address issues in which these fields of research overlap and which have relevance to thriving rural communities. Strong emphasis is on addressing issues important to Native American communities. There are existing and potential linkages with multiple colleges, most notably Health Professions and Agriculture, Food Science & Natural Resources, but also Arts, Humanities & Social Science, Engineering, and Human Development & Education.

Theme 2: Materials for Sustainability and Health:

The CSM has established a strong nucleus of nanoscale materials science researchers primarily from the Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Coatings & Polymeric Materials, and Physics. While the theme focuses on both hard and soft materials and their interfaces, we plan to further grow our expertise in polymers, nanoparticles, thin films, and the interaction of light with matter. Our research links the theoretical and computational prediction of material properties with their synthesis, characterization, and applications towards sustainability and health. We intend to involve other college disciplines in this theme and strengthen existing links with the Colleges of Engineering, Health Professions and Agriculture, Food Science & Natural Resources.

Theme 3: Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER):

The CSM has developed a core of tenure-track faculty in the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics, and Physics whose research focuses 100% on discipline-based undergraduate education. In addition, faculty in other departments such as Computer Science, Geoscience, and Psychology have made contributions to this area of research. Our program is unique in that it is interdisciplinary. The goals of our DBER program are a better understanding of how college students learn science and mathematics, the development of new, research-based pedagogies and technologies that improve student learning, and development of better methods of assessing both student skills/knowledge and instructional efficacy. We ultimately seek to expand our capabilities by hiring faculty dedicated to undergraduate education research in nearly all college disciplines as well as researchers specializing in graduate education, assessment, and undergraduate science and math laboratory experiences. There are existing and potential links with the College of Engineering and the College of Human Development and Education. Our focus on college-level education complements the latter's focus on K-12 education.

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