Richard Leakey


"Every day, across the planet, and even beyond, Stony Brook researchers are adding to knowledge and making discoveries that increase our understanding of the world and improve our lives."

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Stony Brook University is committed to innovation in education. We pioneered the integration of research into the undergraduate experience, have had extraordinary success in developing programs to help economically disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students succeed, and are developing new approaches to STEM education. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to implement innovative strategies to enhance undergraduate and graduate education to develop world-renowned academic programs that foster student productivity and success. Our faculty have created a new core curriculum designed to help our undergraduates prepare better for the world beyond the university, a world where critical thinking and a basic familiarity with the power of science, technology, the arts, humanities and social sciences is key to success.

Building on strong existing online courses, a taskforce of faculty, students and staff, led by Provost Dennis Assanis, developed a bold blueprint for expanding our efforts in online learning and MOOCs. We recruited Eric Rabkin to help us develop an online learning laboratory to help interested faculty translate their incredible knowledge to students in the most effective way possible. New facilities such as Frey Hall will help us with wired classrooms that allow for more effective collaborative learning, and help change the way we teach chemistry and the sciences. 

We know there's not just one way to learn. We are committed to making Stony Brook University a robust learning community that uses online technology, peer and collaborative learning, experiential learning, internships and, of course, direct interactions with our outstanding faculty to help each student achieve their educational goals. 

And make no mistake; at a time of turmoil and concern regarding the future of higher education, we remain focused on student success. Thanks to the foresight of Governor Cuomo and our State legislators, we have NYSUNY 2020, which is enabling us to grow our faculty to provide a better faculty/student ratio for instruction, to expand the number of classes and sections available to help with completion, and to provide more opportunities for experiential learning and research. We are also using NYSUNY 2020 funds to expand tutoring on campus, and are looking at renovating Melville Library to create more learning spaces.  

And finally, as we innovate we will measure and determine whether our strategic initiatives are making a difference in critical outcomes like four- and six-year graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, and attainment of graduate studies or employment.  

Stony Brook is a research university. Research and scholarship are at the core of our mission. Every day, across the planet, and even beyond, Stony Brook researchers are adding to knowledge and making discoveries that increase our understanding of the world and improve our lives. Driven by the quest to know, we explore the origins of man in Kenya, the nature of matter at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven, the principles of language in the Negev desert, and the anatomical site for love in the human brain. Stony Brook scientists brought the world the MRI, discovered one of the world's most effective drugs to treat heart attacks, have identified new and ancient species, helped find the agent of Lyme disease , and were the first to synthesize a virus. We are pioneers in masculinity studies, leaders in game theory, groundbreakers in communicating science, defining new frontiers at the intersection of geometry and physics, and home to some of the most talented writers and artists in the world.

I am extraordinarily proud of what you do, and since I arrived at Stony Brook, I have been focused on renewing our commitment to excellence in research and scholarship throughout the academic enterprise and to finding new and innovative ways to support and reward faculty and students for research and creative activity. 

We recognize that to be successful in a time of limited resources we must be both focused and strategic in our investments in faculty and infrastructure. Despite a funding climate dominated by significant pullbacks in federal, state and industry support, we are committed to growing our sponsored research expenditures. How will we do that?  

First, by continuing to strategically recruit outstanding faculty to build upon existing areas of excellence to develop preeminent basic and applied research programs. We are utilizing cluster hires and strategic investments in infrastructure to create multidisciplinary approaches to grand challenges such as human origins, the nature of matter and the organization of the universe, how to implement renewable energy sources and create a new energy grid, protecting biodiversity on land and sea, maintaining our coastal zones, the origins of language, cancer therapy and mapping the brain. And we remain focused on developing and building programs that utilize the extraordinary resources of Brookhaven National Laboratory. We are also building vibrant multidisciplinary research, health and educational programs around our unparalleled facilities in Kenya (Turkana Basin Institute) and Madagascar (Centre ValBio).

At the same time we are investing in key enabling disciplines, imaging, informatics, genomics and information technology that can inform and enhance research and scholarship in multiple fields.



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