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SOURCE Texas A&M University
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Feb. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A Nobel Prize winner and members of the National Academy of Sciences and other prestigious national academies and comparable European academies are among the nine nationally and internationally prominent scholars formally inducted Friday evening (Feb. 7) as the newest Faculty Fellows of the Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS).
TIAS, which has a mission of bringing nationally and internationally renowned scholars to Texas A&M for extended visits to interact with current faculty and students, is now in its second year of operation and building on the success of the initial group of TIAS Faculty Fellows, all of whom are continuing their affiliations with the university.
Establishment of TIAS was inspired by the longstanding success with its Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, with that institute's early ranks including Albert Einstein, officials noted.
At a Friday morning panel discussion, which included three Nobel Prize winners and with a portion of the new TIAS Faculty Fellows in attendance, some comparisons and differences were cited between the two institutes. Most of the panelists have had first-hand experience with the institute located at Princeton. Consensus was that Texas A&M's institute has two distinct advantages on which to build: Unlike the one at Princeton, TIAS will be directly affiliated with its host university and it will provide for extensive engagement with students -- both graduate and undergraduate students -- and capitalize on both teaching and research and their interaction.
Speaking at a black-tie campus event Friday evening, one of the new TIAS Faculty Fellows, Yale University Professor Roger Howe, predicted "exciting years ahead" for TIAS and Texas A&M.
"Looking at this advanced study institute from a national perspective, it is obvious that the establishment of an institute like TIAS is a historic event for any university and that Texas A&M is taking a leadership role," noted the prominent mathematics professor who has been elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, along with a host of other honors. "TIAS will make a profound impact on the research interactions and productivity here and on the prestige of Texas A&M on the world stage.
"This is only the beginning of the exciting years ahead for TIAS and Texas A&M. I congratulate the university faculty and leadership on undertaking this wonderful initiative," Howe said, adding that, "on behalf of all members of the second class of TIAS Faculty Fellows, we are delighted and deeply honored to accept appointments as TIAS Faculty Fellows."
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, who made possible a $5.2 million commitment for TIAS through the System's Academic Enhancement Program, said TIAS is a "key initiative to launch Texas A&M University to the forefront of top-tier universities."
Sharp cited still more funding support for faculty enhancement initiatives: "Through the Chancellor's Research Initiative (CRI), we are investing $100 million over the next few years to attract a new wave of stars to permanent appointments on our faculty."
"Taken together, TIAS and CRI are making a dramatic impact on advancing excellence at Texas A&M," he emphasized.
The chancellor noted that several TIAS Faculty Fellows have extended their initial appointments -- and one has already joined the permanent Texas A&M faculty.
Interim Texas A&M President Mark Hussey joined in voicing enthusiastic support for TIAS and its inductees.
"The Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study is an important part of our desire to attract the very best scholars to campus to work with our faculty, staff and students," Hussey said. Directly addressing the new TIAS Faculty Fellows, he said: "We are honored to have you on the campus of Texas A&M, and I know that you and our faculty and students will find these upcoming months a rewarding experience."
Texas A&M Foundation President Ed Davis cited the success of TIAS to date: "It is clear to me that we have built upon the six-member first class of stellar individuals with an impressive nine-member group of Faculty Fellows for this second class," Davis said. "We can all feel the building acceleration of TIAS and its positive impact on Texas A&M."
TIAS Founding Director John L. Junkins praised the selection of this second group of TIAS Faculty Fellows. "The positive impact on the University as a consequence of attracting these extraordinarily accomplished individuals cannot be over-emphasized," said Junkins. "These exceptional scholars, together with our current top-flight faculty, will foster an even more vibrant environment for research and teaching, and will pay tremendous future dividends through enhanced collaborations and faculty recruitment."
"The teaching and research endeavors of the second group of TIAS Faculty Fellows are expected to build on the success of the initial group of six TIAS Faculty Fellows, all of whom are continuing their affiliations with the university," Junkins noted.
"TIAS Faculty Fellows are already making a positive impact at Texas A&M by co-authoring with Texas A&M faculty and graduate students scholarly papers that held shed new light on timely topics that add to mankind's storehouse of knowledge," Junkins said. "That is in addition to the teaching and lab endeavors and frequent public lectures, among other activities."
The new inductees will serve as in-residence TIAS Faculty Fellows for two to 12 months, collaborating with numerous Texas A&M faculty and students, Junkins noted. He said the expectation is that by 2018 the university will be attracting 20 new world-class scholars each year for even greater opportunities for interaction, Junkins said.
Representing disciplines across the university's colleges and schools, the 2013-14 TIAS Faculty Fellows are:
The new inductees will join with the six members of the 2012-13 class:
Faculty Fellows are annually selected through a process led by an electorate of acclaimed current faculty at Texas A&M, consisting of Nobel Laureates, Wolf Medal recipients, National Academies members and distinguished professors, among others.
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