John Tomblin has been named Wichita State University’s vice president for its Division of Research and Technology Transfer.
The role will be crucial to the redesigning of WSU that President John Bardo has worked on for two years.
Tomblin has been the interim vice president for about a year and a half, he said. Bardo made it permanent Tuesday, WSU said in a statement.
“John has provided strong leadership to this division, he has reactivated the Research Council and he is forging new and strong relationships with federal agencies, business partners, state government and the broader community,” Bardo said in a statement.
Tomblin will also remain in his other job: executive director for the National Institute for Aviation Research.
It took a year and a half to decide to make his job permanent in part because everyone, including himself, wondered whether he could do both jobs, Tomblin said.
“But I think we’re in the groove now,” he said.
He has been instrumental in the interim role in helping Bardo begin to create an “innovation campus,” designed to attract partnerships with industry to federal funding for research. Both men have said that besides enhancing education, the role of that effort will be to help create jobs for Kansas and enhance research at WSU.
Tomblin said he has four goals for this permanent role:
• Increasing the number and amounts of research grants awarded to WSU faculty.
• Creating more intellectual property at WSU and commercializing it for public use.
• Improving and increasing WSU’s interactions with business and industry in the state.
• And lastly, Tomblin said jokingly: “Music lessons.”
“We need to beat our drum more,” he said. “That’s what that means. WSU is a great place to go to school. We need to beat our drum more about that.”
Tomblin’s division, Bardo said in the statement, “will play an increasingly important role in assisting faculty and staff in enhancing research and other scholarly activities, engagement and transformation of the state's economic base that is so crucial to the future.”
Bardo also said in the statement that he’s authorized a new position at WSU: associate vice president for federal programs.
“This individual will be a specialist in assisting faculty members in identifying appropriate federal grant sources and in preparing grant proposals to federal agencies.” Bardo wrote.