A strategy for Mississippi State University to become
the region's most respected land-grant institution
Appendix A -Centers of Excellence
To heighten the overall impact of the university and advance issues important to its constituents in Mississippi and beyond, MSU has identified centers of excellence that can help focus resources to enhance our service to the state and nation and build our national and international reputation. Centers of Excellence are characterized by interdisciplinary clusters and areas open to all faculty members who have interest and expertise, rather than centering on specific colleges, departments, or other units. Centers of Excellence should be further strengthened by encouraging the participation of current faculty, targeting new hires, and providing enhanced support as resources become available.
Agriculture and Natural Resource Systems
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES); Forest and Wildlife Research Center (FWRC); Southern Horticulture Laboratory; Institute for Digital Biology; Thad Cochran Warmwater Aquaculture Center; 4-H Programming; Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute; College of Veterinary Medicine
The agriculture and natural resource research programs at MSU are widely recognized for their quality and importance to the state, region, and nation. Included are traditional programs as well as cutting-edge initiatives such as plant and animal genomics research through the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute; warmwater aquaculture; advanced horticultural research; agriculture risk management and policy; wealth management, accounting, and taxation of natural resources; family and youth studies; food safety; precision agriculture and remote sensing; and agriculture epidemiology. Of particular note is the close working relationship that the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine has with the research units across campus and with the units of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) located on campus. A new USDA-ARS Poultry Research Center to be located on the MSU campus will bring further collaboration and national recognition to MSU agriculture research.
Computational Science and Engineering
High Performance Computing; Computer Security; Computational Biology; Chemistry; Physics
MSU has a long history of excellence in high performance computing through the High Performance Computing Collaboratory (formerly the NSF Engineering Research Center). The university has excelled recently in computer security, through the Center for Computer Security Research in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and in computational biology. Research has been multi-disciplinary and team oriented in the areas of computational fluid dynamics, computational solid mechanics, computational materials, physics, chemistry, and biology. MSU is one of the leading sites in the nation for supercomputing power.
Applied Social Sciences
Social Science Research Center; Health and Nutrition
MSU has a national reputation for interdisciplinary research in applied social sciences. The Social Science Research Center has expertise related to social, economic, political, human resources, and social-environmental issues facing the state, nation, and world. Recent topics addressed include women’s health and children’s issues. Consistent national funding from NSF, NIH, USDA, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, NASA, and others has supported the research.
Automotive Engineering and Manufacturing; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; Fixed and Rotor Airframes; E–Ship Project
MSU has become an established center for transportation research through its expertise in engineering and other areas. The Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) is assisting in the development of advanced technologies for the automotive industry. The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory is involved in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as fixed and rotor airframes. Ships and other vessels continue to be a research focus, both from the standpoint of hull and shape design and for electrical power considerations, as in the Electrical Ship (E-Ship) project. Intermodal operations, pavement materials, and route planning are also areas of research.
Materials and Devices
Composites; Powdered Metals; Alloys; Welding; Biomaterials; Construction Materials; Electronic Materials; Physical and Chemical Sensors; Digital Signal Processing
MSU has a national and international reputation for its work in materials. Areas of interest include composites for aerospace and automotive applications, state-of-the-art powder metal technology, alloys, metallurgy, welding technology, biomaterials, electronic materials, and sensor utilization. The materials research program has been instrumental in attracting to the Golden Triangle region corporations such as Aurora Flight Sciences and General Electric.
Conventional and Alternative Energy; Bioenergy and Biomass; Sustainable Energy Research Center; Combined Cooling, Heating and Power; E-Ship Project; High Voltage Laboratory; Institute for Clean Energy Technology
Research in conventional and alternative energy has brought regional and national recognition to MSU. The Institute for Clean Energy Technology is closely associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and has assisted in the development and analysis of many processes and analysis techniques. MSU is involved in the development of alternative and improved energy sources through research into biofuels, fuel cells, energy efficiency, and electrical systems. The use of biomass as an alternative fuel source has tremendous potential and has created opportunities across the agricultural, forestry, physics/chemistry, and engineering disciplines. MSU and the state are leaders in biomass and bioenergy production.
Global Information Systems and Natural Disaster Preparedness (Emerging)
GeoResources Institute; Forest Inventory and Management; Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat Analysis; Operational and Broadcast Meteorology; Public Policy
Centers, institutes, and departments across MSU participate in research on global information systems and other advanced technologies related to remote sensing. Efforts include technology development and analysis, signal/image processing, climatic evaluation, natural resource assessment (forest inventory, wildlife and fisheries habitat analysis, wetland inventories), and precision agriculture. Research also includes natural disaster preparedness and public policy as it relates to global information systems and data obtained from remote sensing technologies.
Natural Resources, Environmental Science, and Environmental Toxicology (Emerging)
Center for Environmental Health Sciences; Southern Housing Climatic Research Project; Water Resources; Recreation and Tourism; Wildlife Management
MSU has broad expertise and research experience in the area of the environment and natural resources. The Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) focuses on the impact of environmental chemicals on the health of humans, animals, and the environment, with a current emphasis on biomedical research. The Southern Housing Climatic Research Project focuses on the interaction of housing structures and all aspects of the environment. Water resources research initiatives center on evaluating and analyzing surface water and groundwater to preserve water quality for current and future generations. Basic and applied research on natural resources also yields dividends in the area of the relationship of humankind and the wildlife environment through MSU’s Berryman Institute East. Recreation and tourism related to the natural environment are also important outcomes of the applied research at MSU.
Bioimaging and Biomedical Sciences (Emerging)
Biophotonics; Cognitive Science; Bioinformatics; Digital Biology; Biomedical Engineering; Animal Health Center
As a land-grant university with a strong track record in the biological and biomedical sciences, MSU is an up and coming leader in research in human and animal systems, both at the micro and macro levels. Real-time imaging at the cellular and molecular level with biophotonics is being conducted across several disciplines and departments. Research with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will be performed on both animals and humans at the tissue and organ level through the Institute for Neurocognitive Science and Technology. DNA sequencing in the area of bioinformatics and research in the area of functional genomics and systems biology are being pursued through the new Institute of Digital Biology. Tissue, cellular, and organism-level research is conducted in the areas of biomedical engineering, biomedical sciences, biomechanics, biomimicry, and veterinary medicine through collaborative efforts of numerous academic and research units including the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Community Engagement and Economic Development (Emerging)
Carl Small Town Center; Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision; Institute of Furniture Manufacturing and Management (emerging); Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy (emerging); Family Enterprise
Research Center (emerging); Building Construction Science (emerging); Center for Educational Partnerships (emerging); Center for Educational Leadership (emerging); Mississippi State Community Action Team (emerging)
Engaging communities and contributing to their economic, healthcare, educational, and cultural development has long been a hallmark of MSU. Centers and institutes and academic and research programs are in place to reach out and help communities grow and develop.
Early Childhood Education, Health and Development (Emerging)
Early Childhood Institute; Child Health and Safety
MSU is a nationally-recognized innovator in child, youth, and family research topics. The Early Childhood Institute has an established reputation for leadership in research and policy issues related to young children. Strong programs in education, research, and extension exist in the areas of human development and family studies, including state-wide 4-H programming.
Public Policy and Administration (Emerging)
Public Policy and Administration; Stennis Institute of Government; Risk Management; Leadership; Mass Communication
MSU has an emerging reputation in the areas of public policy and administration, risk management, leadership, and mass communication. The applications for these areas include governmental policy, civic leadership, trade issues, agriculture policy, decision making for governmental and military purposes, public relations, media communication, and others.
Center for America’s Veterans (Emerging)
Mississippi State is establishing a Center for America’s Veterans (MSCAV) to recruit and support students who have served in the armed forces, make MSU the university‑of‑choice for veterans and their families who desire to complete a college degree, and perpetuate the legacy of Rep. Sonny Montgomery.
Shackouls Honors College (Emerging)
Mississippi’s oldest and largest college honors program became the Shackouls Honors College in 2006, and will dramatically expand over the next several years its offerings and services to exceptional students, with the aid of a major endowment.
Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program (Emerging)
Mississippi State has established the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program and will enroll an initial class of scholars in fall 2006. The university also is working to establish a minor in Leadership Studies to provide a marketable enhancement to existing degree programs and will expand informal and formal programs to include diversity components for developing student leaders.
Mississippi State International Program (Emerging)
International Business/Foreign Languages; Center for International Security and Strategic Studies (Radvanyi Chair); English as a Second Language (ESL), International Business Institute
Globalization and internationalization of academic and research programs is of critical importance. Programs such as the International Business/Foreign Language degree and the Center for International Security and Strategic Studies are creating national and international recognition for MSU. With its instructional programs for foreign students, the English as a Second Language (ESL) program has helped bring many international students to the campus who would not otherwise be here, and many consider staying for a graduate degree. The International Business Institute is developing as an umbrella organization for several business related activities. Additional agreements with foreign universities and industries will enhance the overall experience for all students and faculty. The Mississippi State International Program (MSIP) will be established to recognize the global nature of almost everything we do and enhance the educational experience of students through exposure to other cultures, including development of a strategic initiative that focuses on recruiting international students.
History of Science and Technology; History of Agriculture and Rural America; Professional and Technical Writing
MSU has growing expertise in a number of humanities areas that can lead to regional and national excellence. Complementing its land-grant heritage, university programs and research in the history of science and technology, the history of agriculture and rural America, and professional and technical writing can be outstanding in their own right, but can also enhance the science, technology, engineering, and agriculture programs that have been mainstays of MSU research. Language and communication programs can make a significant contribution to the internationalization of our students and globalization of instructional and research efforts.
African-American Studies (Potential)
Mississippi State will establish an African-American Studies minor and/or certificate program to build on and further encourage diversity among students.
Mississippi State will establish an Institute for Leadership and Service to coordinate and expand leadership and service opportunities and expand informal and formal programs to include diversity components for developing student leaders.