Research Portal

October 6, 2020

CBE Office of Research Updates

On September 5, Dean Renée Cheng shared exciting updates about the College of Built Environments’ Office of Research. Read below for more from Dean Cheng: 

The College of Built Environments’ newly revamped Office of Research aims to elevate CBE research expertise in community engagement, climate action, housing, humanities, and  technology and to increase capacity for meeting urgent needs for this research to be accessible and have impact. While there is much work to be done, I believe the steps outlined below create conditions for moving forward with confidence.

CBE research includes research activity by individuals and groups of faculty and researchers. One of the hallmarks of CBE research is its breadth and diversity of methodologies; for example research can be overlapped with engagement, teaching or both. It may be basic, applied or a combination of both. It may look similar to research considered “pure”  STEM, humanities, art, or look like some combination. Some work is done through centers and labs in the college, other work is done in partnership with other colleges and universities or with professional or community partners. The quality and range of CBE research is excellent and we would love to grow quantity and impact while maintaining quality. Compared to peers, CBE research activity and external funding is more variable and the success rate of applications is lower than we would expect. Additionally, growth opportunities seem to be constrained and reports of feeling spread too thin or needing more time are common. From our known partners, we hear that research is hard to access and not celebrated as much as it should be, especially given its value and need. There’s also a belief that there are important partners not yet fully engaged and other prospective partners not yet identified.

As some of you know, the CBE research associate dean position was started a few years ago by then Dean John Schaufelberger and Professor Marina Alberti pioneered the role and drafted a strategic plan for research. Last year, Professor Carrie Dossick started work to understand that foundation, and adapt it in context of the emerging college strategic plan goals. The CBE Office of Research outlined today is a result of these efforts and I would like to thank Carrie, Marina, John, and others for their leadership in getting us to this point.

We are thrilled to announce expansion of, and new direction for, our CBE Office of Research with Jennifer (Jen) Davison taking on the new role of Assistant Dean of Research. Many of you know Jen from her role as Director of Urban@ UW and with 10 years of experience leading cross-disciplinary and community engaged research efforts at University of Washington, Jen’s passion for collaboration, equity, and the built environments will bring strategic vision and direction to our Office of Research and the CBE community. Jen will divide her time between the CBE Office of Research and Urban@UW.

In addition to the office reorganization, Carrie Dossick is leading exploration to a novel, and what we believe will be a fruitful partnership with the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) for our sponsored research. CSDE currently supports population science research and graduate student training with three cores: grants administration, science, and computing. The idea behind this initiative is to allow CBE researchers to benefit from CSDE’s expertise, use the partnership to complement current CBE strengths, and amplify the impact of the time of CBE faculty put into sponsored research proposals.


Read more from Dean Cheng.