The Value of Research

Many people ask why research is so important to UNLV and other universities. Below, we have answered a few common questions.

What research seeks to accomplish

Research seeks to advance the existing body of knowledge in virtually all disciplines. Although stereotypical depictions suggest research is conducted in laboratories, it is actually performed in virtually all subjects – from English to physics, from health sciences to history, from chemistry to criminal justice. Different methods are employed, but, at its most fundamental level, research seeks to expand understanding.

Why faculty conduct research

Faculty members are tasked with discovering and creating new knowledge and sharing that knowledge – as well as their systematic methods of acquiring it – with students. Faculty members who perform research gain the respect of their colleagues, stay at the forefront of their fields, and are able to share their disciplines’ latest developments with students. They tend to collaborate with scholars from other universities, consider new interpretations and methods, and bring valuable grant funding to the university.

Benefits to Students

Teaching and research are far from mutually exclusive; they are, in fact, complementary activities. Students benefit tremendously from involvement in hands-on research experiences and develop valuable practical and analytical skills from their participation. Faculty who conduct research share up-to-date information with students and give them the opportunity to explore fields of interest in greater depth. The best and brightest students are often attracted to a university because of the opportunity to work closely with faculty; as a result, outstanding research programs tend to help recruit great students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Solving Community Problems

The public benefits when sophisticated faculty expertise is employed to improve quality of life. Research addresses a variety of pertinent local and state issues, solves practical problems, and encourages economic diversification. UNLV is particularly committed to conducting research that is beneficial to the community, state, and region.

Economic Vitality

University research creates knowledge that can lead to new technologies, commercial products, and development of industries that can have a significant impact on the economy. UNLV researchers are working to create such new technologies and intellectual property with commercialization potential. In addition to providing a revenue stream to the university, this could also bring business opportunities and jobs to our area.

How Higher Education Views Research

Research is critical to the advancement of UNLV’s reputation among colleges and universities. Research success is a key indicator of the sophistication of a university; many believe it is the yardstick by which academic reputation is measured. UNLV continues to gain respect throughout the country because its research is highly regarded. If it seeks to gain even greater respect in the academic community, supporting research is the way to go about it.

How is UNLV Performing So Far in the World of Research?

UNLV has made tremendous strides in the last several years in building infrastructure that significantly advances the university’s research agenda. There are many performance measures that indicate research success, including research funding, student participation in doctoral programs, and scholarly publication productivity among faculty. One point of pride for UNLV is its inclusion in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching category of “Research Universities (Higher Research Activity). This places UNLV in the company of many fine institutions and confirms its status as a nationally recognized research institution. However, UNLV aspires to become a “Top Tier University” and one measure of would be to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s highest distinction: “Research Universities (Highest Research Activity).” This would place UNLV among the very best universities in the U.S.

Building Research at UNLV

Rankings such as these demonstrate institutional research sophistication and most certainly aid the university as it endeavors to enhance its academic reputation. It is important to note, however, that these improvements are the result of strategic planning designed to build research infrastructure in recent years. The institution is just beginning to reap the benefits of this planning. Naturally, additional support of research infrastructure is necessary for the institution to continue its upward trajectory.