A nice event summarized here in Technician. (Thank goodness they weren’t trying to write about sports).
Woodson said when he arrived at N.C. State after working in various capacities at Purdue University for more than 25 years, he said he knew this university was “world class and had real strengths,” but said he saw it as a case of “where the sum of the parts weren’t greater than the whole.”
Woodson said the accomplishments of the faculty members at N.C. State were astounding, and unlike Purdue, which had three elected members to the National Academy of Sciences at the time when he left that institution, N.C. State had 11 elected members of the NAS, and 11 members elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
Despite these accomplishments, Woodson said N.C. State was not getting the attention it deserved, and it was having trouble keeping its best faculty members.
Because of this, Woodson said he has been especially interested in improving N.C. State’s brand, because although it may seem trivial, maintaining a strong brand name is critical in keeping the best faculty members and researchers. The rise in reputation is what has brought national attention to the institution, and culminated in significant research initiatives, Woodson said.
Among these include President Barack Obama’s announcement that N.C. State would lead a $140 million consortium concentrating on semi-conductor applications, as well as the initiative announced last year for a $60 million National Security Agency laboratory to be installed on Centennial Campus.
Woodson dismissed the notion that the U.S. News World Rankings measure the quality of an education a university offers.
“U.S. News does nothing to measure the quality of the faculty,” Woodson said. “All it measures is how much money you spend on your students and the size of your classes.”
Woodson said there is not a single public university in the top-20 colleges in the United States, according to U.S. News.
“Do you believe Berkeley is not as good as Duke?” Woodson said. “U.S. News is not a good metric for the quality of an institution’s education. People’s perception of the University drive their decisions. It drives students and it drives faculty, and it’s hard to maintain a world-class faculty when they feel they are not at a world-class recognized institution.”
Woodson said he considers other metrics to measure a university’s success.
“How much is your research recognized around the University?” Woodson said. “How often are The New York Times and the Washington Post citing your scientists for the work they do. While it’s hard to capture, I want to lead an institution where we have the ability, and we have the programs which haven’t been clearly articulated to the rest of the world.”
“Your best brand is the graduates, and what they do, and how proud they are of the University,” Woodson said. “I went to Silicon Valley, where the Chief Operating Officer of Apple [Jeff Williams] is an N.C. State graduate. I threw an alumni event, and we had 200 people there, and it was the first time a chancellor of this University had been in California to hold an event like that.”