N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson wants a more efficient university that brings in more federal research dollars and private gifts and better translates scientific discovery to practical use.
Officially installed Tuesday as NCSU's leader, Woodson laid out his vision for NCSU, one that he said must better capitalize on the university's strengths.
One way to do so is to cut through some red tape and tear down some of the walls between academic departments.
"The real opportunities for the future are at the intersection of disciplines and our professional fields," he said. "That means strengthening our interdisciplinary programs, lowering the barriers between disciplines and departments, being more nimble in our operations, developing academic programs of study across disciplines and bringing faculty together to promote interdisciplinary scholarship."
Woodson is thinking big. He wants to expand NCSU's tenure-track faculty, an improbable notion at many universities these days given the state of budgets at public institutions.
"You may be wondering how in a weak economy we can add tenure-track faculty." he said. "That's the challenge, right? The first part of the answer is that we can't do it all at once."
But without adequate tenure-track faculty, NCSU will fall behind on grant-writing and the training of graduate students, which in turn will limit the university's ability to conduct research and enroll grad students.
That, in turn, leads to an increase in the size of classes, he argues.
He also hopes to increase NCSU's $400 million endowment; many of NCSU's competitors have endowments twice as valuable, he said.
Woodson, the former provost at Purdue University, started work at NCSU in April.