President Choi completed his “First Five Fridays” vlog conversations, which the UM community was invited to watch and respond to. Choi officially assumed his role as President on Mar. 1.
In his final two mini-episodes, Choi discussed the role of the UM System and how he can support it with his own personal history as an engineer.
“The role of the UM system is really to provide outstanding opportunities for the campuses,” Choi said. “To provide the best education that we can, and also to enable faculty members to pursue their scholarship and their research.”
Specifically, Choi said it is important for the UM System to provide new resources and revenues that can be used to invest in academic research programs. Examples he gives are developing a vibrant philanthropic program, partnering with industries, and other more entrepreneurial endeavors.
Choi, himself, has observed the benefits of pursuing research. Not only did he form partnerships with industry members during his time as a former provost and executive vice president at the University of Connecticut, he also conducted his own research on the burning of hydrocarbon fuels at the International Space Station among other experiments.
“I’ve been involved in that project for over 30 years,” Choi said. “And I really enjoyed the intellectual curiosity that really peaked in me and also the opportunity to train graduate students who are now making their own important contributions in their own way.”
Choi has also been deeply involved in the external activities for getting academic pursuits off the ground.
“I [worked] with the legislatures, with the governor’s office, and philanthropic activities with the alums as well as corporations,” Choi said. “…That broad base of activity, working on the internal mechanics of running the academic affairs, but also providing resources from external sources to support the activities of the university, I think, are key elements…”
All of president Choi’s vlogs are available at www.umsystem.edu/president.