Pacific University Again Tops Northwest Private Universities in Research

For the second year in a row, Pacific University is the top private research university in the Pacific Northwest, according to figures collected and reported by the National Science Foundation. 

Pacific ranks ninth in research spending in the Far West, a region that includes the Pacific Northwest states as well as California, Hawai’i and Nevada. That list is topped by Stanford, the University of Southern California and the California Institute of Technology.

The figures come from the National Science Foundation’s annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey, which ranks research spending at the 914 institutions that responded. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, researchers at Pacific spent almost $6.3 million on research and development, more than twice as much as any other private college in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Often a staple of large public universities, research has become increasingly prominent at Pacific over the past decade, from the undergraduate level through its graduate programs, particularly in the health professions. Among the research projects underway at Pacific are:

  • David Brown, an associate professor in the School of Audiology, was awarded Pacific’s first Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health for his work to develop an audiology simulation program.
  • Deke Gunderson, a professor in the School of Natural Sciences, was awarded a grant from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife for his study of contaminants found in the blood plasma of green sturgeon. The work offers a window into the exposure of the fish to contaminants such as pesticides.
  • Jenelle Shanley, associate professor in the School of Graduate Psychology, is studying ways that Kenyan parents can promote the well-being of their children by adapting a culturally appropriate parent training program.

“The higher ranking is an indication of the university’s growth in research, doctoral and professional practice programs. This speaks volumes to the accomplishments of our faculty where research activity has grown significantly over the past five years," said John Miller, Pacific University provost and vice president for academic affairs. "This classification demonstrates Pacific’s commitment to connecting our students to professors who are cutting-edge researchers. This link between faculty scholarship and classroom and laboratory experience is what an education at Pacific is all about.”

Ann Barr-Gillespie, vice provost for research and executive dean of Pacific's College of Health Professions, voiced pride in the way Pacific’s faculty and students have made research a priority.

“We are proud of the innovation work of our talented faculty and student researchers,” she said. “We are confident that we will continue to grow our commitment to success in research at Pacific.”

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019