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 Researcher-in-Residence 2002-2004

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Bob was first introduced to the American University, Washington DC via several colleagues who were active with the Council for Excellence in Government and the School of Public Service, and a HUD scientist Dr. Dennis Crow, who took a sabbatical year to work for him at ICFI in GIS. From this networking, Prof. Larry Medsker offered a non-teaching "Researcher-in-Residence" adjunct role, and he supported College of Arts & Sciences in several initiatives over a three-year period, before moving back to Texas in 2005 to be near his wife's aging family.

AU had quite good teaching labs for undergraduate GIS (geographical information systems) but only a few departments were yet fully availing themselves of the power of spatial analysis or visualisation. Dr. Crow and Bob offered week-long GIS seminars during faculty breaks. These started out by presenting what could be done, then worked with examples faculty brought from their curriculum. Some segments were videotaped for sharing with the non-profit TED network.

This was all done under the aegis of AU's Center for Teaching Excellence, as it was called at the time, now the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning.

AU is not a Ph.D. granting university, so its Master's programs didn't naturally lead to teaching or research. Larry Medsker was concerned the Biology and Chemistry MS curricula lacked focus, and successfully sought a Sloan "grant that encouraged and promoted the development of the Professional Science Master's degree, a two-year degree, heavily oriented toward coursework that provides a sound basis for work outside academia in scientific and technical fields."

Greg Welsh, Prof Larry & Bob worked to develop this with existing faculty and nearby industry. They put several concepts into this degree: students would learn some business methodology to be taught by MBA faculty and intellectual property/patent law principles by Law school faculty. Students would work on a capstone project in a small team, on topics nominated by industry and at the end of their project advisory industry members were part of the judging panel. In turn, each sponsoring firm got free access to the Washington Research Library Consortium ALADIN for that year, plus for a succeeding year if they hired a PSM graduate.

In addition to curriculum development, he also hosted Professional MS "briefing lunches". The end result is an approved, still operating, PSM two-year program. He was fortunate enough to be featured in their promotional graphics, emphasising the "Applied Computing" track with Data Mining, Modeling & Simulation, Networks. This has now become "Quantitative Analysis" - also offered are "Biotechnology" and "Environmental Assessment" tracks.

AU's "School of Education, Technology & Health" has a number of health promotion programs. Having seen what Bob had done the previous year with the use of IT within PSM, Dr. Robert Karch engaged his assistance to improve networking tools available to International Institute of Health Promotion. Quoting: IIHP is a worldwide interdisciplinary network of prestigious institutions working in the health promotion field. The IIHP was formed in 1994 to serve as a global center for the development and advancement of health promotion policies, programs, services and research. As the headquarters for the Institute, the NCHF serves as the facilitator for health promotion efforts of more than 50 cooperating institutions from 25 nations"