Dean's Blog: Powerful Partnerships: FARO
Ever since our early childhood days, we’ve been taught to share our toys and play well together. For many of us on a sports team, or in a musical band or orchestra, as Aristotle described, we learned the whole can be much greater than just the sum of its parts.
Fast forward your life to your time at Mason where innovative collaboration is strongly encouraged and seeking various perspectives is more than just a cultural value. Strong collaboration can be a critical component to your and our college’s success.
Some of Mason's College of Science valued collaborators include NASA; NOAA; NSF; NIH; EPA; The United Nations; the U.S. Army; U.S. Departments of State, Transportation, Homeland Security, and Justice; Facebook; the Smithsonian; Side-out Foundation; Fairfax and Prince William counties; MITRE; Black Sky; Northern Virginia Community Colleges; Nobel Life Sciences; and Ceres Nanoscience.
Based on our forensic program events last week, we can add one more innovative, impactful partnership to our list—FARO.
I joined our forensic science colleagues at the ribbon cutting of our FARO Forensics Lab, the first partnership of its kind in the world, and the public unveiling of Mason’s outdoor Forensic Research and Training facility, one of only eight in the country. The connection of their forensic technology and our scientific training and research expertise at our cutting-edge facilities will influence the next generation of criminal investigators for decades and positions our program as a premiere entity. Now that is powerful collaboration.
But that's not all who make this partnership great.
In addition to the Faro Technologies, Inc. team, at the Thursday ribbon cutting, we were also joined by folks from Mason's Office of Sponsored Programs as well as David Grossman, Mason's recently tapped Senior Director, Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration. At the Friday event, we connected with Supervisor Andrea Bailey from the Prince William County board of county supervisors, Ron Charmichael representing Mason's SciTech campus, and our primary administrative partners on the project, Associate Director of Research, Pat Gillevet, and Director of Facilities, Carrie McVicker. Our event guests included representatives from the Fairfax County coroner's office and police department and even some of our partners from the FBI. And at both events, Mason's Campus Police chief and deputy chief played a critical role in making the unique partnership come together. The right partners can make a good collaboration, great.
We’re constantly bringing new collaborators into the fold. Our recently announced academic partners span from Howard University to Rutgers University, to globally from Italy to Peru, and from Nepal to the University of Costa Rica and The International Science Council.
According to the blog of cloud-based intranet collaboration facilitating software, Jostle, "it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate how you and your people collaborate. Why? Because organizations that collaborate well are likely to be more financially successful, more culturally aligned, and have higher engagement rates."
I invite you to check out Jostle's seven reasons why collaboration is important and consider your own list of valued collaborators, both funding entities as well as professional colleagues.
How strong and long is your list? How many faculty from your department does it include? How about from our college and/or from elsewhere across Mason?
In looking at your list, if you have a strong collaboration that you'd like us to highlight, let us know. Or, if you are interested in growing your list of collaborators, Mason's interdisciplinary centers can help. The Institute of Biomedical Innovation, the Institute for Digital Innovation and Institute for a Sustainable Earth have no membership fees yet can improve your information flow, connect faculty and researchers aligned on common causes or have a network that could fill a project’s skill gaps.
Just getting started or, thanks to the pandemic, need to refresh your list? Sit next to someone new at your next faculty meeting. Read the college's enewsletter, or explore the website to learn of other cross disciplinary research efforts that interest you. At first you might think that cultivating relationships to collaborate might take more effort than you have. Yet over time, good collaborations can actually save time or provide perspective to get past a research roadblock which could be invaluable. And, working together to build our scientific community is candidly way more fun and enjoyable than doing something on your own.
Finding the right partner is not always easy. And relationship building takes time. Yet when one does find collaborators who enhance our creativity and impact, the possibilities are limitless.