Five minutes with Daniel Scholl

By MAKENZIE HUBER Editor-in-Chief

The “Five minutes with” series focuses on an SDSU faculty, student or member of the Brookings community. The interviewer spends five minutes speaking with a person to learn their specialty or something they are passionate about.


Daniel Scholl is the director of Research and Development. He previously served as interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and associate dean for the college beforehand.

Q:  What are some of your responsibilities as vice president of Research and Development?

A: What our job here, well I believe the division of research and development, is to provide and enable research, scholarly activity, creative activity, throughout SDSU, on the main campus and distributed around the state.

I say research, creativity and scholarly activity to be complete because we really do encompass all of those things, those products of faculty excellence, expertise and creativity. For natural scientists and biologists, that would be experimental work typically in a biological field, but for a professor in the literary field that may be creating new literature or studies of literature. For a musician it might be creating new works, composition, creating new music and performing it.

All of these things that come out of faculty training and personal excellence — our job is to enable that. It’s a pretty diffusely-defined job but by promoting that what we try to do is to help link potential sponsors of these activities that are outside the university up together with our faculty who have certain interests and abilities that can meet sponsors’ objectives… It also includes faculty training, development and preparation for funding proposals that are competitive and they can succeed readily in competitions amongst their colleagues from across the country, and sometimes at the international level.

Q: What are some exciting things coming up in research?

A: What I see that’s exciting about SDSU is that we have the potential to engage and research collaboratively between colleges and between departments.

In other words, multi-disciplinary or transdisciplinary research — we can do that very easily because the barriers between our colleges are very, very small. There is no research collaborative relationship we can’t establish and strengthen if we just work at it a little bit here. 

It’s not that way everywhere else — that’s what I’m excited about, being able to bring different disciplines together to respond to funding opportunities. But it’s not because of the funding, it’s because of the solutions, the problems that we’re solving that are important both to the sponsors and to us and really to society.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about SDSU?

A: SDSU is a good fit. It’s a smaller campus with big university abilities, but a small campus feel. So it’s an academically, intellectually stimulating environment and it’s a really good fit. After working at many universities I feel like I’m really at home here.