Augustana to host undergrad research conference
February 15, 2013
Augustana College is hosting a one-day conference, “Promoting Undergraduate Research at Liberal Arts Colleges,” on Saturday, April 6, in Carlsson Evald Hall, 3601 7th Ave., Rock Island, Ill.
Registration information is available online or by contacting Dr. Ellen Hay at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 794-8614. The registration fee of $50 for the day includes lunch and snacks.
The conference will bring faculty, staff and administrators from across the country together to share success stories and best practices, as well as the challenges involved in encouraging more participation in undergraduate research on the part of both students and faculty. Keynote speaker Dr. Julio Rivera is provost of Carthage College in Wisconsin and president-elect of the national Council on Undergraduate Research.
Colleges must provide these kinds of research opportunities or risk being left behind, said Dr. Hay, an Augustana College professor organizing the event. Studies show that students who engage in research as undergraduates have higher rates of graduate school enrollment, better communication skills, and are more satisfied with their college experience.
In spite of the benefits, Dr. Hay said it can be difficult to convince students and faculty to participate. Some students may not feel they have the time, energy or knowledge to engage in research projects, and sometimes faculty are not offered any incentives to assume a more active role in the process.
Augustana College established a program called “Augie Choice” which provides students with $2,000 to support a qualifying hands-on learning experience of their choice, including research projects. “Augie Choice has certainly helped us encourage more student research,” said Dr. Hay. “Senior capstone requirements, summer research opportunities and public celebrations of student accomplishments all work to build an institutional culture supporting research,” she added.
In addition to the keynote speaker, the conference will feature a variety of concurrent sessions on topics such as securing funding, scaffolding background learning, celebrating student work, rewarding faculty and changing institutional culture.
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