Bryan College has taken another step to encourage student research efforts, joining the Council on Undergraduate Research this summer.
Faculty members and students listen to a presentation during the first Undergraduate Research Conference this past April.Dr. Salvatore Musumeci, a member of the faculty committee spearheading the drive to develop a formal research program at the college, said affiliation with the national organization will broaden student and faculty opportunities.
“Their catchword is ‘Learning Through Research,’ and membership opens all sorts of avenues,” he said. “They address issues such as how to work with smaller budgets and have opportunities for students to apply what they learn in the classroom.”
Membership in the Council includes large research-driven institutions to schools similar in size to Bryan. “They are all trying to get upper-level undergraduates involved in research that the faculty is involved in,” he said. “Membership allows us as a small school to engage in the conversation. It gives us more access to calls for papers, notices of conferences that faculty and students can attend, and lots of peer-reviewed journals our students can submit papers to.”
This summer, Dr. Musumeci, Dr. Brian Eisenback, Prof. Bill Harle, and Ms. Keri-Lynn Paulson have been working to develop the initiative they created this past year when Bryan hosted its first undergraduate research conference.
“We’re trying to flesh out what research looks like at Bryan College,” he said. “It’s different than at large schools, but it fits our role as faculty and mentors. We are committed to honoring the college’s motto and mission as we challenge students to excel academically, specifically through research they do.
“Today, having a degree and good grades only allows (a student) to apply to certain graduate schools. It’s going to conferences, speaking, publishing in a journal that sets them apart. We need our students to demonstrate that they are just as good as those who go to large research institutions. With this experience, our students are more competitive when they apply for graduate school or for a job.”
Part of the planning process this summer is how to involve more faculty and to expand research initiatives into areas such as art, communications, and music.
“We’re not asking a faculty member to write a million-dollar grant, but to try to find a project to show off a student’s talent,” he said.