Friday, November 19, 2010
Renewed by student research
Previously I posted about the wonderful ability of our undergraduates to embrace research and to tackle challenges that we place before them. I want to reiterate how effective this has been for me this semester and add emphasis to the personal benefits that exist for faculty members when we include our students in the research process. I have been fortunate to work with a Junior as a Research Mentor for our Undergraduate Research Day on campus. It has been really powerful for me to navigate this role with such a promising scholar -- but also to revisit some of the things I love about research and share those things with the students. Considering what goes in an abstract, the credibility of sources, the flow of ideas, and the heart of a project are parts of research that have become mundane, but were seen with fresh eyes when exploring this new world with the student. I have been so rewarded by this experience that I asked my students to work on submissions for a regional communication conference which offers a forum for undergraduate work. This can be challenging since I don't have a major and so there are no upper-level courses. However, the students have responded and several are working with me to submit their work to the conference by the end of next week. Feeling the pressure of the tenure clock can certainly make research feel like a chore or a burden. I wanted to post to encourage all of us in higher education to take a moment and remember the possibility and excitement of research and to, perhaps, feel ourselves rejuvenated by the process.