April 10, 2003
April 12 Whitworth Conference to Showcase Diverse Student Research Projects
In the first conference of its kind at Whitworth College, more than 50 undergraduate students will present the results of research they have conducted on subjects ranging from genetic algorithms and developmental psychology to states' rights and privacy law.
The conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Oral presentations will take place in Dixon Hall and poster presentations will be located in the Hixson Union Building.
"We wanted to give the students, many of whom have worked closely with faculty over a long period to do research, the opportunity to share their work with a college-wide forum," says Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gordon Jackson. "It's an opportunity for the students to experience at first hand what their professors and other academics do: conduct original research and present it for scrutiny and critique by others in that discipline. We were encouraged to see this high a level of participation for the first time out of the gate."
Jackson attributes the high participation in part to the many opportunities students have to be involved in research at Whitworth and to the increased support and recognition that faculty and student scholarship receives at the college.
The proportion of Whitworth faculty engaged in research and scholarly writing is rising at nearly three times the rate of all U.S. private four-year colleges over the past decade, according to a national poll of college faculty conducted every three years by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute. However, the poll also shows that Whitworth professors are more likely than their peers to involve students in their research work and to report teaching as their primary interest.
Each of the students presenting at Saturday's conference has been mentored by a faculty scholar. In many cases, the students are participating in faculty research projects funded by outside grants. Over the past five years, the number of grants submitted by Whitworth faculty has doubled and the number of grants funded has tripled.
"This is a reflection of the diligent work our faculty has done to collaborate with students on joint research projects and to encourage and support students in their own research work," Jackson says. "The objective is to give our students some practice in presenting before other students and faculty. And it's also excellent preparation for graduate school, which many of our students will be attending right after graduating from Whitworth."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Gordon Jackson, associate dean for academic affairs, (509) 777-4303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or email@example.com.
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