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Focus on scholarly inquiry, APSU launches new Office of Undergraduate Research

With a heightened focus on encouraging students to pursue scholarly activities, Austin Peay State University has established the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR).

Dr. Rebecca Jones, assistant professor of chemistry, recently was tapped as director of the new office.

With the creation of this office, we are advancing a culture of scholarship at APSU, Jones said. Its great that we are receiving tremendous support from the administration for this office.
With a heightened focus on encouraging students to pursue scholarly activities, Austin Peay State University has established the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR).

Dr. Rebecca Jones, assistant professor of chemistry, recently was tapped as director of the new office.

“With the creation of this office, we are advancing a culture of scholarship at APSU,” Jones said. “It's great that we are receiving tremendous support from the administration for this office.”

Currently, the OUR is administering the Presidential Scholars Program. A committee is reviewing proposals for the May 1, 2010, to April 30, 2011, award period. The committee's selection of Presidential Scholars will be announced April 1.

The Research Scholars Program works to promote independent research training and creative activity with scholarly merit and supports the incorporation of research training into the collegiate educational experience. The program encourages collaboration between faculty and student researchers and provides students with experience in a competitive proposal process.

“We fund projects from every discipline,” Jones said. “This program is inclusive, in that all undergraduate students from art to zoology can participate.”

The program provides $3,000 in support of each independent undergraduate research project. All full-time undergraduate students of APSU, with the support of a faculty mentor, are eligible to apply.

Future projects include building an informative Web page for OUR that highlights undergraduate research opportunities both on and off campus, such as the Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer program. Several organizations, such as the National Science Foundation and the American Mathematical Society, make possible a number of opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research projects each summer at various locations throughout the U.S.

“We want to promote to students the value of going off campus for the summer to work in a research capacity at another school,” Jones said.

Future goals of OUR include developing summer research experiences on the APSU campus and seeking external funding for students to travel to present findings and information from their research projects. OUR also is currently planning the Fifth Annual APSU Research Forum, slated for April 9, 2010.

“It's exciting to see all these areas come under one canopy,” Jones said.
The Office of Undergraduate Research is located in the Sundquist Science Complex, Room D322.

For more information about the Office of Undergraduate Research, call Jones at (931) 221-7621 or e-mail to jonesr@apsu.edu. -- Melony Shemberger