Binghamton Research Days to take center stage
April 23, 2012Tweet
Students and faculty will have the opportunity to learn more about research on campus at Binghamton Research Days.
“We’ve got a big research university here. A lot of faculty members are putting a great deal of energy into their research, and what’s the connection to the undergraduate students?” said Don Loewen, vice provost for undergraduate education and chair of German and Russian studies. “You know, how do they actually benefit from what’s going on, maybe without even realizing it in their classes?”
Binghamton Research Days will be held April 25-27 and are composed of a series of independently organized events in conjunction with a keynote address and poster session sponsored by the Office of the Provost.
“It’s smaller things that are happening in departments, in residential communities, and in the classrooms,” Loewen said. “We really think that’s important, that it’s not a series of large-scale events.”
Loewen said the keynote event in Old Union Hall at 2 p.m. April 25 will be the focal point of Research Days. President Harvey Stenger, Interim Vice President for Research Bahgat Sammakia, Interim Provost Jean-Pierre Mileur, Distinguished Professor of History Thomas Dublin, Professor of Chemistry Omowumni Sadik and Watson student Robert Dextre will speak.
The faculty will cover the value of research and why it matters to undergraduates at an institution like Binghamton, Loewen said. “It’s not so much specifically about their own research, but about the idea of research for faculty members, and for themselves in particular - how they came to see it as a valuable thing,” he said.
Stenger will cover why research matters to the University on a large scale, and talk about his own research. “His perspective, from the institutional but also from the personal point of view, I think will help us to understand more about his sense of how research fits into the long-term thinking of the University,” Loewen said.
Undergraduate and graduate students will present their research at the poster presentation session from 1:30-3:30 p.m., also in Old Union Hall. The presentations include research from various schools and departments, including art history, bioengineering and psychology.
As a part of Research Days, faculty members are encouraged to take a few minutes from class time to introduce themselves as researchers.
“Hopefully students will have some questions and be interested in it,” Loewen said.
The idea for Binghamton Research Days started with the Task Force on Undergraduate Education for the Digital Generation report from April 2011, Loewen said. Among other things, the task force asked students what they would like to see on campus. Loewen said many students said they wanted to know what faculty members do outside the classroom.
The idea was brought up again last fall when members from the task force were developing the Undergraduate Research Center, Loewen said. Those who had been on the task force and working on the Undergraduate Research Center thought it was a great idea and wanted to make it happen on campus.
“It actually started from comments made by students about what they would like to see happening, and I think that in many ways that idea is still the heart of Binghamton Research Days,” he said.
Loewen hopes Binghamton Research Days will help bridge the gap between faculty research and undergraduate education, and get students interested in research.
“For some students, they don’t see that other side of faculty, that teaching is only a very limited proportion of our overall job assignment at a research university,” he said.
Loewen is confident Binghamton Research Days will be successful. “If we can get a lot of faculty members talking about their research in their classes, it will be a great success already,” he said.
The calendar for Binghamton Research Days can be found at http://research.binghamton.edu/events/researchdays/agenda.php
“I hope it’ll be a good experience for everybody,” Loewen said.