Friday, December 19, 2014

Putting theory into practice

A phenomenon is occurring across our campus as the amount of undergraduate research grows each semester and each summer. Yes, I said undergraduate research. Traditionally research in higher education has been reserved for graduate studies, a staple for master thesis work and doctoral candidacy.

Here at Bloomsburg University, we’ve added a third component.

We take pride in the way we integrate out-of-classroom experiences into our undergraduate curriculum. Research and creative work provide students with a richer academic experience and allow them to hone the skills they will use in their professions.

In labs, studios, auditoriums and elsewhere, students are working at a professional level. In the sciences, for example, Kevin Ball, associate professor of psychology, has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurochemical aspects of addiction.

Working with students, Ball’s research may suggest ways to combat addiction. In the arts, the members of BU’s Jazz Ensemble have earned a place on a very public stage at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in the summer of 2015, an experience that combines performance with an opportunity for international travel.

These two successes and others like them are worth celebrating. The redesigned and expanded 2014 edition of Research and Creative Activities includes in-depth stories about projects, as well as a broad overview of the various activities — research and creative — students and faculty have undertaken in the past year.

The publication includes:
  • A story about biology professor John Hranitz’s research on bees and the ongoing threat of hive collapse.
  • A study of how high-fat diets may impair learning ability.
  • A project by a business professor and two students that could enable researchers to analyze data in medical records while maintaining patient privacy.
These successes and valuable research experiences carry our students to the next level. This is evident from a recent email we received from East Carolina University praising two of our alumni who are enrolled at its Brody School of Medicine. The program specifically mentioned how well Bloomsburg University prepared these doctoral students, both of whom have made such an impression that ECU is hoping to recruit more Huskies.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Husky pride that binds us

In this age of ever-expanding digital communications, written correspondence seems like a dying art. However, there’s something personal about letters that cannot be replicated through text, email or social media.

Earlier this semester university correspondence went full circle. I wrote a letter to our alumni, university friends and supporters highlighting the quality of education here at Bloomsburg University and how we measure its success. One example I used came directly from a recent graduate, Julie Gould.

Julie emailed me this past summer to mention how happy she was about her education and how the academic support she received in and out of the classroom enabled her to land a job within weeks of graduating in May. Her story epitomizes the daily impact our faculty and staff have on our students, which leads to personal and professional success for our graduates.

Julie’s story not only touched me as Bloomsburg University’s president, it resonated with an alumnus from the Class of 1982 now living in Florida. After 32 years, he admitted this was the first piece of correspondence he’s received from the university that inspired him to respond.

In a letter to me, he said he is very grateful of the education he received here and the support that led to his post-graduate success. Much like Julie, this alumnus said he was able to make important connections through his academic department and the university’s recruitment program to land a job soon after graduation. That entry-level position spurred him onto a very successful career. A journey I’m confident will be shared by Julie.

How do I know?

I’ll use this alumnus’ own words ...

“To summarize, and to concur with Ms. Gould, when you attend Bloomsburg as a student you don’t realize the quality of education and the experience the university provides you. It only becomes apparent when you get out into the workforce and match up with graduates from other universities or work side by side with others that you begin to realize the quality of education you received at Bloomsburg. I am proud that I attended Bloomsburg, and it did prepare me for a lifetime of success.”

For me, this letter, so heartfelt and personal, is a keeper.

#SenseOfCommunity #ProfessionalU