Monday, March 18, 2013

A focus on undergraduate research

Last summer, Bloomsburg University’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (URSCA) awards program supported 28 students with stipends to conduct faculty-mentored projects. This summer we expect to see that number only grow.

URSCA introduces students to research under the guidance of faculty mentors. Administered by the Office of Sponsored Research and Grants, the undergraduate research program promotes high-level student-learning outcomes through experiences outside the classroom. The goal is to establish a university-wide, sustainable model for undergraduate research on campus.

The URSCA award provides opportunities for students to work closely with faculty in the humanities, arts, social sciences, life sciences, mathematics, physical sciences and education. Students experience the process of research and scholarship as a creative intellectual activity.

The program is open to all undergraduate students enrolled at Bloomsburg University. The URSCA award provides stipend support of up to $6,000 to students during their summer undergraduate research, scholarship or creative activity. Check for a full description with eligibility requirements.

URSCA is modeled on the grant-seeking process:

  • Students collaborate with potential faculty mentors to define and develop a project.
  • Applicants write research proposals for their projects.
  • A faculty committee reviews the proposals and recommends awards.
  • Students carry out the work during the 12-week summer session, May 9 to Aug. 20, 2013.
  • Students submit a summary or technical paper or provide a poster or oral presentation at the spring research day.
  • Through their participation in an undergraduate research project, students will be able to:
  • Apply information on human cultures and the physical and natural world to scholarly or creative endeavors.
  • Apply intellectual and practical skills to scholarly or creative endeavors.
  • Apply ethical reasoning to scholarly or creative endeavors.
  • Refine one’s self-identity in a career or profession.
  • Use written and oral communication at a level expected of young professionals in scholarly or creative careers.
  • Work collaboratively in a team setting to achieve a scholarly or creative objective.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fostering a diverse and inclusive campus

“Young people, prepare yourselves as best you can for a world that grows more challenging every day — get the best education you can, and couple that education with real-life experience in social justice work.”

Julian Bond, civil rights activist and former chairman of the NAACP, shared thoughts like these as the keynote speaker of Bloomsburg University’s 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Banquet.

Building on Bond's important message, BU aims to create an inclusive climate for a diverse group of students, staff, faculty and administrators. One of the steps we've taken to make our university an even more welcoming and supportive community was to conduct a diversity climate survey. The survey will help us better understand campus community members' experiences with and perceptions of diversity and inclusion at BU.

Diversity Climate Survey

An university-wide Climate Survey, conducted in fall 2012 by the Office of Planning and Assessment, received 2,113 responses. “Climate” is the atmosphere of an organization as perceived by its members. An organization’s climate is reflected in:

  • its structures, policies and practices
  • the demographics of its members
  • the attitudes and values of its members and leaders;
  • and the quality of personal interactions. 

It includes perceptions of inclusiveness, friendliness, cooperation, professionalism, recognition, support and opportunities for advancement.

The survey included items about overall satisfaction at the university, evaluation of the work environment and leadership, access to and satisfaction with academic resources, and support and career development issues such as promotion, tenure, mentoring and retention.

Findings from this survey build on earlier efforts to provide a benchmark for Bloomsburg University and gauge current perceptions. Results and final recommendations will be used to prioritize and implement changes to foster a diverse and inclusive campus community.