Conferences enrich faculty and students

“It’s rare for students to have opportunities to pursue research at this level before enrolling in graduate programs”
In March, the fourth biannual College of Arts & Letters Conference at UNG afforded faculty and their national and international colleagues the opportunity to discuss the research they are pursuing within “culture and place.”

“Culture and place are critical areas of discussion in our increasingly global interactions with students and colleagues, so having a conference focused on research within those disciplines serves as a timely avenue for learning and connections,” said Dr. Chris Jespersen, dean of UNG’s College of Arts & Letters. “Through sharing original research and having open, creative discussions about the content, we advance the knowledge of the individual and the mission of our university to create leaders for a global society.”

Topics varied from exploring virtues within epics from ancient Greek and Indian culture to the role pedagogy plays in building culture among elementary students studying Spanish. These projects were presented by UNG faculty Dr. Michael Proulx, associate professor of history, and Dr. Kristi Hislope, associate head of the Department of Spanish, respectively.

Bringing similar opportunity for students, the 21st Annual Research Conference was held March 25 at the UNG’s Gainesville Campus, and featured myriad research projects being pursued by dozens of undergraduate students.

“It’s rare for students to have opportunities to pursue research at this level before enrolling in graduate programs,” said Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement. “Students learn much more readily and passionately when they get to pose the questions to themselves. This process builds more than scholarly skill; it builds character and an inquisitive nature, which will serve our students well as they transition into advanced degree programs and careers.”

The chance to choose a research area leads to some interesting questions that are often very relevant to current events. For example, what can we learn about the difficulties women face in career fields within science, technology, engineering and mathematics by looking
at what female video game enthusiasts experience while playing with or against male players? Giving students the chance to explore today’s topics through the lens of their choosing takes creativity and engagement to new heights.