Undergraduate research project leads to grants, possible publication for three Tusculum College faculty members
Participation in a cross-discipline research project has resulted in three faculty members at Tusculum College receiving individual grants from the Appalachian College Association of $2,500 for each professor participant.
Dr. Amy Colombo, assistant professor of English; Dr. Brian Pope, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Tom Harlow, assistant professor of psychology, have been working on a collaborative research project as part of the UNC Asheville Partnership for Undergraduate Research. The project, which encourages the development of faculty/undergraduate research, provides the grants to those participating, as well as offers a chance for participants to see their research published.
“The University of North Carolina at Asheville has really been a leader in the efforts to increase undergraduate research opportunities,” said Colombo. “They are recognized as an institution that is leading the efforts to provide more of these opportunities.”
As a result, UNC Asheville has not only developed the granting mechanism that the Tusculum professors were recipients of, but also developed an online research publication as an outlet for the undergraduate research projects to be published.
“When our research projects are complete, we, along with our student participants, will have the opportunity to present at the UNC Ashville Conference in the fall,” said Pope. “At that point, we will also be able to submit our research for publication in the Research Journal.”
“We are very proud to have our faculty recognized for the work they do, and also pleased that they are making an impact with research projects with undergraduate students. This provides our students an opportunity that is not available at many other undergraduate institutions,” said Dr. Kim Estep, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
According to Harlow, being involved in this project with ACA and UNC Asheville “will not only help faculty with tenure and scholarship, but allow the College to emphasize the strengths it has in instructing undergraduates.
“We can do hands-on, long-term instruction of undergraduates in research that is not prevalent in many colleges or universities today.”
The focus of the faculty-student research project will be “What Are the Effects of Looking on the Bright Side,” Pope said, and the research will involve all three instructors as well as four student collaborators. Students include Lena Eidson-Kelly, Danielle Armstrong, Amanda Kyker and Megan Ownby.
“This is a collaborative effort with social sciences and humanities, as well as with faculty and students,” Harlow said. “We hope this will inspire other faculty to engage other departments and work more collaboratively on research projects with our students.”
Tusculum College, the oldest college in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, is a civic arts institution committed to developing educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. About twenty-four hundred students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and four off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.