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Setting the bar for collaborative research

ReEntry cast members
BSC Chemistry Professor Dr. Laura Stultz works with students in a recent lab session. Stultz and Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Pamela Hansen received an NSF grant on integrating scientific research into undergraduate classes.

As many as 30 professors from around the South recently came to BSC for a workshop on how to integrate collaborative research into their undergraduate classes. The two-day workshop, organized by BSC Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Pamela Hanson and Professor of Chemistry Dr. Laura Stultz, was funded primarily by a National Science Foundation grant Hanson and Stultz received to work on transforming undergraduate science education.

The workshop, held Oct. 10-12, brought together several small teams of faculty with shared research interests, from environmental chemistry to plant-insect interactions and the analysis of archaeological artifacts. The goal: to share innovative ways to get students hands-on research experience and to explore opportunities for collaboration across disciplines and among different institutions.

"This was a great opportunity for Birmingham-Southern to host this conference and is a tribute to the work our faculty have done," said BSC Provost Dr. Mark Schantz. "It shows we're setting the bar nationally for collaborative research in the sciences."

Stultz and Hanson have been working together on strengthening student research and promoting inter-disciplinary collaboration. They have shared their own combined research on anticancer ruthenium complexes with students in biology and chemistry courses and presented their results—including the fact that students gained a greater understanding of all aspects of the scientific method—at the 2013 national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

At the workshop, breakout groups looked at current reforms in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education; how to establish, maintain, and assess teaching-research networks; and how to find funding for additional projects. Participants will also learn about virtual research opportunities from a representative of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education.

To find out more detail about the conference and about Hanson's and Stultz's work, click here.