UA Little Rock puts spotlight on research and creative activities

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Velmer Burton speaks with Tom Clifton, dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences, during the Sept. 14 “Research in the Rock” reception at the Jack Stephens Center. Photo by Joe Cline Jr./UA Little Rock Communications.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock celebrated the amazing research and creative endeavors of talented faculty and staff as well as their role in mentoring students in that endeavor. 

Faculty and staff gathered in the Jack Stephens Center on Sept. 14 to attend the “Research in the Rock” reception, which celebrated the 2017 edition of Research in the Rock magazine produced by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“UA Little Rock has steadily progressed to become one of the top research institutions in the state of Arkansas,” said Tammie Cash, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. “Our mission at ORSP is to make it as easy as possible for you to bring your ideas into reality.”

During the 2017 fiscal year, faculty and staff from UA Little Rock received more than $29 million in funding from state, federal and private agencies and produced an enormous body of research that encompasses science, humanities, medicine, engineering, business, education, community service, and more.

Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Velmer Burton detailed plans to increase student research opportunities with faculty members by offering 50 $1,000 grants to students participating in one-semester signature experiences.

“When students collaborate with faculty on research, they learn firsthand how experts think and how they solve practical problems,” Rogerson said. “Their teachers become their role models, mentors, and guides for lifelong learning.”

In an effort to increase student and faculty research, Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, interim vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School, announced several changes for the Student Research and Creative Works Expo.

Those changes include doubling the monetary awards for the graduate student winners of the expo and introducing an identical level of awards for undergraduate student winners, increasing the type of presentations, and exploring moving the expo to the Jack Stephens Center.

In addition, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research will increase funds provided for conference travel so that graduate students can have more opportunities to present their research at academic and professional conferences. An equal amount of funds is being made available for undergraduate students as well.

“These actions come at a time when the chancellor has called for a substantive signature research experience for undergraduate students, and the provost has called for the embracement of the teacher-scholar model by the faculty,” Bhattacharyya said.

“Their vision is simply a recognition that while pedagogy does formally begin in the classroom, it seamlessly transitions to the research lab, art studio, and any other venue of creative activity,” Bhattacharyya said. “Their vision also sets us on the path of a pervasive research and creative activity enterprise across the campus.”

In the upper right photo, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Velmer Burton speaks with Tom Clifton, dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences, during the Sept. 14 “Research in the Rock” reception at the Jack Stephens Center. Photo by Joe Cline Jr./UA Little Rock Communications.

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