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Feb. 1, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
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Research symposium submission deadline nears

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Feb. 13 is the deadline for Slippery Rock University students to submit a student-faculty research project proposal for presentation during the University’s April 10 “Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement.” The symposium, open to students in all academics fields, will provide a valuable learning experience and a graduate school and job-search credential, organizers said.
     “My fondest hope for the symposium is that we blow out the Multi-Purpose Room, that we have too many projects and won’t be able present them all in one day,” said Philip Tramdack, director of Bailey Library and symposium organizer.
      SRU changed the last word in the symposium title from “activity” to “achievement” to expand the perception of the symposium and draw more arts and humanities proposals, Tramdack said.
     “What we’re trying to do is broaden the project to attract more arts and humanities students, those in graphic arts, photography, sculpting and painting by emphasizing achievement in the arts,” Tramdack said. “We’re trying to offer a symposium that includes what you and I would consider traditional research projects in biology, physics, geology with projects that are reflective of research done in the humanities and the exceptional creative achievement that students do in the humanities.”
     Examples could include an in-depth exploration a topic in philosophy, creation of art or choreographing a dance, he said.
    Submissions must have a faculty sponsor. Students are asked to provide a 300-word abstract describing the project. Students will have the choice of creating a poster for display or offering a 10-minute oral presentation, mounting an art exhibit or creating a music, dance or spoken world performance, Tramdack said.
        Participation benefits undergraduate and graduate students in many ways, Tramdack said. It gives them experience and insight into a specific field related to their interests and career goals. It promotes learning and synthesis and provides valuable learning time with professors. Abstracts from every presentation will be published in “The Journal of Scholarly Endeavor,” showcasing the learning and teaching that takes place through collaboration.
      “One of the points of the symposium is to provide students with an opportunity to work with a professor, to have a discovery experience that goes beyond completing class work to really get into a subject and to experience a detailed level of involvement,” he said.
    Employers and graduate schools seek candidates who distinguish themselves.
    “Let’s say a biology student is trying to get into graduate school. This is exactly the sort of thing that they need to have on their resume to enhance their credentials,” Tramdack said. “Let’s say the student doesn’t want to go to graduate school and has been recommended for a medical products company. That is the sort of credential that a company recognizes, almost requires, of its hires.”
      Tramdack said the symposium elevates SRU’s reputation among prospective students who seek an institution offering abundant student-faculty research.
     “The more the University can provide special opportunities for student learning and setting itself apart, the more likely we are to compete successfully for the smartest, and most accomplished and motivated students,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is create opportunity of value for students. That is what it’s all about.”
    Collaboration reflects changes in the delivery of higher education with a mounting emphasis on distance education, peer review, social media and learning management systems.
      “Students come on here with different expectations. Their brains are wired the same but they learn differently. Having the University professor standing up in front of a class and lecturing is passive learning. That is the 19th century German university model. You go around the library today you’ll see students packed around tables four, five or six of them sitting together, talking and looking at a computer. What are they doing is they’re teaching each other. It’s peer education. What we are doing with the symposium is providing another kind of learning experience.”
      Seventy-five students participated last year, presenting in chemistry, communication, dance, education, geography, geology, the environment, parks and recreation, physics, physical education, women’s studies and English.
    Students can register online at: Late submissions will not be accepted.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.