Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM
ALUMNI SUPPORTED UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AT A SMALL PRIVATE UNIVERSITY
Competing for external funding to support undergraduate research can be a challenge for faculty in universities with large teaching loads. Support by alumni who understand the difficulties faced by faculty in their undergraduate alma mater can be a key to building a successful undergraduate research program. At Olivet Nazarene University, a small contingency of alumni embraced the vision of supporting summer research for undergraduates working with faculty mentors. The first support came from a group who met at Homecoming and formed Olivet Research Associates. Fund raising through this group waxed and waned but allowed small grants to be used for summer research projects. Then two alumni had the vision of high quality research as an important building block for undergraduates. They decided to make a regular donation that would be sufficient to support research for three undergraduate students for ten weeks per summer with a small stipend for faculty mentoring. This provided a stimulus for students and faculty alike. The alumni wished the program to be named for favorite professors who inspired them with their commitment to excellence in academics. The donors expanded funding to encourage students to present papers at national meetings. Several students have now presented at Geological Society of America annual and sectional meetings. Interest has snowballed, creating enthusiasm among students to devote summers to engage in undergraduate research. Involvement in these research projects has served students well as they pursue graduate work.