From the desk of Chancellor Everts

Commitment to sponsored student research and funding opportunities
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The options for student research at Appalachian State University are robust and include opportunities within the university’s colleges as well as community-based research projects designed around student interest and community needs. In keeping with the strategic plan for the university, we are committed to a more intense research profile, particularly in environmental issues and health-related initiatives. On the innovation front, we are proud of the work being conducted in AppLab, an interdisciplinary design-thinking approach to finding real-world solutions; and ongoing research in renewable transportation, most notably our solar vehicle project and the student and faculty members of Team Sunergy.

Since the university opened an institutional Office of Student Research (OSR) 11 years ago, it has funded 4,700 student projects. Appalachian’s acceptance rate to the two main student research conferences – the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research – is usually first or second among UNC system institutions. During 2015-16, OSR administered 678 student research grant applications – a record for the office. OSR funded 648 student grants (266 research and 382 travel) totaling $134,969; of these grants, 412 were for undergraduate research.

Recently, two undergraduate research students were highlighted in university news: Eric Burton, a senior geography major and recent winner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship, and Devin K. Hoffman, recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Both young men stated they chose Appalachian because of our undergraduate research program. Both agreed Appalachian faculty are not focused on Ph.D. students and can provide a richer, more meaningful undergraduate experience. “The focus on undergraduates here is good,” Burton said. “I’m not doing busy work, but working on my own project. Professors have the time and freedom to work with the students…” Promoting scholarship is a key component of Appalachian’s strategic plan, and the university is committed to increasing sponsored research programs and funding opportunities for both faculty and students.

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