New Office and Director Lead Strong Charge to Grow Student Research
In 2016, Kent State took a major step toward its commitment to research and putting students first. In September of that year, the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs formed the Office of Student Research. Research Vice President Paul DiCorleto said the office better positions RASP to carry out the university’s strategic priorities.
“President Warren believes student research is a vital component to our success as a research university, and I could not agree more,” he said. “Starting students in research early will not only provide a great experience for the undergraduate, but will bolster the level of research activity on the campus.”
Under the leadership of Ann Gosky — former director of the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement at University College — the OSR already has expanded participation in the Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) programs.
“The purpose of the office is to engage students in what we know to be a highimpact practice,” said OSR Director Ann Gosky.
Gosky said research can increase student’s connections to the university, capture their interest and make their classroom studies come alive, improve critical-thinking skills, help them to be more confident and selfdirected, and aid them in making career choices.
“Ann knows Kent State, and she’s worked with our students in various capacities over many years,” said Dr. Doug Delahanty, Associate Vice President for Research Faculty Development. “She understands what we’re trying to accomplish and she knows how to engage students in meaningful scholarly experiences.”
The undergrad symposium in March 2017 marked the event’s fourth year and boasted nearly 250 students presenting 180 posters — roughly a 40 percent increase over 2016. The event highlighted Kent State students’ academic diversity, with presenters coming from over three dozen majors. Most notably, the symposium saw participation from the arts and fashion nearly double over the previous year.
The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) hosted 35 students in its inaugural year; in 2017, the program welcomed 51 undergraduate researchers. “I think there’s a new energy and enthusiasm around undergraduate research,” Gosky said. “That was evident in the increased student participation and a greater number of faculty stepping in to mentor students.”
As the office develops, Gosky and RASP will seek to engage students in growing a research community through events, seminars, research-focused student clubs, and providing opportunities for individual and collaborative research.
The website posts research-focused events both on and off campus, and makes available financial resources like travel stipends and student research grants.
Gosky said she is also working with the Graduate Student Senate and University Libraries on a mentorship program that will benefit grads and undergrads alike.
“As graduate students leave here, they’ll be teaching undergrads, and this gives them valuable experience doing that now,” Gosky said. “At the same time the undergraduates will receive the benefit of learning skills the graduate students have developed, such as making posters and working through the research process.”
In December, Gosky launched the Sophomore Research Experience, a mentorship program funded by Federal Work-Study dollars that lets students work paid jobs in research labs at no cost to the faculty member’s department. At least 15 students already are in place for the Spring Semester.