Unusual Academics

It’s not the tweed-jacket-and-turtleneck-sweater academic crowdpresenting their research findings to critical colleagues today.This time, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Smith Memorial StudentUnion, it’s undergraduates.

A year in the works, the Community, Culture and the UrbanEnvironment undergraduate research conference is inaugurated today.Accompanying 60 presentations of student research, 15 essaysselected from over 80 submissions to the undergraduate researchjournal INQ will be announced and their writers awarded during theconference’s luncheon.

Ann Marie Fallon, an assistant professor in University Studies,concocted the idea of an undergraduate journal and annual researchconference.

“We want to build a research community to introduce standards ofacademics,” Fallon said.

Fallon pointed out that students produce writing of betterquality when they have a forum wherein they can publish. “It’s asuseful as it’s for professors to have a place for students topublish their work,” Fallon said.

Prompted by the ten-year anniversary of the University Studiesprogram, Fallon gathered a seven-person undergraduate student boardand solicited the financial help of the McNair program.

The student board and Fallon examined other undergraduatepublications and, reflecting the unique nature of the UniversityStudies program, decided to create an interdisciplinaryjournal.

The journal’s vision statement distinguished the INQ journalfrom graduate and professional scholar’s journals.

“INQ is an interdisciplinary research journal designed to serveas a venue for undergraduates to showcase related works that mightnot otherwise have a forum for publication,” Fallon said.

The undergraduate board went through a blind review process,reading submissions without their authors names listed. The boardchose 15 to be published in this year’s journal and “only for now,”conferences are scheduled once annually, Fallon said.

At today’s conference, nominations for new undergraduate boardmembers for the fall will be accepted.

The research conference will open with remarks and aribbon-cutting from Provost Mary Kay Tetreault. Undergraduates willpresent their research findings from 8:30-11:30 a.m. in SMSU Rooms327, 328, and 329. Open discussions will follow eachpresentation.

During the Luncheon, in the SMSU Ballroom from 11:30 – 2 p.m.,awards will be presented and the 15 students being published in theINQ journal will be announced. Previous PSU President JudithRamaley, described by Fallon as a “major force in creatingUniversity Studies,” will deliver the speech “What will it mean tobe educated in the 21st century?”

“I’m very excited about this,” Fallon said, “showcasinginterdisciplinary student research – it is appropriate it come outof University Studies.”

For more information about the INQ Journal visithttp://www.inq.pdx.edu