Centre Research News
Undergraduate Research (UGR) at Centre
Centre students often reach a point where they are ready for challenges beyond traditional classroom discussion and testing. When they are ready for a new level of discovery, Centre provides students the opportunity to become partners in learning with Centre faculty.
Undergraduate research at Centre College is mentored scholarship. Mentored scholarship is an advanced activity conducted by an undergraduate with the guidance of a faculty (or otherwise qualified) mentor that furthers the knowledge of the student and aims to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.
During the undergraduate research experience, which may occur as part of an advanced class specifically centered on inquiry or in an independent, out-of-class setting, students will expect to:
1. “Do the discipline,” or engage in the kinds of creative or intellectual inquiry common to the discipline in which the research is conducted, in direct and continued contact with a mentor. This includes identifying and applying the tools, methods, and concepts appropriate to the discipline.
2. Collaborate with the mentor on sustained inquiry into a particular subject, which might be generated by the student, aligned with the mentor’s research program, or a combination of these. Collaboration includes taking initiative in advancing the line of inquiry and demonstrating autonomy in the application of research methods and skills.
3. Demonstrate deeper understanding of the process of research and the ways in which their intellectual or creative work aims to contribute to the broader frameworks, expressions, and discussions in the discipline. In some cases, this understanding may be demonstrated through the creation of a scholarly product that contributes to the discipline. In others, it may be demonstrated through sustained dialogue with the faculty mentor.
The nature of the partnership may vary according to the student’s field. A drama student might ask his professor to guide him in writing and producing a play, while a chemistry major might want to join her professor for a summer of intense laboratory research. Whatever the field, this collaborative work becomes an important bridge to significant work or graduate study beyond the Centre years.
In 2013, Centre College received a four-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to broaden undergraduate research opportunities. Read detailed information about this grant.
Read about Undergraduate Research at Centre:View PDF
How Students Can Get Involved In Research
• Talk to a professor who works in a field that interests you.
• Engage in research with any professor, not just with someone who teaches your major.
• Do research off-campus during the summer.
Ask a professor or visit Center for Career & Professional Development for more information.
• Explore the opportunities on the menu above (left).
This brochure contains lists of student academic achievement including:
• John C. Young Scholars,
• student-faculty collaborative research,
• inductees/nominees to national and international academic honor societies,
• inductees/nominees to leadership honor societies,
• recipients of prizes & awards,
• and internships.
2015-16 Centre Showcase brochure:View (PDF)
Featured Collaborative Research
DIVISION I - Humanities
Tony Haigh, Professor of Dramatic Arts
Every semester the dramatic arts program produces a major production which is a hotbed of undergraduate research and mentored scholarship opportunities. The production could be Shakespeare, a musical, a play for young audiences, an original play, or a classical play. It will generally be directed by a faculty member and designed by a faculty member, however, sometimes those roles will be taken by guest artists or even senior students. For the past several years the Family Weekend show had been directed by a student. Much of the leadership of all the productions is done by students who will engage in mentored and collaborative research. There may be a student dramaturg who will research the literary background on the play. There may be student designers who will work closely with the faculty director and designer to design the lights, sound, props, costumes, or even scenery. There will be a student stage manager whose job is to co-ordinate the creative processes of all the various departments. There will be students leading the publicity and box office functions and maybe developing educational outreach programs. On occasion the whole cast will work together to devise the piece with a student playwright, as happened with After Orpheus which was taken to the Edinburgh International Festival. Students may also work closely with faculty to research and produce work of their own. Every fall a festival of student directed or student written work will be produced as well as three or four more student directed pieces. Mentored scholarship and undergraduate research is part and parcel of the work done by the dramatic arts program every day.
DIVISION II - Social Studies
Tom McCollough, Rodes Professor of Religion
I have been collaborating with Nathaniel Deaton ’15 on a research project that focuses on the material evidence recovered from recent excavations of Roman era villages in lower Galilee. We have been especially interested in how this evidence speaks to the question of the economic world of lower Galilee and how this economic dimension of Galilee informed Jesus and the early Jesus movement. In the summer of 2013, Nathaniel participated in the excavation of the village of Shikhin. Shikhin is located 10 km north of Nazareth and is described in the early rabbinic literature as an important center for ceramic production and distribution. Nathaniel will participate in the excavation of Cana of Galilee in the coming summer. I am the director of those excavations, and we have to this point uncovered a portion of what appears to be a thriving Jewish village that in the early Roman period had a synagogue and had itself begun to engage in some sort of industrial production. Our collaborative research will go into an article on Cana that I am writing for Fortress Press and will also be part of a larger research report on Cana and the economy of the Bet Netopha Valley.
DIVISION III - Science & Mathematics
Aaron Godlaski, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology
The MindBody Laboratory, directed by Dr. Godlaski, explores the connections between mental and bodily processes using state-of-the-art physiological monitoring and stimulus presentation equipment. Specifically, Dr. Godlaski’s work focuses on heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of cardiac function and the autonomic nervous system. Student research in the MindBody lab addresses a variety of areas: from the effects of meditation on HRV to the connections between cardiac function, and emotional and behavior self-regulatory processes. Students develop a variety of skills including research development, data acquisition and analysis, and have presented their work at both local and national conferences.