Yesterday I attended the 5th Annual Research at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUI) Conference sponsored by the Graduate School at Fort Hays State University (FHSU). Although it seemed that fewer people attended the conference compared with the one hosted by FHSU a couple of years ago, I thought it was a good conference.
I was impressed with the keynote speaker, Dr. Julia Gergits, who is a professor of English at Youngstown State University, entitled “Created in Their Image: Academic Careers Molded (Mangled?) by State Comprehensive Universities.” The presentation was very dynamic, informative, and most important very positive about what we are doing at State Comprehensive Universities (SCUs). This article was also published in the inaugural issue of the Teacher-Scholar Journal.
Quite a few students co-presented with the professors with whom they did research work, which added additional strength to this conference. It provided students an opportunity to engage in research activities guided by mentors.
It was also interesting to see what other faculty members in other SCUs have been doing. One young faculty from Emporia State University shared his way of trying to seizing all possible opportunities to do creative writing, which sounded excellent and encouraging.
All SCUs are facing many similar issues such as heavy workload with limited resources, but as Dr. Gergits said: “Responsibility is a gift, not a burden. It is prized.”