Programs of Excellence Funding
at the University of Nebraska at Kearney
- Title of the Project: Summer Student Research Program
||Ken Nikels, Dean, Graduate Studies & Research
John Falconer, Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs
Colleges/schools: Office of Graduate Studies & Research
The program itself is open to all disciplines, and each year includes students from every college.
Brief descriptive narrative, including accomplishments and goals
SSRP is a multi-disciplinary summer research program developed to give undergraduates an opportunity to engage in original scholarship. They work one-on-one with mentors who are full-time faculty to develop, conduct, and disseminate scholarly projects. Students and mentors also engage in collective activities such as field trips and weekly meetings to learn about scholarship in other disciplines and to explore important topics such as research ethics. Students disseminate their work by poster, oral presentation, and in writing through on-campus and external mechanisms.
The program is designed to:
- Give undergraduates an intensive research experience
- Develop critical thinking skills
- Apply coursework
- Develop writing and oral presentation skills
- Increase student engagement in their education
Exit surveys indicate the program is successful in these areas, as well as reinforcing general studies content and increasing comfort in working with faculty.
Measures of impact resulting from the Programs of Excellence funding such as the following:
- Additional extramural support acquired
The program was developed with external funding, but is now internally supported.
All student papers are published internally, and about half a dozen have been published in journals like Organic Letters, Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, and Journal of Neuroscience Research.
Students present their work at two on-campus forums and at least one national conference. Most students present their work at regional and national conferences, such as Sigma Xi, the National Academies of Science, American Chemical Society, American College of Sports Medicine, Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
- Educational Innovations
This program has roots in documents such as Shaping the Future and the Boyer Commission Report, and the mission of the Council on Undergraduate Research. It has fostered increased interest in student research at UNK, and has supported our efforts to strengthen student engagement.
- Number of Students Benefited
In Summer 2005, 31 students participated in the program. A total of 84 have participated over four years.
- Enhanced Services to the State
The program has strengthened undergraduate educational offerings in the state, increasing our ability to compete for students. Many of the projects center on Nebraska issues, from water policy to the history of the Meade ordnance site. The program has been cited in several cases as a powerful factor in graduate and professional school applications, so it may be expanding opportunities for graduates.
- Other Measures
- The program has been cited in two national journals as an example of quality in undergraduate research programs.
- An annual exit survey documents the program’s impacts from the student perspective. A summary is available on request (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The results can be found in the data collected by the National Survey of Student Engagement, which shows more UNK students report independent research experiences than do students at institutions in our peer group, aspirational group, or recruiting competition.
Program Expenditures: $150,000.
- Title of the Project: Music Program of Excellence
||Dr. Valerie Cisler, Chair, Department of Music and Performing Arts
William Jurma, Dean, College of Fine Arts and Humanities
Description, Accomplishments and Goals
Programs of Excellence funding for the UNK Music Program has enhanced its ability to work toward several goals including 1) the retention of national accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM); 2) the enrichment of quality teaching/performance capabilities through the upgrade of facilities and equipment (instruments and technology); 3) the ability to recruit and retain talented faculty and students; and 4) the enhancement of active participation in state, regional, and national competitive performance and scholarly venues for students with collaboration of faculty mentors. Measurable success toward achieving these goals is seen on a broader scale as the reputation of the music program has grown tremendously in the region both on a competitive, academic level and in the perception of the fine arts community through increased concert attendance.
Measures of Impact of Programs of Excellence Funding.
- National Accreditation
Priority funding has provided a means to address some of the fundamental concerns of the 2001 NASM Accreditation report, particularly in the area of equipment purchase and repair. We have been able to repair/replace acoustic pianos in practice rooms, classrooms, faculty studios, and the recital hall. In addition, we have repaired/replaced instruments used in techniques classes (brass, woodwinds, keyboard, percussion, and strings), elementary education classes, and various large ensembles. Priority funding has also provided a means for much needed renovation of the recital hall including a portion of the cost of new curtains, refinished stage, painting, auditorium seating refurbishment, and new musician chairs for performers. Instructional technology enhancements have assisted the department in developing Educational Innovations that include a blend of traditional teaching methods (performance on acoustic instruments) with the latest technological equipment.
- Benefit to UNK Students,KearneyCommunity, the State
- UNK Students. The impact of priority funding has been far-reaching. The music program, while serving a large number of majors and minors in several degree programs including performance, pedagogy, music education, liberal arts, and music business (approximately 160), also offers several courses in the General Studies program for all UNK students under two perspectives categories, Aesthetic and Personal Development (serving approximately 460-500 students each year), required courses for elementary/mid-level education degree programs for the College of Education (enrollments average 200 per year), and opportunities for music performance in ensembles for all UNK students including Marching Band, Pep Band (including alumni performers), Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Choraleers, Collegium, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Opera Workshop, Jazz/Rock Ensemble, Nebraskats, and the Kearney Area Symphony Orchestra (KASO).
Through the Program of Excellence Student Research funds, our students have had the opportunity to participate in a number of state, regional, and national conferences, competitions, and performance venues. Special invitations and competitively selected honors have been extended for solo and ensemble student performances for the NU Foundation, Nebraska Music Educators Association, Nebraska Music Teachers Association, Music Educators National Conference, Regional NATS Conferences, Nebraska State Band Masters Intercollegiate Band, KC/ACTF Regional Conferences, and the Regional College Music Society Conference. On the state and regional levels, UNK voice students have won innumerable awards as semi-finalists, finalists, and winners at NATS Conferences, with annual participation of UNK 40 students. Most recently, a piano student won first place at state and division (eight state region) levels of the MTNA Young Artist Competition and will compete as one of six national finalists at the MTNA National Conference in Austin in March. Faculty are also actively involved in mentorship of student research as demonstrated by annual participation of poster sessions, performances and presentations of original compositions for UNK Student Research Day, abstract submissions and acceptance for participation in NCUR, the UNK Undergraduate Student Research Journal and the UNK Summer Student Research Program.
- Kearney Community. In addition to its student performances, the music program provides artist-level performances to the campus, primarily through its annual Concerts-on-the-Platte Series (now in its eighth season), featuring UNK faculty and guest artist soloists and chamber groups. Each of its thirteen-sixteen concert performances reaches audiences between 200-400 students, faculty and community members, totaling between 3,500-5,000 each academic year. The concerts are highly publicized in the press and have featured the talents of most of the UNK music faculty along with guest artists from throughout the country.
- State. The department sponsors a large number of clinics, workshops, master classes, and camps that bring high school and private teachers and students from throughout the state and region to the UNK campus on an annual basis including the Honor Band and Choir Clinic, Men’s Choral Clinic, Women’s Choral Clinic, Choral Leadership Workshop, Spring Piano Workshop, Elementary Music Education Workshops, Sounds of Summer Camp, and Broadway Bound (beginning 2006), along with many opportunities to perform for Guest Artist Master classes and workshops in instrumental, vocal and piano areas including chamber music. In support of a number of professional organizations, the department has hosted state and regional conferences with NMTA, NATS, and the College Music Society.
In total, the on-campus music program events, numbering more than one hundred per year, attract several thousand concert-goers and prospective students per academic year. The enhancement of facilities and of performance instruments has a profound impact not only on the aesthetic experience of the music performed but the overall impression visitors have of the entire university. The quality of these experiences brings people back to the campus time and again.
- Numbers of People affected:
Annual-UNK Student Participation in Music Courses
|Music Majors and Minors:
|| per semester
Annual Attendance at Department Sponsored Events
|On-campus Clinics, Workshops, Camps, Master Classes:
|On-campus Music Event Host:
Annual Outreach Events Attendance
|Invitational/Competitively Selected Conference Performances:
|Faculty Clinics/Adjudication at High Schools, Conferences:
Annual Performance/Research Presentations at Conferences/Competitions: 120
- Faculty Recruitment. The addition of Program of Excellence funds to the department has made a notable impact on our ability to recruit new faculty members from some of the country’s most prestigious music programs. Candidates have been impressed with our ability to sustain a Program of Excellence in, what may seem to them, a remote rural area. They are attracted to an institution that supports its faculty and students through adherence to national accreditation standards and provides fundamental resources for quality teaching.
- Extramural Funding. Enhancements made possible by Program of Excellence funding have made us more competitive for external sources of funding from organizations such as the Kearney Area Arts Council, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Heartland Arts Council, the UNK Alumni Association, the NU Foundation, and the Music Teachers National Association. In addition, the department has secured cooperative partnerships with the Yamaha Corporation of America and Dietze Music House of Lincoln through a loan-purchase piano program that had its inception with the availability of annual Program of Excellence funds.
Musician Posture Chairs (included under “Equipment” in the Summary Spreadsheet, Academic Equipment funds distribution for FY 06)
|Pianos, Marimba, Band Instruments, Acoustic treatment of Choral Room, TechLab upgrade, student travel to performance and scholarly conferences (included under “Undergraduate Research--Student Faculty Collaborative Research” in the Summary Spreadsheet, Academic Equipment funds distribution for FY 06)
- Title of the Project: Department of Biology Undergraduate Research – Student Faculty Collaborative Research and Distance Education
||Francis B. Harrold, Dean;
John Hertner, Chair
Description, Accomplishments and Goals
Most of the funds provided to the department are part of the funding for the Center for Undergraduate Research, comprising the two principal Health-Sciences-related departments, Biology and Chemistry. These funds were used for field and laboratory teaching and research to strengthen the scholarly-teaching model in the department, with a special emphasis on facilitating research involving undergraduate students. The aim is to achieve excellence in preparing students for graduate school as well as medical and other health-professions schools. Funding was also utilized in support of the startup equipment needs of two new assistant professors in the department, and in partial support (along with Continuing Education funds) of a faculty position devoted to the highly successful Distance Education Biology M.S. program, which has well over 200 students from Nebraska and around the nation. In the future, this position will be primarily, and eventually fully, supported by revenues generated by the DE program.
Measures of Impact:
- Extramural support acquired: 11 grants, $912,217
- Publications: 11 by faculty, 4 by students
- Patents: 1
- Presentations: 29 by faculty, 45 by students
- Educational innovations: The Distance Education Biology M.S. program, supported by the new faculty position, is an innovative program serving teachers and others in Nebraska and across the country. It has grown to over 200 students in only three years.
- Number of students served: 4,499 (duplicated) headcount of students enrolled in the 2005-06 academic year.
Expenditures: $45,902 for a non-tenure track faculty member in Biology Distance Education (Included as “Biology Faculty – Distance Ed” in the Summary Spreadsheet, Academic Equipment funds distribution for FY 06,Academic Equipment funds distribution for FY 06) and $106,350 for equipment and supplies supporting undergraduate and faculty research
- Title of the Project: Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Research – Student Faculty Collaborative Research
||Francis B. Harrold, Dean;
Christopher Exstrom, Chair
Description, Accomplishments and Goals
Funds provided to the department are part of the funding for the Center for Undergraduate Research, comprising the two principal Health-Sciences-related departments, Biology and Chemistry. These funds were used for new equipment and equipment maintenance. Also supported was a research apprentice program, which pays a modest stipend to freshman and sophomore Chemistry students to introduce them to research experience.
Measures of Impact:
- Extramural support acquired: 1 grant, $4,967
- Publications: 10 by faculty
- Presentations: 9 by faculty, 7 by students
- Educational innovations: The systematic mentoring of student research, now including a research apprentice program for freshmen and sophomores, is the primary focus of Priority-related expenditures.
- Number of students served: 1,660 (duplicated) headcount of students enrolled in the 2005-06 academic year.
A. Title of the Project: Biology Faculty – Distance Education. $45,902
B. Department Excellence Discretionary Expenditures. $123,000
C. Equipment for Priority Programs. $87,690
D. Exercise Science: Human Performance Lab Coordinator. $25,000
E. Faculty (new) Salary Enhancements. $100,000
F. Graduate Assistant Stipends. $57,400
G. Multimedia/Visual Design, including Student Facutly Collabortive Research. $118.810
H. Sponsored Programs Office Assistant Director. $37,500
I. Social Work Faculty. $40,265
J. Manangement Faculty/grant writer for College of Business and Technology. $50,454