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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 1                                                                                                                                         February 18, 2011


    Notes from the Collaborative

    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Defining Collaboration: Collaborative Undergraduate Research Across the Disciplines

    Collaborative Opportunities

    Research and Academic Travel Funding Opportunities

    Academic Travel Award Recipients

    Celebrating Student and Faculty/Staff Collaborations

    Student Profiles

    Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer
    Jody Kolter
    Ellen Majowski
    Sarah Meyer
    Lauren Mongin
    Jessica Richards
    Danielle Schroth
    Brittney Stevenson

    Important Dates

    Mar. 25, 2011 Collaborative Summer-Fall Grant applications due

    Mar. 31 - Apr. 2, 2011 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

    Apr. 18, 2011 Collaborative Continuation Grant applications due

    May 2, 2011 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due





     A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Welcome to the first issue of Connections, the e-newsletter from the St. Norbert Collaborative: The Center for Undergraduate Research. The Collaborative, now in its second year, provides a variety of funding sources for students and faculty as they undertake collaborative research projects. You will find in this e-newsletter, among many interesting things we hope, a description of our many programs and student profiles that highlight some of the exciting undergraduate research being done at St. Norbert College.

    A recent study published by the University of Chicago Press has made headlines across the nation, including The Chronicle of Higher Education. Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa in Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses conclude that colleges and universities are failing at teaching students. Their study suggests that

    • 45% of first and second-year college students show no significant improvement in critical thinking, complex, reasoning, and writing skills
    • 36% showed little improvement in these skills after four years
    • 35% spend five or fewer hours per week studying
    • 32% did not have to read more than 40 pages per week
    • 50% reported that they never had to write more than 20 pages a semester

    Arum and Roksa, basing their findings on the data found in the Collegiate Learning Assessment Test, conclude that colleges and universities place the learning of students near the bottom of the priority list.

    That is a scathing assessment of higher education.

    And an assessment that does not apply to St. Norbert College-for we certainly place learning at the top of our priorities. We just need to look at our academic programming.

    We can also evoke some other key evidence. Jayne E. Brownell and Lynn E. Swaner, in Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality, focus on the following "purposeful pathways" that lead to a more productive educational experience. I've checked those programs that St. Norbert is actively engaged in.

    • First-Year Seminars
    • Learning Communities
    • Service Learning
    • Undergraduate Research
    • Capstone Courses and Projects

    This list is quite familiar to us, for St. Norbert has been focusing on these practices for many years, and we are now making them into a more formal structure on campus. The Collaborative, the literal center of undergraduate research, reflects the College's commitment to high-impact practices.

    Brownell and Swaner conclude that undergraduate research, in particular, leads to

    • Higher rate of persistence
    • Higher rate of graduate school enrollment
    • Improvement in research skills
    • Increased interaction with faculty and peers
    • Gains in problem solving and critical thinking
    • Greater satisfaction with educational experience

    Such research is also essential to recruiting and retaining underserved students.

    The Collaborative asks you, "Is St. Norbert College academically adrift?" With undergraduate research at the core of our many high-impact practices on campus, the answer has to be that we are not adrift but academically centered in the most productive ways possible.

     John Pennington, Director



    St. Norbert Collaborative

    Phone: (920) 403-3147
    Fax: (920) 403-4086

    St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181