At William Paterson University, we are committed to providing our students with a wide range of academic opportunities that will challenge their intellectual growth. One of the most significant ways we seek to enhance the learning experience is by encouraging our students to engage in a research project with a faculty member. According to data from our participation in the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE), the national benchmarking survey on learning and student engagement, nearly 20 percent of William Paterson seniors have conducted research with a faculty member, and the numbers continue to expand.
Why is research with a faculty member so valuable? Along with other high-impact undergraduate opportunities such as internships, service learning, or study abroad, participation in a high-impact practice like faculty-mentored research or other scholarly or creative activities can be life-changing. Research requires students to commit considerable time and effort to their work and apply the knowledge and critical thinking skills they have gained in the classroom. According to national studies on best educational practices, students who engage in research with a faculty member are more likely to persist in completing their degree. These students also report increased learning and growth, both intellectually and personally, and are more likely to choose a research-related field as a career.
Throughout the University, we are continuing to invest in providing opportunities for student-faculty research. This past April, we showcased student researchers and their accomplishments during EXPLORATIONS 2016, a nearly two-week series of events celebrating the wide range of research and other scholarly and creative activities conducted across disciplines on campus. An increasing number of our students are also gaining accolades and valuable experience by presenting research findings at local and national conferences.
In this issue of WP Magazine, we are proud to highlight some of the hundreds of research projects to which our students have dedicated their intellectual curiosity and academic rigor (see page 18). Their topics, which range from scientific field studies and curriculum development to examinations of historical trends and current issues, are evidence of the depth and quality of their scholarship and that of their fellow students across the campus.