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Faculty showcase projects during Faculty Research Day

Faculty Research Day 2015
Dr. Bill Balco, assistant professor of anthropology (right), discusses his research project during Faculty Research Day.

Departments and disciplines converged on Friday, Nov. 13 to allow faculty of the University of North Georgia (UNG) a chance to share and discuss their own personal research projects with colleagues at the university's Dahlonega Campus.

"One thing I always share with colleagues about UNG when traveling across our state and country is the passion of our faculty and the engagement of our students when it comes to research," said Dr. Richard Oates, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "These efforts are very important to us and to our community."

More than thirty projects were on display as university staff and faculty from various disciplines mingled and talked about the progression of their research and how it is impacting their classrooms.

Drs. Brad Bailey and Diana Spence, co-principal investigator and principal investigator, respectively, collaborated on a project to give students learning statistics a greater head start in the discipline's introduction.

"This project aims to develop materials that help introduce and combine real-world, discovery-learning projects into introductory to statistics courses. We also are measuring the impact on student performance," Bailey said. "So far, our efforts show an increase in student's content knowledge gain and their self-efficacy."

Dr. Bill Balco, assistant professor of anthropology, is researching manufacturing methods of pottery in ancient Western Sicily from 800-480 BC.

"Few pottery production sites have been identified and studied in depth, therefore little is known about the production of fired clay artifacts from this region and time period," Balco said. "In relation to this, I'll be leading an archeological field school in Sicily this summer for four weeks, where students of any major will have the opportunity to experience a real archeological dig and many of the activities that go with it, such as artifact analysis."

Dr. Shannon Gilstrap, associate professor of English, is continuing a research project of former student Woody Depew that blended Geographic Information Systems technology and literature to produce a visual representation of Matthew Arnold's "North American Lecture Tour." Arnold, a British poet and social critic, made the trip throughout the United States and Canada to deliver lectures on education, democracy and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Gilstrap has since refined the research and map of Arnold's trip to show much more detail, such as street names and a greater proliferation of sites visited by Arnold.

"Our desire to share our love of scholarship with our students is what draws us all together," said Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement and chief research officer at UNG, as he addressed the presenters. "I have the privilege of watching all of you pass your passion on to your students, and I want to say thank you."

Because Faculty Research Day was held on the Dahlonega Campus, the Academic Research Conference, which is for student research presentations, will be held on the Gainesville Campus in spring. These events will alternate between Dahlonega and Gainesville each year.

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