By Katherine Pullen, Staff Writer
As the ninth annual Union University Scholarship Symposium draws near, students are polishing presentations, practicing scripts and pressing their suits for one of the university’s most prominent yearly events.
The symposium, which is scheduled for May 1, is a forum for undergraduate and graduate students from across campus to present their innovative and collaborative research.
“With respect to the Christian intellectual tradition, it’s a very public statement of the university’s commitment to academic excellence,” said Dr. Randall Phillips, director of research and associate professor of family studies.
The university-wide event will feature 135 presentations from 266 student presenters under the mentorship of 53 faculty advisers.
“Twenty-two disciplines will be represented this year and all of the colleges and schools of the university will be represented,” Phillips said.
Faculty members enjoy collaborating with students on research and scholarship for the symposium because such collaboration goes beyond passive classroom education to “take teaching and learning to a new level,” Phillips said.
Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, Graves professor of moral philosophy, is advising several student presenters from the School of Theology and Missions.
Mitchell said it is important for students to have the opportunity to present their research in a larger forum and to practice framing their material and presenting it in a way that is interesting and communicates their ideas well.
“I’m looking forward to getting to share what I’ve been working on and having an audience helps me focus my work and push myself to excel,” said Victoria Stargel, senior teaching English as a second language major and intercultural studies minor who will present her intercultural studies capstone during the symposium.
Mitchell said the symposium is beneficial for the Union community because “there’s work being done all over campus that we ought to celebrate and that we (can) learn from.”
Students will present their work in various venues across campus from 12:30 to 5 p.m. May 1. A full program for the day’s events will be available in the Carl Grant Events Center from 12 to 12:30 p.m. at a reception for participants, faculty and guests.
“(Scholarship Symposium) says to the larger academic community — Christian or not — that Union University takes seriously the preparation of its students, not only now but for the future, with respect to scholarly investigation,” Phillips said.