Indiana State University is taking its commitment to experiential learning to a new level by establishing a Center for Student Research and Creativity, Jack Maynard, ISU's provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced today. "The center will serve as a clearinghouse for information, support, coordination and communication about student research and creative inquiry," Maynard said. "Indiana State has long provided meaningful research experiences to undergraduate students who work alongside faculty members and graduate students. This new center will formalize that commitment with graduate students serving as mentors to undergraduates in their respective fields." Veteran ISU faculty member Tom Steiger with serve as the center's inaugural director, Maynard said.

"To have every ISU student engage in a semester long (or longer) creative project is my ultimate goal," said Steiger, professor of sociology and an ISU faculty member since 1987. "The production of knowledge and learning that matters--through research--and human expression--through art, literature, and the performing arts--makes for a challenging education that lies at the heart of the student experience at Indiana State." Creation of the Center for Student Research and Creativity is an initiative of a working group of faculty, staff and students charged with implementing the experiential learning goal of the university's five-year strategic plan, "The Pathway to Success." The working group listed the center's functions and responsibilities as:

  • Directing faculty and students to information on internal and external funding

  • Administering funds for undergraduate inquiry fellowships (student stipends)

  • Providing direct assistance to faculty and students engaged in inquiry projects through graduate student mentors who work with faculty and librarians in the discipline area

  • Sponsoring workshops, forums, etc for faculty and students

  • Sponsoring research showcases

  • Coordinate activities of the Council for Undergraduate Research

  • Publishing an on-line journal of undergraduate research Publicizing student inquiry and creative activities on campus and in the community. 

"Tom Steiger is one of ISU's most engaged faculty members, has a long record of working with students on major research projects, and has demonstrated his commitment to student success," said Jay Gatrell, dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. "He has been a prominent figure and leader on campus and I am truly excited about what he brings to the table with respect to his prior experience with the Sociology Research Lab and overall enthusiasm for ISU students-and student research." Steiger spent eight years as director of Indiana State's Sociology Research Lab. Since 2007, he has chaired the university's Institutional Review Board, which oversees research involving human subjects. For the past two years, he has been director of ISU's College Challenge Program that allows high school students to receive university credit for performing college-level academic work. He also served for two years as acting associate dean for student academic affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a past recipient of the university's Community-Based Learning and Scholarship Award. Contact: Thomas Steiger, professor of sociology and director, Center for Student Research and Creativity, Indiana State University,

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