New classes give students insight on researching process

  • New required general education classes help students gain insight on conducting research across academic fields.
  • In addition to Inquiry 101 and Research 201, students have research opportunities with faculty and research week.

Liberty University did its homework on how to become a research school and changed the general education requirements for 2017-2018 Degree Completion Plans to focus more on research.

Two new classes students are now required to take are Inquiry 101 and Research 201. According to Assistant Vice Provost Elisa Rollins, Inquiry 101 is an 8-week class all incoming freshmen must take. Rollins said students follow Inquiry 101 with Research 201 their sophomore years. Students will then complete research intensive courses within their specific programs of study after taking Research 201.

“Research is very valuable for undergraduate students,” Rollins said.

According to Rollins, research gives students skills in areas such as critical thinking, communication, team building and information literacy. She believes the emphasis on research will benefit students spiritually.

According to the associate dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Shanna Akers, research gives students opportunities to “impact the world for Christ.”

“We’ve been charged as Christians and as followers of Christ to be stewards of the world and to take care of the world,” Rollins said.

According to Rollins, Inquiry 101 is setup to feel similar to an online course. Rollins stated the course will teach students what inquiry is, the process of research and the value of research skills.

Further, Rollins believes the course will teach students foundational inquiry skills such as narrowing a topic, finding reliable sources, avoiding plagiarism and researching ethically. The class covers research opportunities that are available to students such as research week, research collaboration with professors and research societies.

Rollins said Research 201 covers basic knowledge and skills of research across the creative arts, the humanities and the sciences. Statistics show many students change majors during their undergraduate program or change directions going into graduate school or their professional career. Due to this, Rollins believes that being able to understand and interpret information across fields will greatly help students and make them more competitive in the job market.

“It’s not just finding an article and writing a paper,” Rollins said.

Rollins mentioned a few Liberty faculty and student research projects, like how a specific type of fish can be put into soup to provide iron to those who cannot afford supplements or meat. Akers believes students will be sparked creatively through research. According to Rollins, a recent student research project involved creating songs based on interviews with veterans from the Middle East.

“It’s an exciting time to be a student here,” Rollins said.

Akers said some faculty were doing research without student involvement before. Akers believes research will improve student-professor relationships. Rollins added that she believes research will give students opportunities for collaboration and mentorship with their professors.

Rollins said Liberty is constantly getting feedback from students through surveys to check and see if any changes need to be made. It also sends out alumni surveys to ask how Liberty prepared them for their careers or what it could have done better to prepare them.

OBRINGER is a news writer

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