Our department’s research-supportive infrastructure was designed to ensure that students have a diverse range of opportunities to mentor one another. All students will, at different stages in the curriculum, serve in student mentor roles. However, the opportunity to serve as a statistics lab mentor is not available to all students. Each academic year, two to five students are solicited to serve as statistics lab mentors. Those students have completed Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences and excelled in the course.
Statistics lab mentors maintain regular office hours in our computer lab, provide reviews using the projection system, offer individual assistance to students, review assignment submissions, provide feedback to allow for necessary corrections, and grade assignments. They also attend weekly meetings with the instructor of record who solicited their participation. These contacts increase the likelihood that both statistics lab mentors and the recipients of their assistance will have a positive learning experience. Students who are asked to serve as statistics lab mentors may enroll in Supervised Undergraduate Teaching, which fulfills an experiential learning requirement in the Leadership Drury program.
Our computer laboratory is located on the second floor of Pearsons Hall and contains 15 computer stations, a projection system, and video technology. The lab accommodates several classes, and students frequent the facility to work on statistics-based assignments and research projects. Open lab hours are posted on the wall outside the computer lab each semester. If students need access to computers at other times, they may use one of the university computer labs in Springfield Hall.
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) is a statewide organization working to repeal the death penalty in Missouri by educating citizens and legislators regarding the costs and consequences of capital punishment.
This organization provides a network of services for disadvantaged and homeless populations in the Springfield area. Their services include, but are not limited to, a meal service, shelter, health care, and job training. Dr. Robin Miller, along with students in her classes, often work with this organization in data collection and analysis to insure that they provide accurate reports to funding agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development. To learn more about this organization, you may visit their website at www.thekitcheninc.org.
Court Appointed Special Advocate organizations are located across the country, and their primary goal is to assist and train volunteers who represent the interest of abused and neglected children in the court system. Dr.Mary Utley has worked with the local CASA group to collect and analyze data about child rearing practices in the Ozarks.
Relay for Life is an event that seeks to increase public awareness of cancer and raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Many cities and towns have one or more of these events annually, and one of Springfield’s Relay for Life campaigns is held on Drury University’s campus each Spring. Students in our department form a team to participate every year, and the university’s Relay for Life sponsor is Dr. Jennie Long.
Most readers are probably aware of Habitat for Humanity and its functions. If you are not, please visit their website at www.habitat.org. Drs. Valerie Eastman, who is a member of the local chapter’s governing board, and Jennie Long currently work with this organization, while Dr. Vickie Luttrell was a volunteer for a number of years.
Member of this coalition work to ensure that the governor is provided with complete reviews of cases in which women who killed their abusers are seeking clemency for their actions. Dr. Jennie Long has compiled case summaries for judicial and gubernatorial consideration.
MO-PIRC is a network of services designed to ensure that parents are aware of the intricacies of their children’s socio-emotional development and its relationship to school success. It also aims to provide parents with information about family rights and responsibilities within the school system. Dr. Vickie Luttrell serves as an evaluator of this program and a portion of her services are in-kind.
SAY is devoted to helping youth living in Springfield area group homes under the supervision of the Department of Youth Services. They provide advocacy services for these young people, serve as their mentors, and plan recreational and educational activities to enhance their development into productive members of society. They have also created a scholarship fund for those who complete high school or obtain a GED. Dr. Jennie Long is a member of this organization’s governing body.
Our faculty members frequently work with local middle and high school students on research projects. One of those students, who worked with Dr. Vickie Luttrell, won 1 st place in the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair, and she was selected as a candidate for the national Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.
Some of our students desire to design and conduct a study on their own, and faculty members are typically available to serve as mentors. These projects are critically important to students who plan to apply to more prestigious graduate schools. If you are interested in enrolling in an independent research project, ask the professor with whom you are interested in working if s/he will be available. It is unlikely that students will acquire permission to enroll in complex independent research projects prior to completion of The Scientific Core.
Faculty members in our department are actively engaged in research, and there are a number of ways for students to participate in these projects. In some cases, students may be allowed to assist in literature reviews. There may be opportunities for students to administer surveys, conduct interviews, enter data, and perform preliminary data analyses. If you are interested in these forms of research apprenticeship, ask faculty members if they are engaged in ongoing projects in which you can participate.
Each spring, teams of student researchers enrolled in Advanced Behavioral Research II need to recruit participants for their research projects. If you are interested in being a research participant, there are several ways to get involved. First, students can inform instructors serving as URE mentors in Advanced Behavioral Research II of their desire to serve as a volunteer participant. Also, research teams are often allowed to solicit volunteer participants from the pool of students enrolled in non-research courses. Thus, you may get a chance to volunteer while enrolled in your classes. Finally, some student research teams type a brief description of the study and a sign-up schedule and then post this information on the wall next to the computer lab. Given the demand for research participants and the different forums in which recruits are solicited, you should have little difficulty when trying to find opportunities to serve as a volunteer.
If researchers plan to utilize human participants when conducting studies, they must obtain approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the onset of data collection. IRB permission to conduct research is contingent upon the nature and design of submitted proposals. While there are a number of key issues that must be addressed in an IRB request form, including assurances that participation is informed and voluntary, the central goal of the IRB is to ensure that researchers treat human participants with respect and dignity.
Several of our courses examine the role of the IRB and the primary components of a successful IRB proposal. Information provided in those classes is linked to broader ethical concerns that arise when conducting research with human participants. The Ethical Dilemmas in the Behavioral Sciences course represents our most focused attempt to ensure that students understand IRB requirements, their origins, and their relationship to theories of ethics. The course explores studies across the full range of disciplines that typically use human participants in research in order to help students better understand the value of institutional review.