Student-Faculty research collaborations in the Humanities takes many forms: traditional and archival research, field observations and interviews, study abroad reflections that develop into scholarly investigations, independent study explorations of topics, and research/teaching assistantship opportunities that allow students to partner in developing course content and shaping larger projects. Then there is the Senior Thesis, an independent research project that all graduating seniors at the college must successfully complete and defend to earn their degree.
Over the years, competitive mini research grants, through the Provost's Office, have facilitated students being mentored by faculty members on how to scaffold and develop their research projects, which they then present at various scholarly venues.
In 2013, Allegheny College received a $600,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support student-faculty collaborative research in the Humanities, which stimulated interdisciplinary faculty-student projects.
In 2016, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) presented Allegheny College with the inaugural Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishment (AURA) at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The award was presented to Allegheny — the only baccalaureate college in the nation to receive the award — for the exceptional research experiences that Allegheny provides to its students.
The Allegheny College Research Seminar Series or ACRoSS is an interdisciplinary forum for the presentation of summer research projects developed by students and faculty at Allegheny College. This annual series runs from mid-June to mid-August. During these months, at the weekly lunch meetings held every Tuesday, students present on their specific summer research projects (e.g., proposed experiments, data, anticipated results) to a packed room of students, faculty, staff and administrators, and visitors to the college.
Here are some of the ACRoSS projects I have supervised -- many of which have been with students outside of Communication Arts:
2012 -- "Customer Satisfaction, Artistic Freedom and the Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy" with Gabrielle Stitt (English Literature, Creative Writing, Class of '13
2013 -- "Corporatizing Global Health" with Aviv Crowell Lang (Behavioral Economics). The research was based on field observations and interviews during an Allegheny College Experiential Learning (EL) seminar to Kenya. Supported in part by an HHMI grant.
2013 -- "Study Abroad: A Critical Evaluation of Study Abroad and Experiential Learning Programs" with Alexander Bennett (English Literature, Class of '16). Supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities Grant.
2014 -- "Putting Theory into Practice: How do we learn through Studying Abroad?" with Senior Fellow Alexander Bennett (English Literature, Class of ’16), Karina Mena (Communication Arts, Class of ’16). This research was informed by the participants' observations from an Allegheny College EL Seminar to India, and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities Grant.
• 2016 -- "White Rage and Post-Racial Politics in America" with Arianna O’Connell (Communication Arts, Class of ’18) and Cassandra Bachik (Communication Arts and Journalism in the Public Interest, Class of ’18). Supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities Grant.
• 2016: “A Cultural Comparison of Preventative Health Education Campaigns for Mosquito-Borne Diseases.” Jonathan Yee (Art & Computer Science Major, Class of '17) drew from field observations during the three-week Experiential Learning Seminar in Sri Lanka, and research done back in the U.S. to inform his findings on how public awareness and preventative measures to prevent diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and Zika are impacted by public health communication campaigns. We received funding from an Howard Hughes Medical Institute Global Health Studies Grant to do this work.
• 2017 -- "Anything But Country: The Dangers of Disregarded Discourses" with Margaret West (Communication Arts, Class of '18). Supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities Grant.
• 2018 -- "Bringing History to Life: The Importance of Archival Research" with Marisol Santa Cruz (Communication Arts, Class of '20). Supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanities Grant.
• 2019 -- "Necropolitics, Dark Tourism and the Commodification of Pain" with Tanner Kolb (Communication, Political Science Majors, Class of '21). Supported by funding from the Frederick F. Seely Humanities Fund
In 2016, three communication arts students: Shu Yi Tang (Class of '17), Lily Loreno (Class of '17), and Margaret West (Class of '18) won a campus-wide storyboarding contest organized by Byron Rich (Associate Prof., Art Dept.) and myself, to produce competitive branding ideas for a recruitment commercial for Acutec Precision Aerospace Inc. This local giant manufacturer in Meadville, PA, has a client list that includes Bell Helicopter, GE Aviation, Goodrich Corp., Meggit Aircraft Braking Systems Corp., Parker Hannifin and Messier Bugatti Dowty.
The three students worked under my supervision through the summer of 2016 to develop a brand line for the company ("It all starts here") and the recruitment commercial that ran on the Acutec website, and played at the local movie theater:
The 30-sec version of the Acutec spot