By Erin Keating
Dr. Lassiter has been named Director of Undergraduate Research. His first order of business was to change the name formerly the Office of Student/Faculty Research to the Office of Undergraduate Research to place emphasis on the students. Lassiter, who has been at Roanoke College since 2005, has had an active research lab since he arrived at the college and truly values the significance of providing students with research opportunities.
He says, “I believe the liberal arts education works best when educating the head, the heart, and the hands. We do a good job of educating the head, we’ve got great classes; and the heart, we’ve got civic engagement on campus; and the hand piece is the experiential learning which we’re developing across campus through internship, research, creative works, and I really wanted to be a part of the research.”
As part of Director of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Lassiter oversees many programs. URAP (the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program) is where incoming freshmen apply to work with a faculty member for all four years of their undergraduate education. In Work-Study Research Assistant program students who are work-study eligible can get paid to help professors in their research. The Summer Scholars program and the larger summer research program, the Dean’s Travel fund, where students can apply for up to five hundred dollars to travel to regional and national conferences to present the work they have been doing. And finally the Scholars’ Floor Living Learning Community in Allegheny Hall.
According to Dr. Lassiter, the easiest ways to get involved in research on campus is to start talking with faculty members about their research and approach them about getting involved, usually most are open to working with a student. If a student is having a hard time figuring out where to get started, Dr. Lassiter says they are more than welcome to come meet with him and he will point them in the right direction and help them get connections. Research opportunities are available for students across all disciplines through work-study, independent studies for academic credit, and Summer Scholars. This year alone there have been 17 students in the URAP program, 34 students researching through the work-study program, and 65 students have been sent to national conferences across all different disciplines. Last year between work-study, independent study, and summer scholars over 300 students participated in research opportunities – nearly 10 percent of the student population.
For more information about Roanoke College Undergraduate Research, check out the Roanoke College Research Blog at: www.rcresearch.org.