Undergraduate Research Program
The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) is the second initiative proposed by Dr. Griffith. The new unit, which launches this semester, will be headed by founding director Dr. Sarwan Dhir, an FVSU professor of biotechnology, and Dr. Andrew Lee, an FVSU professor of speech and mass communication, as the associate director.
“I am honored to be appointed as the founding director of the undergraduate research by Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, president at the Fort Valley State University,” said Dhir. “As a director, my mission is to foster linkages among faculty members and campus collaborators, so that we can infuse the cutting-edge research and ‘hands-on experience’ into classroom teaching and foster gains in the form of national and international recognition for our undergraduates and graduates academic programs.”
The new unit, which will report directly to the Office of the President, will help prepare students for research within their chosen fields.
“I plan to attract more and more students to the center’s ties with faculty in order to identify new strategies for connecting students with mentors and research opportunities and exploring grant opportunities that include a significant undergraduate research component,” Dhir said. “It is my desire that FVSU is known as a premiere institution in the State of Georgia that prepares its students to be more competitive in today's demanding, global community of research and scholarship. I will work closely with the Dr. Andrew Lee co-director of center.”
Lee stated that the research program is also designed to attract high-achieving undergraduate students who are conducting outstanding scholarship in their chosen fields.
“We’re going to encourage students across all disciplines to conduct research,” said the associate director. “I think that the [Undergraduate Research Program] will help raise the bar of excellence that President Griffith envisions. He has talked on several occasions about moving education [on campus] to the proverbial mountaintop; I believe that both the Honors Program and Undergraduate Research Program will go a very long way in helping to strengthen what President Griffith calls the three Rs: recruitment, retention and release (graduation).
Although the URP has officially launched this semester, it is still in its early planning stages. Its prototype will model similar undergraduate research programs that Dr. Griffith helped to initiate or administer at York College and Florida International University. Organizers say the program will have an interdisciplinary focus that will not only target science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors, but the humanities, as well.
In addition to Dr. Griffith and interim Provost Dr. Linda Noble’s input, the URP will also receive advice from faculty. An advisory council consisting of FVSU professors, administrators and other stakeholders is being formed to establish preliminary criteria for admitting students into the research program.
Dhir and Lee explained that the new initiative will showcase the exceptional scholarship and research endeavors of university’s students. The pair says that the URP would recruit students with outstanding research to serve as undergraduate research ambassadors.
“We want our exceptional students [to] publish their research via an institutional undergraduate research journal and via other peer-reviewed journals and present their scholarship at professional conferences on the state, national and international levels,” Lee said.
Dhir and Lee believe the URP will position FVSU undergraduate research scholars to meet and exceed the anticipated and real challenges of working in the fiercely competitive, global workforce.
“We’re excited that President’s Griffith’s Undergraduate Research Program initiative will help students to realize some of their greatest dreams,” said the professor. “Through the auspices of the URP, the university will help students transform their awesome potential into undisputed academic excellence in their respective areas of undergraduate research,” Lee concluded.
For more information about the program, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs, (478) 825-6330.