Oxy to Host Research Conference
Occidental College will host the 2006 Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) on Nov. 18, the region’s largest forum for the presentation and discussion of undergraduate scholarship.
The day-long event is expected to draw 750 participants from more than 70 colleges and universities, most from Southern California but some as far away as Pennsylvania and New York. The 14th annual conference – last held at Occidental in 1996 – will showcase research and creative work in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts.
“Students learn something about professionalism and presenting themselves as professionals in an academic discipline,” said SCCUR co-director John Swift, professor of English and comparative literary studies at Occidental. “They learn about confidence and mastery in their own work. They also get to see what’s going on in disciplines far removed from their own.”
Student presenters in a wide range of fields work closely with faculty mentors, but their questions and research are of their own design. As a result “they have gained enormous confidence in their ability to undertake serious intellectual projects,” Swift added.
Students will present their work in 15-minute panel presentations chaired by faculty members, in poster form, or in exhibition or performance. The conference seeks to replicate professional and scholarly meetings, and many undergraduate scholars participate in SCCUR as a “first conference” experience, going on to present their work at national professional meetings.
At Occidental, undergraduate research is a cornerstone of the liberal arts experience. The college’s Undergraduate Research Program, cited as one of the country’s best in a 2001 study sponsored by a consortium of private foundations, supported more than 340 student research projects during the 2005-06 academic year. Over the past two years, 30 Occidental students presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
Traditionally, Occidental has the largest group of student researchers at SCCUR, and this year is no exception: 108 Occidental students are registered to make presentations.