The first St. F.X. Scholarship Report has been unveiled.
“We didn’t do any celebration of research at St. F.X.,” Kevin Wamsley, St. F.X. Vice President, Academic and Provost, told the Casket, when asked about the genesis of the initiative.
“When I arrived, I said – as part of our celebration of faculty achievements and teaching research and service – that we need to celebrate research.”
He added one way to achieve that goal is “to produce a scholarship document.”
As a university press release described, the scholarship report “provides a broad summary of the research and scholarship achievements of faculty and staff at St. F.X.”
“It reminds everyone, internally, of all the good work that we do and, at the same time, we can use this document, externally, to share with our alumni and our donors, so that they can identify with some of the great research work that we do here,” Wamsley said.
“It shows peer review publications, it shows grants and it really shows how our researchers are out in the community and participating on the international stage, when it comes to research, so that St. F.X., a primarily undergraduate university, is pulling its weight, with respect to research.”
When asked about the importance of research, Wamsley said it is “what makes a university a university.”
“Professors are experts in their field and that’s part of the PhD process. But, as they move through the ranks, they become international experts. So, by the time that they are at the level of professor, they are the international expert in their area – very specific area,” he added.
Wamsley noted the “whole idea behind university” is having undergraduate students experience “first-hand, original research.”
“So, the professors who are doing the research are the ones who are teaching in the classrooms,” he said.
“You can imagine a system where you had a set of instructors who used everyone else’s research and presented it in the classroom – that’s not the university setting.
“In a university environment, in order to profess, you need to have a research program to create the information that you can profess to the students,” Wamsley added.
In the release, Richard Isnor, St. F.X. Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies, said “it really illustrates the diversity and reach of our faculty research and scholarship efforts and will be very helpful in communicating these to external audiences.”
The inaugural scholarship report encompasses a wide range of scholarly activities in many disciplines.
Faculty and staff members were invited to submit information about their publications, external research funding, knowledge mobilization and translation activities, and other research outcomes, between Sept. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015.
“The net was cast widely and participation was voluntary,” John D. Blackwell, St. F.X. Director of the Research Grants Office, said.
He added the scholarship report also contains numerous references to undergraduate and graduate student research achievements – a primary focus of the learning experience at St. F.X.
“It took us a year to get it off the ground and so that’s why we are really dealing with 2014-15, and now – in the coming months – we will be dealing with the year 2015-16,” Wamsley said.
“I would anticipate we’ll have that document ready in the fall, which will get us closer to our schedule, so that we will report on time every year.”
As for the early response to the inaugural scholarship report, Wamsley said “so far, everybody loves the idea.”
“We don’t have the printed copy in our hands; right now, we only have the electronic copy,” he noted.
Once the hard copy is available, Wamsley said Murray Kyte – St. F.X. Vice President Advancement – will have it to deliver to alumni and potential donors.
“We will share it with our vice presidents and we will share it with the board of governors, so there will be a fairly wide distribution,” he added.
To view the St. F.X. Scholarship Report, click on stfx.ca.