APRIL 27, 2015 – NAPLES, FLA – Recently, Florida SouthWestern State College biology professor Christina Ottman presented the results of a survey study to the Florida Academy of Sciences Conference in St. Leo, Fla.
Ottman surveyed the science faculty at all of Florida’s 28 community and state colleges to better identify the challenges they faced in doing undergraduate research at community and state colleges. She created the survey after a group of biology students approached her about doing an undergraduate research project, and she found that only limited resources were available.
“Universities typically have the infrastructure to facilitate undergraduate student research, but state and community colleges have to come up with creative solutions to support student research in the absence of traditional support,” Ottman said. “In order to begin our project, we had to search the campus for an available space to house our lab and borrow the necessary lab equipment and supplies. The biggest challenge was finding sufficient time to meet and work with students on top of an already full teaching schedule. Universities would have most of these resources already available and in place for student research.”
The survey results found the biggest challenges facing community and state college science faculty are budget, facility/lab space, faculty release time and grant writing support. However, in spite of all challenges, the faculty were overwhelmingly interested in conducting undergraduate research projects.
“These types of projects are great for our students,” Ottman said. “It gives them a hands-on experience, and quite often piques their interest in the sciences and other STEM areas.”
Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving more than 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW will debut its intercollegiate athletics program in the fall 2015. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.