College of Arts and Sciences to host conference in April

Jennie Kushner

The first UA College of Arts and Sciences 2010 Academies Conference will be held April 6 in the Bryant Conference Center.

The goal is to stimulate faculty innovations in their teaching, research, writing and creative activity, said John E. Lochman, chairman of the conference committee.

“Two of the most important things our faculty do are to guide student learning and to conduct significant research, scholarship or creative activity,” said Robert Olin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our academies advance these areas by funding innovative new projects. I encourage conference attendees to look closely at the projects being presented.”

Five faculty members who received grants from the College Academy to Improve Student Success will deliver presentations from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

The organization focuses on improving the performance of UA students in two areas: rates of freshman retention and rates of overall graduation, according to the CAISS Web site.

The goals of CAISS are to increase the retention rate, currently at 86 percent to 90 percent, and to increase the six-year graduation rate, currently at 63 percent to 75 percent.

“CAISS provides funds to faculty to develop innovative teaching methods that can promote more active and involved student experiences in classes, and thus enhance student success,” Lochman said.

From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., seven faculty members who have received grants from the College Academy of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, CARSCA, will present.

“CARSCA, in contrast with CAISS, provides funds to faculty to promote their level of excellence in their writing, research or creative work, and assists faculty to pursue new areas of work,” Lochman said.

Annual funds are granted to faculty representatives from the College’s three divisions, adding up to $100,00 in faculty projects.

“The faculty presents were recipients of CIASS and CARSCA awards in 2008-2009. For the CARSCA Awards, nine of the 44 applications submitted by faculty were approved for funding, so these faculty had unusually strong proposals to further develop their scholarly work,” Lochman said.

The conference is free to attend and open to everyone.

“You will find a wealth of faculty-directed research that is enriching student learning and the search for new knowledge and ideas at the University of Alabama,” Olin said.