Faculty-Student Collaboration Pays Off for Bruce Anderson’s Students
Carlene Fogle-Miller, a senior honors student in political science, working on an article about the Whitewater scandal in collaboration with Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Bruce Anderson.
At most colleges, it’s hard for undergraduates to get their names in academic publications. Professors usually collaborate with graduate students on research projects or reserve authorship for themselves.
But at FSC, thanks to an emphasis on experiential learning, faculty members are working with students to conduct research and include them in the credit. The summer months present a special opportunity for collaborative research between faculty and students, encouraged by a new program at FSC.
Associate Professor of Political Science Bruce Anderson is one faculty member who has taken advantage of it. When Sage Publications, a leading academic press, invited Anderson to write a series of articles about political criminal cases for a forthcoming volume on white-collar crime, he persuaded the editors to let four of his junior- and senior-level undergraduates do the research, write the articles, and receive the primary authorship credit. Anderson reviews and edits the work, and he will be listed as second author, but the publication credit gives students’ resumes a boost if they apply for graduate or law school, he says.
The project is one of six on campus carried out this year under the Faculty-Student Collaboration initiative at Florida Southern, a summer research program which is administered by Dr. Mary Crowe, Associate Provost for Experiential Education. Students must apply to the program, which pays a modest stipend to the students and the faculty and also pays for supplies and travel, if necessary.
“Summer is when faculty members are available to work with students. It’s a way for students to get experience in their academic discipline. In the sciences and the humanities, the work prepares them for graduate school. Getting students on peer-reviewed publications is huge,” Crowe said.
In Anderson’s case, the contract with Sage calls for 14 articles of 900 to 2,400 words, with topics ranging from antitrust investigations to the Keating Five scandal of the 1980s to Watergate. Anderson helps the students compile a reading list which they must analyze and condense, and the project is being carried out over the summer.
For Carlene Fogle-Miller, a senior honors student in political science, working on an article about the Whitewater scandal in Arkansas that threatened to derail the political career of Bill Clinton will be “a very valuable asset.”
“I can show I’m capable of good, solid writing,” said Fogle-Miller, who plans to attend law school. “It gives me a leg up on some others who haven’t done this kind of research.”
The emphasis on experiential education at FSC prepares students for a project like this one, Anderson said.
Anderson has other projects involving student research going on as well. In one, Fogle-Miller and other students are doing research using public records and news reports on how women candidates have fared in their campaigns in 15 Southern states over the past three election cycles. The results will be compiled and written into one or more academic papers, which he hopes will be presented at the Southern Political Science Association’s annual meeting in January.
Anderson also will have his students tracking electoral factors during the fall campaigns as part of his class on Elections.
“All of these are collaborative with students and meant to serve two basic functions: to have students get an in-depth idea of what political scientists actually do when they do research, and the practical aim of getting our students both onto conference panels and into publication,” he said.