To celebrate all aspects of scholarly research and creative activity of NMSU’s faculty, staff and students, the university will host Research and Creativity Week Nov. 2-5. Events are free and open to the public.
COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing and masking will be in place.
More than 200 posters, oral presentations, short performances, media installations, musical performances, art exhibits and guest lectures will be held during Research and Creativity Week. Special guests include New Mexico state Sen. William Soules, who will speak about how research and creativity will move New Mexico toward a prosperous future.
“Research and Creativity Week celebrates the scholarly work of our academy and is a welcoming and safe venue for our students, particularly those who are presenting for the first time, to get in front of the public,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “I am thrilled that Research and Creativity Week will be hybrid this year. Posters will be virtual, but the majority of talks will have an in-person option. Make sure you are vaccinated, wear a mask, and support your fellow Aggies in person.”
“It is very important that we recognize all of the research and creative activity that goes on at NMSU,” said Chris Sroka, applied statistics assistant professor and University Research Council chair. “Everyone’s efforts, across all disciplines, help to raise the profile of NMSU and enhance the education of our students.”
In just a few years, participation during Research and Creativity Week has not only grown but the non-STEM fields also have seen significant increases. Research and Creativity Week grew out of the University Research Council Research and Creative Activities Fair.
“The previous event was much smaller than we have now,” Sroka said. “The research fair had about 40 poster presentations, and the event was held during the afternoon on a single day. This year, we will have four days of activities, with over 200 participants from the NMSU community as well as special musical performances, film screenings and guest speakers.”
Many events, including the full campus debut of the recent Executive Leadership Retreat poster session, will be held at Corbett Center Student Union and other locations on campus, while the poster presentations will be virtual.
“This will allow attendees to have much more dynamic interactions with the presenters and with other attendees,” Sroka said. “We have also seen much more interest from the NMSU community in presenting their work in-person. About 120 students, staff and faculty will be giving an in-person presentation at this year’s event.”
Student participants in Research and Creativity Week will be eligible for cash prizes, and awards will be presented at Pete’s Patio Nov. 11, weather permitting, which also will be an open mike event.
Additionally, recipients of the University Research Council’s 21st annual Exceptional Achievements in Creative and Scholarly Activity Awards will give a talk on their research. Awardees include Early Career: Ehsan Dehghan-Niri, civil engineering assistant professor; Distinguished Career: Elba Serrano, Regents Professor of Biology, and Jessica Houston, chemical and materials engineering professor and interim department head; Research Recognition: Raena Cota, computer science program manager; and Team Award: Mitch Fowler, Creative Media Institute associate professor, and Ross Marks, CMI assistant professor; and Dawn VanLeeuwen, applied statistics professor, and Keith Mandabach, hotel, restaurant and tourism management professor. Recipients also will be recognized at spring convocation.
The new Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity in NMSU’s Honors College will host research and creativity after-hours events, which are intended to show students what research and creativity activity look like in action, starting Nov. 1.
Musical events will be held in the Atkinson Recital Hall and include performances from Eliza Gilkyson Nov. 3, Chris Reyman Nov. 4 and Jim Shearer with Reyman, Erik Unsworth and Andy Smith Nov. 5.
In addition to celebrating research and creative activity, increasing funding for research is a key initiative at NMSU. Recently, Cifuentes announced that the Office of the Vice President of Research with support of Provost Carol Parker is investing $250,000 in seed funding for research, scholarship and creative activities, specifically in the arts and humanities, and those social sciences which are typically not well funded.
Overall, NMSU’s annual research and development expenditures have increased for the third consecutive year, and totaled $110.6 million for the 2021 fiscal year. At the present rate of increase, annual research and development expenditures are on track to exceed NMSU’s LEADS 2025 goal of $120 million by 2024, according to Cifuentes.
An additional goal of LEADS 2025 is to achieve the highest Carnegie research status, R1, in the next four years, and Cifuentes said he is pleased with the campus community’s desire to reach that objective.
“For me, it was encouraging and energizing to hear that much of our campus has bought in on the LEADS 2025 vision and Goal 2, Elevating Research and Creativity; and, it must be said that this is the result of Chancellor Arvizu’s, President Floros’s and our leadership team’s prioritization of and investment in the research enterprise,” he said.
Author: Tiffany Acosta