It’s nearly 2018, the Student Opportunity for Academic Research incepted for VCSU in 2012, implemented in 2014, and now considered to be growing beyond its initial phase of innovation.
The SOAR program features: VCSU faculty design, focus on student learning, one-by-one learning is extended in a direct contact with a faculty mentor, students practicing essential inquiry, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, and most often as a researcher in an arena never fully crossed before.
To date there have been five calls to students for proposals, where 20 projects have been funded for 22 students, those projects involving 17 different faculty mentors and who represent 7 of the 11 academic departments, suggesting then that inclusivity is evidenced as a program goal.
Uniquely VCSU, the SOAR program is a vehicle for discovery, nimbly responsive to individual students who request mentor-facilitated scholarly works be funded, most project timelines extending beyond 100 hours.
What is considered as “research” for a mathematician is likely consistent to the definition used by the scientist, even the social scientist, but what about the musician, the artist, the art teacher, or a staff member in the admissions department who seeks to discover why VCSU recruits on average hail from within 50 miles of Valley City?
Broadening “research” into “scholarship” and “creative activities” is important for this rural liberal arts and teacher focused institution because of its innate student demographics, SOAR striving to service the most inquisitive students from any of these three arenas, inviting participation from all VCSU academic departments, matching student and faculty excellence, coaching for discovery, and demonstrating understanding through professional presentations of student works.
SOAR – what is in its name? Students, opportunities, academic research, implicit are new wings of discovery, a windy but sunny landscape, test flights to heights never achieved, an unanticipated crash, maybe two, tenacious remount, mastered flight, learning.
Curiously a permutation of the letters SOAR, become OARS, that is lever arms used to steer a ship, say a Viking ship, and in that metaphor we on the SOAR Advisory Committee remain intent on developing excellence in our Viking Scholars.
Please consider applying for, or hosting a SOAR scholarship today!