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February 29, 1996

Student Affairs initiates research award for its staff

Hoping to tap into a sometimes under- utilized resource at the University, Vice Chancellor for Student and Public Affairs Leon Haley has announced the creation of a research award for staff in the Office of Student and Public Affairs.

Known as the Vice Chancellor's Research Award, the research program will be instituted with the start of Pitt's fiscal year on July 1. Successful applicants could receive up to $2,500 to support their project.

"If there are a number of very, very good research projects, however, we might want to divide up that $2,500 to encourage those projects," Haley said, adding that he expects the award to be granted annually.

According to Haley, the Vice Chancellor's Research Award was created, with the support of the Student and Public Affairs senior staff, because he feels there are a lot of research questions that need to be answered regarding student learning and student development from a Student Affairs' perspective.

One area ripe for research, Haley noted, involves the co-curricular activities and services offered by Student Affairs, and how they affect retention. Another possibility is the changing nature and values of college students today, and how they affect the delivery of services and programming.

"There is nothing now on the staff side, particularly in the student life area, that encourages this research," said Haley. "I want to encourage it and I think the way to do that is to make some resources available to allow staff to do research." Although the award is open to all staff in Student and Public Affairs, Haley expects it will be used mainly by those involved in direct service administration, program administration, program development and service delivery.

The award money could be use by a recipient to pay for such things as a work-study student to help develop a survey, for travel to another college to study a program and for mailing and printing costs.

"What we want to do is provide the money for research that might end up as conference papers or articles in professional journals associated with student life and student affairs, personnel administration and so forth," Haley explained.

Haley said he is unaware of any other research awards available to Pitt staff. Likewise, the Office of Research said it is not aware of any research award programs for staff.

"I am looking forward to it," said Haley of the award program. "My general impression is that the staff welcomes this very, very much. My hope is that we'll be able to see some fruits from this in the years to come."

–Mike Sajna

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