AGEP Conference: Bringing Cutting Edge Classroom Research to Light

AGEP Conference: Bringing Cutting Edge Classroom Research to Light

“From the Lab to the Classroom: Making Research Relevant” was the theme of this year’s Michigan AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) Fall Conference. It brought the best and brightest graduate and professional students from across the Midwest to Michigan State’s Kellogg Center Saturday, October 22 for the daylong meeting of the minds.

Dr. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, professor in Psychology at Columbia University and instructor at the Columbia Business School, gave the keynote talk on making research relevant, highlighting her own research on dosing achievement gaps in middle and high schools. Engaging crosstalks and poster presentations were given on host of topics by students from Loyola University of Chicago, Beloit College (WI), Western Michigan, Wayne State, Michigan Technological, and of course, Michigan State Universities.

Talks by Michigan State students ranged from Cameron Herman’s “Exploring Urban Youth’s Perceptions of a Recreation Center in Atlanta, Georgia,” to Christopher Rhoades’ “A Genetic Approach to Characterize the Novel Second Messenger cyclic-GMP-AMP Dependent Regulation of Chemotaxis in Vibro cholerae," and Chartanay Bonner’s “Effects of Metal Ions on the Antimicrobial Properties of Silver Nanoparticles.” Concurrent panel discussions throughout the day, offered by faculty from the University of Cincinnati, Michigan, Wayne State, Michigan Tech, Western Michigan, Tuskegee and Wayne County Community College, covered professional development topics from paying and staying for graduate school, to developing teaching portfolios, finding effective mentoring, becoming a faculty entrepreneur, and navigating the academic job search.

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Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Associate Dean and Professor of African American History introduced the keynote speaker Dr. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, a celebrated scholar.

Dr. Purdie-Vaughns is a professor in the Department of Psychology and instructor at the Business school at Columbia University provided the keynote address to an audience of 125 guests. Purdie-Vaughns’ remarks focused on the value of positive reinforcement and the benefits for minority students. Specifically, as positive reinforcement counteracts negative messages a student may receive in his/her environment. Also, contrary to prior research intervention provided by white instructors is beneficial regardless of their race.

“Dr. Purdie-Vaughns started conversations that made shockwaves on campus that would lead to some positive outcomes. A lot of the faculty members left with—they left with new ideas of how to approach their teaching,” said Steven Thomas AGEP Program Manager.

The annual AGEP conference is generously supported by the National Science Foundation. The conference is in its eighth year.

Thomas says there could be some enhancements to the 2017 conference based on questionnaires and suggestions submitted by participants.