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UR Between the Covers

Administrator’s book series addresses research in the humanities

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The excellence of Bridgewater State University’s undergraduate research program is well established. The program has earned accolades from Atlanta to Australia, and many schools have undertaken to replicate what BSU is doing in this area.

One of the hallmarks of undergraduate research at BSU is the fact that every discipline is involved. Meanwhile, other institutions struggle to incorporate students from the humanities.

“Undergraduate research is often strong in the sciences, but very often leaves out the kinds of scholarly work that’s done in other fields,” said Dr. Jenny Shanahan, BSU’s assistant provost for high-impact practices, and previous director of undergraduate research.

Recently, Routledge, the Britain-based publisher that specializes in quality academic titles, approached Dr. Shanahan about writing a book that would help music students find a way to engage in undergraduate research. In recent years, the company has been approached often by students and faculty asking if such a book was available.

Now it is.

Paired with Dr. Gregory Young, a veteran music professor at Montana State University, Dr. Shanahan coauthored Undergraduate Research in Music: A Guide for Students. She handles the chapters with general information about doing research, and Dr. Young provides the subject-specific content.

“The book can be used in a capstone course or one might use it in an independent study or summer research project,” Dr. Shanahan said. In the pages of the new book, she has drawn from her experience as the longtime director of BSU’s undergraduate research program.

Routledge is happy with the results, and has actually created an Undergraduate Research Series of books, asking Dr. Shanahan to repeat her efforts in a variety of humanities subjects. Dance is up next, and under review are potential titles addressing research in film, the visual arts, theater and history. The same process would hold for each book: Dr. Shanahan would provide the expertise in research techniques and would be paired with a faculty member from the particular discipline being covered. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, University News)

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