David Ettestad

Ninth Annual Fall Forum: 20 Academic Departments Represented

This year’s Faculty and Staff Research and Creativity Fall Forum, which will feature presentations by 85 participants, will take place on Thursday, October 30, in Houston Gym from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

President Muriel A. Howard will offer remarks at 12:30 p.m. A free buffet lunch will be available for visitors as well as presenters. Students are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Topics to be discussed include a new advisement tool, preliminary efforts to identify sources of heavy metals in Western New York, and a service-learning experience involving two senior centers.

A potentially useful research (or advisement) tool has been developed by Howard M. Reid, professor of psychology, and Karen O’Quin, associate dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences. It is the Appreciation of the Liberal Arts Scale (ALAS), a 15-item scale with good reliability that measures appreciation of the liberal arts. Students whose scores showed more positive attitudes toward the liberal arts also tended to be less materialistic, experienced greater life satisfaction, and were better able to defer gratification. Reid and O’Quin think the ALAS may be of value when helping students choose majors.

Elisa Bergslien, associate professor of earth sciences and science education, will present findings of an ongoing project to measure the presence of heavy metals in recreational areas and comparing the levels of such metals in the city, the suburbs, and rural areas. So far, studies show significantly higher levels of lead, iron, and zinc in the city. A long-term goal of the study is to differentiate the naturally occurring presence of heavy metals from that caused by human activity. The concentration of iron in local soils, for example, may be related to the underlying bedrock throughout Western New York.

Phyllis Thompson, assistant professor of art education, will present a service-learning course project that took place at two Buffalo senior centers to promote creative expression, cultural enrichment and understanding, exposure to art media, and enhanced social skills among the seniors and the students.

Art education students and women at the centers talked about schooling, Buffalo history, family life, romance, and politics. The presentation will highlight the content of the narratives and visual memoirs they produced, and ways that the community service contributed to student learning in the course.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for faculty members to find out about others’ work,” said Provost Dennis Ponton. “It’s also a chance to think about new ways to conduct interdisciplinary research.”

In all, faculty members will represent more than 20 academic departments as well as the Center for China Studies, the Center for Health and Social Research, E. H. Butler Library, and the Great Lakes Center. The Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College, the Research Foundation, Instructional Resources, and the College and Community Partnerships Office will also be represented. For more information, visit the Research Foundation Web site. The program booklet of presentation titles and abstracts is also available on the Web site.