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2009 IRC

The International Research Conference for Graduate Students hosted by the Graduate College at Texas State on November 4–5 attracted submissions from nearly 80 students from Texas State and other universities in the United States and abroad. Research papers presented were on a wide range of topics from various disciplines including education, political science, geography, biology, mass and interpersonal communication, social work, mathematics, engineering and computer science, to name a few.

“I have personally received very valuable suggestions on how to improve my dissertation proposal,” said Pamela Wadende, doctoral student in the Adult, Professional and Community Education program at Texas State. Because of her presentation at the conference, Pamela was invited to make a presentation to students in an Honors course.

The two-day events started on November 4 with a Graduate Information Fair and a Preconference Workshop before the Conference Opening at 6 p.m.

The Conference began with a welcome address by Dr. Debbie Thorne, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Texas State. Dr. Arvind Singhal, Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Endowed Professor of Communication and Director of Research and Outreach, Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies, The University of Texas at El Paso, in his opening address ‘Understanding others and ourselves: Conducting research in intercultural and international contexts’ explained how using cultural scorecards and going beyond textocentrism would help researchers to understand others better.

On November 5, the Conference kicked off with a keynote address by Dr. Roger Wiemers, Fulbright Scholar and Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Leadership and Doctoral Program Coordinator at Tennessee State University. He spoke about innovation and originality in research and encouraged students to think beyond data crunching while doing research.

Mass Communication graduate student, Dale Blasingame said this: “The… keynote address really cemented the thought that I can do qualitative research. It's something I've been going back and forth about… plus, Dr. Weimers' project with the Dead Sea was really inspirational.”

Concurrent sessions were held all day long on November 5 at the LBJ Student Center. The interdisciplinary conference inspired students to look at perspectives beyond their specific area of research. Students said that they enjoyed interacting with their fellow students from other disciplines and universities. For many of the students, it was their first experience to present a paper at a conference. This experience in a friendly but professional environment provided them with self-confidence and helped them to understand the importance of research. Many master’s students were inspired to continue with their research and made them think about pursuing doctoral programs. Faculty from Texas State as well as from other universities served as judges of the research panels and provided constructive feedback to the students. Representatives of the ASG Graduate House served as moderators of several research panels.

Dr. Coy Callison, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, College of Mass Communication at Texas Tech University had this to say: “I was excited not only for the opportunity to talk to prospective students about our program but also for the opportunity it afforded my students to hone their skills and engage in meaningful research dialogue. I look forward to your conference again next year. With such a fantastic start in year one, I can't wait to see what year two has to offer.”

To coincide with the Conference opening, a Graduate Information Fair was held from 11 a.m.—2 p.m. in the Quad on November 4th. Graduate advisers from academic colleges as well as ASG Graduate House representatives participated in the event and informed prospective graduate students about their programs. This event was co-sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and Career Services. The Graduate College co-partnered with the UPD for the food.

Later on November 4th, a Preconference on ‘Conducting Effective Research’ was held from 3 p.m.—5 p.m. at the LBJ Student Center. Dr. Tom Grimes, Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dr. Gail Ryser, Director, Testing Research-Support/Evaluation Center, Dr. Michael Blanda, Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Dr. Patricia Shields, Professor, Political Science made presentations on topics such as responsible conduct of research, grant-funded research and how to make effective presentations.

Dr. Michael Willoughby, Dean of the Graduate College had this to say: "The International Research Conference for Graduate Students was a tremendous success. The student participation was outstanding, and we continue to receive positive feedback from faculty and students. I would like to thank Dr. Sandy Rao, Assistant Dean of the Graduate College, who organized our conference, as well as, our sponsors, Texas State faculty, staff and Graduate House members, who all contributed to the success of this event."

The Conference was entirely free for the participants and was co-sponsored by the ASG Graduate House, Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations, College of Education, Common Experience, Department of Communication Studies, Equity and Access Committee and Texas State University Bookstore.

The Graduate College thanks our sponsors:

ASG Graduate House; Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations; 
College of Education; Common Experience; Department of Communication Studies; 
Equity and Access Committee and Texas State University Bookstore