Fostering Faculty/Student Research Collaboration in Online Learning

Author Information
Dr. Suzanne Minarcine
Dr. Jill Fuson
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
American Public University System
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Faculty members in traditional institutions have long provided opportunities for student collaboration, particularly with graduate students. This has been part of the traditional graduate culture. In the School of Business at APUS, the need was identified for faculty/student collaboration in a supportive and nurturing environment. A multi-faceted approach is currently being used to successful encourage faculty research with student participation. The APUS Research Special Interest Group is rapidly growing and its positive results are evident.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

A four prong approach is used to facilitate faculty involvement in research, as well as student partnerships with faculty. The cornerstone of the APUS Research Special Interest Group is the monthly Adobe Connect meeting, facilitated by Dr. Suzanne Minarcine and open to faculty and staff throughout the university. Supporting this group is a Facebook page and Linked-In group, as well as the APUS Faculty Research Grants. Faculty are encouraged to invite interested students to also participate. The monthly meetings provide an opportunity for faculty members to present their research ideas, obtain advice on methodology or research questions, gain helpful critiques of their research, and as a forum to showcase their papers and presentations. It is also provides an opportunity for novice faculty researchers and select students to gain valuable research experience by partnering with experienced faculty researchers. The APUS Research SIG Facebook page provides links to current calls for papers in a variety of disciplines.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

There have been no formal studies to date on the effectiveness of the APUS Research Special Interest Group, however membership has grown to over 250 participants from across the university. There are currently 13 proposals that have been or are being written since the beginning of this group that will be submitted to the IRB within the next 60 days.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

The APUS Research Special Interest Group relates to Faculty Satisfaction, Learning Effectiveness, and Student Satisfaction.

Online faculty often report feelings of isolation and a lack of support for research activities. The APUS Research Special Interest Group offers the opportunity for collaboration and support in research activities which benefit both the university and the individual faculty member. Participating faculty report a greater feeling of connectedness with other faculty and a great sense of satisfaction from the recognition.

The APUS Research SIG offers students valuable research experience and the opportunity to develop 1:1 relationships with faculty mentors. Students report higher satisfaction because of the closer relationship and interdependence that develops, and have reported overall improvements in their writing and study skills. Participation in the group has resulted in job opportunities for students who have participated.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Adobe Connect, telephone access.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 


Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Dr. Suzanne Minarcine
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Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Dr. Jill Fuson
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