Social Sciences: Higher Education and Religious Studies

Supervising Faculty Member: Karen Inkelas and David Germano

Specialization: Higher Education and Religious Studies

Research Focus:  The University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Pennsylvania State University have teamed up to develop a course on mindfulness and flourishing for first-year first semester students at the three campuses. The course, titled “A Life Worth Living,” will introduce the theory, art, and science behind mindfulness (e.g., meditation, breathing exercises) and will work with first-year students on developing skills and sensitivities such as awareness, concentration, and compassion that will enable them to live happier and healthier lives and make the most of their time in college. The course will be taught for the first time this fall on all three campuses, and will need to be pilot-tested.

Position Description: You will fulfill a critical role in the pilot-test assessment of the class at UVA by serving as a student evaluator. You will be evaluating the course from the student’s perspective and providing feedback to both the instructor and the research team studying the course. You will also have the opportunity to interview students who took the course, as well as to conduct focus groups.

Required skills: You should be professional, punctual, responsible, and possess a natural curiosity about the college experience. It is also important that you be meticulous with data. You will learn the rest of the skills as you work on the project.

Computer software: We will train you on any software that we will be using.

Training/certification: No training necessary, but since you will be working with student data, you will need to obtain human subjects (IRB) certification: http://www.virginia.edu/vpr/irb/sbs/training.html

What you will learn: In working on these two projects, I hope you will learn:

  1. what goes into the development of a college-level course;
  2. different ways researchers study teaching and learning; and
  3. the process of collaboration across different universities.