Dr. Rogers practiced in the physical therapy field for five years before he joined the LCU faculty as chair of the LCU Exercise and Sport Sciences Department. He completed his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University in 2006 and was appointed Dean in 2013.
Many challenging issues face higher education today yet Lubbock Christian University and the College of Professional Studies are uniquely positioned to meet them. One of the most pressing issues faced today is how to adequately connect with and prepare this generation of students, with their unique characteristics. Learning is enhanced when students are actively engaged in their education and when they are challenged to think critically and apply what they are learning. With the expanding of midadolescence (Bonner, 2013) and the many distractions presented this generation of students, actively engaging them is becoming more complex (Hanson, Drumheller, Mallard, McKee, and Schlegel, 2011). It is becoming more apparent that many students today need a higher level of faculty support and modeling (Bonner, 2013) to become adequately equipped for adult life after college.
Lubbock Christian University and the College of Professional Studies offers many unique experiential learning opportunities that foster student engagement, high levels of critical thinking, and faculty mentorship. One such opportunity afforded students is mentorship through scholarly research. It has been well documented that undergraduate research programs are effective in producing graduates who obtain doctoral degrees in a variety of fields or who ultimately serve in leadership positions (Burrelli, Rapoport, and Lehming, 2008). In many disciplines across the campus, including the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, faculty are mentoring students through the process of inquiry, data collection, application of information, and dissemination of original research.
Since 2010, LCU has had thirty-seven students accepted to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in locations such as Montana, New York, Utah, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. Many students have presented their research at other international, national, state, and regional academic forums. In the College of Professional Studies, topics of research have related to disciplines such as biology, chemistry, exercise science, and nursing. On-going studies exploring a variety of issues include water quality in urban playa lakes, bacterial control in peanut products, the use of fungal enzymes to convert agricultural waste into biofuel, the effects of stress on students and student athletes, the use of technology in monitoring dietary food intake, and evidence based practice in nursing, just to name a few. Each of these research projects represents countless hours of faculty mentoring and relationship building with students. It contributes to a deepened experience (Lopatto, 2006) and knowledge in a chosen field, a development of problem-solving skills, and an enhancement of the skill to communicate research findings. More importantly, students witness a Christ-centered approach to scholarship that will have a profound influence on their professional lives.
Other unique learning opportunities available to students at LCU include faculty-led extracurricular and curricular trips. In the health or pre-health professions fields, students take medical mission trips to Africa, Mexico, and Peru. These trips allow students to work alongside LCU faculty, alumni, and other healthcare professionals providing medical care in environments where there is little or no access to such services. In the field of business and leadership, faculty-directed trips are taken to places such as New York, China, and Europe that expose students to prominent national and international organizations and provide networking experience with prominent business leaders. Likewise, students are provided leadership development opportunities alongside faculty and Christian CEO’s at the Colorado Leadership Conference. These opportunities engage students in a diverse learning experience, deepen relationships within the learning community, broaden students’ worldview, and provide them tools for becoming vocational missionaries after graduation.
The growing efforts in mentored research and experiential learning demonstrate a commitment to advance in scholarship with a heart for developing outstanding students well equipped to contribute to society in their chosen fields of study. Additionally, they provide unique opportunities to connect with this generation of students and foster high faculty support to help students become prepared for adult life after college.
Bonner, S. (2013). Extended midadolescence and entering college students: Quantitative evidence of diminished logical and moral cognitive development. (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of youth Ministry Educators, Chicago, IL, October 2013)
Burrelli, J., Rapoport, A., & Lehming, R. (2008). Baccalaureate origins of S&E Doctorate Recipients. National Science Foundation (NSF 08-311), Arlington, VA.
Hanson, T. L., Drumheller, K., Mallard, J., McKee, C., & Schlegel, P. (2011). Cell phones, text messaging, and Facebook: Competing time demands of today’s college students. College Teaching, (59) 23-30.
Lopatto, D. (2006). Undergraduate research as a catalyst for liberal learning. Peer Review, 8(1), 22-25.