Progress in the health-related professions is swift, as science and innovation constantly spur new clinical approaches and technological breakthroughs. The ability to translate new knowledge into improved practice is foundational for success in the nursing, health, and exercise professions. Our school, in its commitment to research and intellectual inquiry, educates students to become not only early adopters but active creators of the new knowledge transforming the health and wellness landscape.
Across all of our programs, faculty are active scholars and researchers, and the relationship between teaching and research is seamless. These teacher-scholars bring new insights into the classroom, introducing students to the controversies and conundrums of their fields. And they welcome students into the realm of research, collaborating with them on research projects and other intellectual endeavors.
Through such challenging scholarship, our students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, become critical thinkers and problem solvers who demonstrate strong clinical reasoning skills. They graduate as independent scholars, well prepared for the continual learning and constant self-evaluation that is a lifelong responsibility in our professions.
Research Mentored by Teacher-Scholars
As scholars and teachers, our faculty are experts at guiding students in the development of research and evidence-based practice projects. In these collaborative partnerships, students may contribute to a professor’s research or pursue their own scholarly interests under a faculty mentor. Whether the product is a research paper, capstone project, or graduate thesis, student-faculty research ultimately leads to better patient care and healthier people and populations.
Students learn scholarly methods from an accomplished faculty who present at conferences and publish books and book chapters, articles in peer-reviewed journals, and professional position statements in their areas of expertise. Among these are women’s and adolescent health; HIV prevention and care; bullying in schools; exercise metabolism; youth and community fitness; diabetes and quality of life; quality and safety education for nurses; and many other critical health and wellness issues.
These teacher-scholars also conduct research into learning itself, studying ways to improve education in their disciplines. Students are the direct beneficiaries of this work, with its practical, classroom applications. Integrated into their teaching are professors’ own discoveries: techniques to educate about quality and safety issues in nursing; methods of integrating population health across the nursing curriculum; and learning strategies for students whose first language is not English, among others.
Advancing Knowledge and Community Wellness
Whether conducted on campus or in collaboration with local partners, student-faculty research has a direct and lasting impact on the knowledge base of our professions and the health and wellness of our communities. Some projects are conducted on campus, for example, in our human performance lab, where researchers collect and analyze data from study volunteers, seeking to shed light on such critical questions in health and exercise science as:
- How can aerobic and anaerobic exercise be integrated into a single workout routine to achieve optimal benefit?
- Is there a dose-response relationship between whole-body vibration and its documented enhancement of exercise performance?
- Do high-intensity, short-duration workouts combining running with weight training burn more calories than running alone?
Other projects plumb the published literature for new insights in nursing or partner with local organizations—from schools and community centers to health clinics and government agencies—to advance understanding of public health issues. Many of our projects, across all three departments, provide direct benefits to the communities we serve, asking:
- Does a targeted, school-based intervention of fitness training and nutritional education reduce the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in youth?
- Do girls participating in a curriculum-rich fitness club report greater confidence and self-esteem in addition to greater fitness?
- What does a literature review reveal about the health consequences to LGBT youth of bullying? And how can this information best be shared with school nurses?
Students who fully participate in the scholarly life of our school come to recognize their own power to create change through the discovery and application of new knowledge. This, in turn, inspires a lifelong commitment to continual learning and self-education that our graduates carry into their professional careers.