Welcome to New Frontiers

Kenya S. Taylor, Ed. D.
Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

2011/2012 Kenya Taylor Welcom ImageResearch and creative activity is about discovery – for students, for faculty and for our society. We are proud of the many discoveries that occur at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and through this publication we will illustrate some of them.

In this issue you will meet seven faculty members whose work exemplifies the innovative, interdisciplinary and international spirit of research at UNK. Their diverse projects–on subjects ranging from the migratory routes of bats to law and order in the wild west, international partnerships for research in school psychology to international studies of family dynamics, and finding the literary relationship between French writer Marcel Proust and Spanish American writers to the intricate techniques in the creation of remarkable glass art–offer a glimpse into the scientific, scholarly and creative endeavors engaging our faculty and students across the four colleges on the UNK campus.

What is difficult to describe in a magazine story is the energetic and variable nature of the research process – a process that every scholar, regardless of discipline, undergoes. From the initial idea to the excitement of discovery to the published results or creative product, the researchers experience many ups and downs, starts and stops, and may be led in different directions. It is the process of research that provides the excitement and sense of exhilaration. As you read the stories in this issue, you will get a sense of each scholar’s passion for his or her research or creative endeavors.

When I look at the scope of scholarly pursuits and creative activity presented in this issue, I see individual profiles of a university that is consistently bringing its commitment to excellence to the larger community. The success of UNK evolves from sustained commitment–commitment to providing demanding educational and training opportunities, as well as to addressing critical and societal needs through discovery and partnership.

But research and creative activity is not enough. It must go hand-in-hand with teaching. At UNK, our focus on involving students in research and creative activity enriches our undergraduate and graduate programs. We must, after all, depend on the next generation to take these discoveries to the next stage of development. Overall, UNK has benefited from the inherent and remarkable synergy between faculty research and teaching. Not only do our faculty conduct groundbreaking research and creative activity, they also enhance public life by helping to educate a new generation of scholars, teachers, scientists and thinkers.

At UNK, we have discoveries in all fields of study. I hope you enjoy learning about these findings in the following accounts of some of our projects. We appreciate your joining us in opening the doors to discovery.

Dean of Graduate Studies and Research