PL-1: Reflections on Forty Years of Research Discovery
Duane McBride, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Institute for Prevention of Addictions
My research career began in the summer of 1972 as a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky with a project applying role theory to becoming a “street drug addict”. I have had an active research project every year since that time with publications each year since 1975 (American Journal of Psychiatry) to 2012 (Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment) with at least two more in line for 2013. At this reflective moment, I want to reflect on some existential questions of why, what it has meant, why I still do it (and why all should think about doing it). Such issues as the role of expectations of mentors, the thrill of discovery, the meaning of impact, the joy of mentoring, the satisfaction of being a part of the discussion at the edges of one’s field, and confronting the tyranny of the daily will be discussed. Finally, the research environment at Andrews will be examined in terms of how it facilitates research, the barriers that exist here and perhaps how and why we should overcome them and contribute to Andrews being a part of the life of the mind and discovery and impact.
PL-2: Getting from There to Here: Collaborations, Motivations and Mistakes at Mid-Career
Curtis VanderWaal, Department of Social Work and Institute for Prevention of Addictions
The mid-point in a career is a good time to reflect on one’s successes and challenges in research. This presentation will focus on the importance of strong mentoring, collaborative networks, and the role (and sometimes lack of) of release time in providing space for productivity. In addition, the presentation will discuss how resources can motivate and shape projects, providing leverage to follow interests but also opening up new interest areas. Finally, the role of mistakes, false leads, and phantom opportunities will be considered as learning stages along the research path. Three key projects – ImpacTeen; DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative; and United Way – will be used to illustrate the joys and frustrations of the research process.
PL-3: Creative Discovery
Steven Hansen, Department of Visual Art and Design
Successful scholarship is frequently defined by discovery. In the sciences it might be the discovery of new chemical reactions, therapies, or parasites. In the behavioral sciences it might be the discovery of connections between behavioral outcomes and the environment. In the fine arts it is the discovery of a new way to express ideas visually. The language of art is comprised of a wide array of signs. These signs can be images, marks, or even words. It is the goal of most artists to construe a way to combine the aspects of visual language into a new form, the “undiscovered country”. Creating “the new” is not easy. Humans have been making marks and sculptures since before there was written language. Artists have been realists, expressionists, abstractionists, and conceptualists in every imaginable combination of media. Confronting the monumental task of adding a fresh body of work to the encyclopedia of art is a daunting and seemingly impossible task. In my work, I stumbled on “the new” by focusing on being true to myself. Instead of focusing on the “undiscovered country”, I concentrated on creating work that was true to my nature and nurture. I craft works that are formally in harmony with my mid-Western experience and intellectually driven by my interest in history and culture. In the process of making work that expressed my own unique life experience and interest, I created a signature style that is recognized nationally and internationally.