2022 Andrews University Research Week

   Campus News | Posted on November 7, 2022

Andrews University’s annual Research Week took place from Oct. 17–21. The program included three main events that together demonstrate the University’s dedication to seeking knowledge and engaging communities to create a better world.

Carlisle Sutton, research services coordinator, states, “We are pleased to be able to partner with the English and STEM departments, the James White Library and the Office of the Provost to co-host Research Week. We are blessed to have students, faculty and staff lend their support to facilitate these opportunities for continuous learning and community building.”

The first event of the week, the annual John O. Waller Lectureship for the Arts, took place on Monday, Oct. 17, featuring speaker Louise Geddes, PhD, professor of English at Adelphi University. Geddes’ presentation, “How the Musical Became Meta,” was based on her current book-length project of the same title.

Throughout her talk, Geddes emphasized the metatheatrical and self-referential nature of the 21st-century musical. Because of the musical’s awareness of its fictional status, the art form is able to interact with its audience in ways both subtle and overt. In a related way, fans of musical theater affect productions through their self-aware and intentional interactions with the shows. This interdependence between theater and its audience allows musicals to explore new avenues of truth, authenticity and representation through performance. Ultimately, Geddes explains that a musical becomes meta “as an act of love,” as it finds ways to articulate the cultural value of its core stories.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, the Celebration of Community Engagement began with a reception and poster presentations by on-campus researchers, followed by a video and plenary session by Michigan Congressman Fred Upton and Sung Kwon, PhD, associate professor of leadership and director of the MA in Leadership with a social innovation concentration.

Kwon’s presentation centered on the importance of creating a collective, intentional and sustainable impact on our communities. He highlighted the Christian responsibility to liberate people from whatever binds them or prevents them from flourishing, asking his audience, “How can we be the church for our community with our community?” Affirming the role of Adventist church members as social innovators, he encouraged individuals to tangibly express God’s kingdom on earth, noting, “We must learn to love and emulate our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be adding value to people's lives—hope, reconciliation and new life into the world.” 

The final event of the week, the Celebration of Research & Creative Scholarship, occurred on Friday, Oct. 21. Jay Johnson, PhD, professor of engineering, and Petr Činčala, PhD, associate professor of world mission and director of both the Institute of Church Ministry and the Doctor of Missiology program, gave the plenary presentations.

The two presentations provided a glimpse into the important research accomplishments being made by the Andrews University community. Činčala’s talk covered his personal journey of involvement with denominational human subject research. Through stories and examples of research projects, he demonstrated applications for local congregations and churches. He explained that his core message sought to “demonstrate how human subject research can make a difference in ministry of individuals, local churches, as well as the denomination as a whole.” 

Johnson, whose talk was titled, “Tilting the Playing Field,” discussed three mechanisms of solar wind-magnetosphere coupling, showing that seasonal modulations occur based on changes during the solar cycle. He explains, “The basic idea is that the tilt of the magnetic dipole can play a significant role in coupling of the solar wind to the magnetosphere.” Based on his observations, he recommends that “everyone plan their trips to the upper peninsula during spring or fall break when the geomagnetic activity level is the highest and you are more likely to see spectacular auroras.”

Following the two keynote presentations, participants attended poster presentations and oral breakout sessions throughout the afternoon. Činčala enjoyed connecting with students at the event and underscored the importance of engaging young researchers, motivating them and providing networking opportunities. He shares, “Andrews University is raising future researchers, myself included.”

“Academic institutions are driven by a thirst for knowledge, and curiosity is the engine of learning,” Johnson adds. “When faculty are engaged in research, they model the learning experience for students and show real applications of learning.”

Gary Burdick, dean of research, notes, “Andrews University continues to make significant strides to the advancement of knowledge through the research of our faculty and students. Research Week highlights the intersection of research and life, where we highlight the value of research in the arts and sciences, and how it can be applied to advancing the quality of life for individuals and communities near and far.”

   Jeff Boyd