Coker University professor brings focus to undergraduate research in all academic disciplinesTraditionally recognized within STEM fields, research has played a significant role in academic pursuits for students at colleges and universities. However, Coker University wanted to ensure all students had research opportunities in their field and recently created a new position dedicated to seeing that vision through.
Joseph Flaherty, a Coker biology faculty member since 2005, has helped pave the way for student research by obtaining multiple funding sources that allowed for new equipment, scholarships, paid summer internships, and additional opportunities for science students to explore the unknown. In his new role as Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives, Flaherty will continue helping to broaden opportunities for all students to engage in a mentored research experience during their time at Coker. He credits his experiences as an undergraduate student, where he had the opportunity to be mentored by faculty which led to a path to becoming a teacher-scholar. This lasting impression has led to a vision at Coker where all students have opportunities to engage with our faculty in a mentored investigation that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge, helping students prepare for future careers or graduate study.
Additionally, Flaherty will establish an Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives (ORSI) to support the bold research and mentorship strategy. This centralized leadership will raise awareness of new and existing support structures. These efforts will further promote faculty and staff commitment to research initiatives - leading to a high investment return.
Coker’s dedication to helping all students discover their leadership potential is critical in developing this research program. Coker President Dr. Natalie Harder shares, “many of the characteristics of strong leaders are replicated in completing credible research. One needs to be disciplined, thorough, thoughtful, unbiased, reflective, curious, and often patient." Leadership isn’t optional at Coker - no matter where students find themselves during their four years, they will have many opportunities to define leadership for themselves.
*This will be a multi-part story with additions from student experiences in their research projects.