Wednesday, April 16, 2014

URCA student, Caleb Butler, presents research in mixed media exhibit

Caleb Butler (l) discusses his project with student.

For the 2013-2014 academic year, Caleb Butler, a senior sociology major with minors in English and Black Studies, earned an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Associate award in order to produce his independent research project, “Support and Success of African American Men at a Predominantly White Institution.” Professor Erin Murphy and I served as his project mentors.

[Related: Images from Caleb Butler's research project]

Caleb said that the URCA Associate program allowed him "to engage my research more intensely - beyond the standards of a traditional undergraduate project - and to present my findings on various platforms, including a national conference. The program allowed for this by providing funding, more time (an extra semester), and the freedom to work closely with two faculty mentors."

Student viewing and listening to exhibit

For his project, Caleb studied the academic and social environments that black men experience at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) and how their involvement in a first-year support program enabled them to successfully navigate college. He interviewed 24 young men who had participated in the support program between 2006 - 2013. The interviews totaled 25 hours.

[Related: Caleb Butler's Mailbag Pt. 1 and Caleb Butler's Mailbag Pt. 2]  

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Caleb presented aspects of his research as part of a mixed media exhibit. Visitors to the exhibit had the opportunity to read about Caleb's research and listen to him discussing it using audio devices. The audio devices also included excerpts from interviews with the participants in the study.

[Exhibit excerpts with audio files: Panel #1 and Panel #2]

Over 60 undergraduates from various majors attended the exhibit on Tuesday and Wednesday. Caleb said making his URCA Associate research available to students "is a highly valuable part of the process because it allows students to identify with - or become aware of - the experiences of African American men in college, and it creates a public space for conversation and feedback."

Support and Success of African American Men at a Predominantly White Institution

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