Xavier’s Successes in Enhancing Research and Scholarship: In the past decade, Xavier has embarked on an ambitious, strategic initiative to enhance its scholarship and research competitiveness across all disciplines. For example, among the nation’s 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Xavier currently ranks 6th in NIH funding and 1st on a per capita basis. Among all universities in the nation, Xavier is among the top 27% in NSF funding and among the top 16% in NIH funding. In Louisiana, Xavier ranks 3rd in NIH funding, behind only Tulane and the LSU System. In FY08-09, Xavier received a total of $22.6 million in external funding, including over $13 million dedicated to scientific research. In addition, individual investigator awards continue to rise. In the first six months of FY08-09, individual investigators were awarded a total of $2.3 million, while in first six months of FY09-10, a total of $5.4 million was awarded.
Xavier’s Commitment to Research and Scholarship to accomplish its educational mission: Many universities attempt to enhance their research programs in order to create/develop and disseminate new knowledge for public use and Xavier does this as well. However, the primary motivation for Xavier’s commitment to research is to enhance the education of our students. Clearly, in all disciplines, it is essential that faculty be involved in research and scholarship in order to maintain up-to-date knowledge of their fields and be able to transmit this knowledge to our students. However, there are other reasons for such involvement as well. For example, numerous National Science Foundation studies have shown that involving freshman and sophomore students in faculty research projects increases the likelihood of their becoming science majors and being retained in their first two years. Further, involving students in research at the junior/senior levels increases the likelihood of their going on to graduate school. Other studies have shown similar results for students in non-science fields. Xavier is well known for being first in the nation for graduating African Americans in the sciences and thereby addressing the national shortage of African American scientists and engineers. An important component of this success has been involving our undergraduates in faculty research projects.
Another example comes from our College of Pharmacy. There is also a national shortage of pharmacists who go on to get their Ph.D. and, because of this, a serious lack of candidates to become pharmacy faculty. This is one of the reasons our pharmacy faculty attempt to involve their students in research experiences so they might be stimulated to go on to obtain the Ph.D.
To help facilitate undergraduate research, Xavier created the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) which provides funding for undergraduate research projects, helps students locate research opportunities both within the university and off-campus, and organizes a yearly Festival of Scholars, allowing undergraduates to present their research results.
Science, Pharmacy, and Mathematics
Xavier has significantly enhanced its research competitiveness in a number of university-wide, cross disciplinary scientific fields including cancer, health disparities, nanomedicine/drug delivery, and materials research.
Cancer: With LSU Health Sciences Center, Tulane, and the Ochsner Health System, Xavier has become one of four members of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC). Funded by the State of Louisiana and aimed at assisting the member universities to achieve designation as an NIH, National Cancer Institute center of excellence, the LCRC allows our faculty access to a wide variety of state-of-the-art core research facilities. In September of 2009, Xavier was awarded a five-year $10.1 million Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) grant to assist the University in achieving national prominence in cancer research. This grant supports, for example, the development of three research instrumentation cores and provides faculty with increased access to postdoctoral associates and research staff. (click here to view photos)
Health Disparities: In 2002, the Xavier College of Pharmacy launched the Centerfor Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education funded by a $2.3 million NIH endowment grant. Since 2002, Xavier has received $34 million in NIH endowment funding to further its health disparities initiative. The Center focuses on the following important areas of emphasis: 1) diabetes research and education; 2) cancer research and prevention/early detection; 3) asthma education and prevention; and 4) building the capacity of the Xavier College of Pharmacy to conduct future research on these diseases. (click here to view photos)
Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery: Xavier boasts active drug design and delivery research efforts aimed at the treatment of acute diseases and chronic illnesses. In cooperation with Tulane and LSU Health Sciences Centers, Xavier recently received funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents to launch a “Center for Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery.” The center is focused on understanding and overcoming barriers to efficient oral, colonic, parenteral, pulmonary and vaginal delivery of drugs in the hopes of developing new treatments for chronic diseases such as cancer. Numerous new technologies are coming out of the Center as relationships have been formed with small, advanced technology businesses. (click here to view photos)
Materials Research: Xavier has recently hired a number of young faculty who are having significant success in the area of materials research. This group formed a partnership with New York University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, already funded by a prestigious NSF grant. A recent result of this partnership is a $3 million NSF grant entitled Partnerships in Research and Education in Materials. This grant supports the creation of collaborative research groups focused on nanoscale imaging systems, and builds a pipeline of underrepresented undergraduates who are well trained and qualified for graduate school in materials research. (click here to view photos)
Political and Social Sciences
Social science faculty undertake diverse research agendas, with external funding from a wide variety of sources including the National Science Foundation, Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, and the Mellon Foundation, amongst others. Research interests range from political topics such as the study of American national institutions, comparative political processes, and social justice issues, to clinical psychology research on prevalence of dissociative identity disorders among African Americans and research on the long-term effects of trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Medical Sociologists conduct research on all aspects of health, illness, and healthcare, including research on health disparities, social support and mental health, and the experience of chronic illness. (click here to view photos)
Business and Education
Business: Research methods used in the Division of Business involve investigations that are aimed to confirm or refute positive analysis of consumer behavior or business decisions as they react to changes in their environment. These observations are hypothesized for conducting empirical tests or modeled to stipulate the directional movement of decision variables. Investigative methods include examining the quantitative and qualitative impacts of decisions made internally by management or globally through government policies. Ultimately, the intent of the Division’s research is to engage the unit in the dialogue of its various disciplines and eventually contribute towards expanding the parameters of knowledge in business. (click here to view photos)
Education:The research interests of the education faculty represent a wide range of issues including spirituality, professionalism, diversity, social justice, poverty, and equity. Also, race, ethnicity and gender issues permeate the publications and presentations conducted by the faculty. There is a strong interest in studying service learning which has been incorporated in various classes throughout the division. Several faculty members also have conducted research on children with exceptionalities ranging from learning disabilities to academically gifted and in areas of counseling including emotional and behavioral disorders. Teacher education faculty work closely with local schools on research projects in an effort to improve the academic achievement of all PK-12 students. Counseling faculty are particularly interested in the incorporation of creative techniques in counseling throughout the lifespan and educating the public about the profession of counseling. The amalgamation of these studies has enabled faculty to enrich and expand course content and discussions to further expand the knowledge and understanding of initial and advanced candidates. Faculty members are committed to both independent research and collaborative efforts with one another as well as with candidates. (click here to view photos)
Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities faculty at Xavier are actively involved in research and scholarship. Research and scholarship is always linked to teaching, and teaching is frequently the catalyst. Faculty areas of interest reflect Xavier’s identity as a black and catholic university, its dedication to excellence in teaching, and its focus on globalization in the context of its mission for a more just and humane society. Thus, Arts and Humanities research focuses on writers, genres, movements, and cultures that have been historically marginalized. Research is often regional and community-based, with projects involving the development of neighborhood-based arts projects, research on memorializing in a post-Katrina New Orleans, analysis of the literature of Louisiana and the American South, studies dealing with Louisiana’s culinary history, and the importance of language in southern Louisiana’s multilingual communities. Research can also have a more global focus, including literary research on West African history and culture, analysis of Japanese haikus, research on gender and authoritarianism in Caribbean regimes of the twentieth century, recent Vietnamese history, and analysis of Spanish women writers. Philosophy and Theology remain important to Xavier’s mission with research topics ranging from ethics and moral philosophy to the historical and current relationships between Christianity and other religions such as Judaism and Islam, as well as historical, textual, and literary studies of the Bible. (click here to view photos)
By clicking the tabs on the left, you’ll be able to learn more about the quite extraordinary resources Xavier has developed and the success achieved through its research and scholarship initiatives.