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Collaborative partnership provides insight into academic scholarship

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November 02, 2017
Students from Fine Focus

University of Detroit Mercy prides itself on offering hands-on, authentic research to undergraduate students. In a new collaboration with Ball State University, Detroit Mercy ReBUILDetroit students are learning about the peer-reviewed process of publishing and about the kinds of research published in the international microbiology journal, Fine Focus.

In a one-year outreach grant with Ball State University, ReBUILDetroit scholars learn about the editorial process of a scientific, peer-reviewed research journal from Ball State University student editors. In addition, the editors are documenting the challenges of historically underrepresented students in science for the journal and a documentary film.

Four times throughout this semester, the six undergraduate student editors meet in-person with ReBUILDetroit scholars to lead discussions on all aspects of the editorial process.

“Our students are involved in writing and reading primary research papers but they are not very familiar with what all goes into getting one published,” said Dr. Stephanie Conant, department chair of biology. “The goal is to have them see what’s going on behind the curtain in terms of peer review.”

Fine FocusThe undergraduates from Ball State are enrolled in an immersive learning course that is designed to peer-review papers, edit, promote and market the international journal. The publication is anticipating its fifth issue to be published in January, 2018.

“It’s a great way to highlight how our students are involved with research right off the bat,” said Conant. “The ReBUILDetroit students have spent a summer or two in a research lab and their participation with other students from Ball State really highlights the research opportunities of our programs.”

A symposium is planned for December 8 highlighting the accomplishments of this collaboration.

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