HIP Hauber Summer Research Program & Fellows

The coolest place at Loyola in the summer is wherever the Hauber scholars are. Hear about the amazing work of these budding scientists from Dr. Bahram Roughani, Associate Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences.

It is obvious that summer is here when having a seat at Starbucks or finding a parking spot does not require planning and perfect timing. Also, the usual buzz and the flurry of activities involving students comes to a halt during the summer break.  However, the exception might be the buzz at Donnelly Science Center and the bustle of research activities by the Hauber Fellows deeply engaged in their research work with their faculty mentors.

Hauber Fellows and Mentors 2017
2017 Hauber Fellows and Mentors

Hauber Summer Research Program is an annual summer initiative that started in 1988 to provide the opportunity for mathematics, sciences, and engineering undergraduates to work one-on-one with faculty mentors. This program is named in honor of Father Edward S. Hauber, S.J., professor of chemistry at Loyola from 1942 to 1966. Initially Fr. Hauber raised funds for chemistry majors to conduct summer research with faculty mentors. After his death in 1985, additional funds were raised through philanthropic supports and external grants that resulted in the introduction of the Hauber Summer Research program in its new form in 1988 and expanded support for summer research projects to all disciplines in the natural and applied sciences.

Wednesdays are special, because Hauber Fellows present their research work during lunch in front of a packed room. The audience is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and sometimes industrial sponsors who have provided research funding support. The 2017 Hauber Summer Research presentations were the outcome of the research work done by fifteen Hauber Fellows, twelve faculty mentors from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics, one Philosophy Department faculty member, and a Kolvenbach Fellow. A recent article by Loyola Magazine provides an insight about the diversity of research topics that were investigated and presented by 2017 Hauber Fellows.

Hauber 2017 Local Air Quality
L-R: Hauber Fellows Thomas Howard and Nicole D’Andrea, with Hauber Faculty Mentor Dr. Elizabeth Dahl and Kolvenbach Fellow Michael Comer. They presented a talk on “Local Air Quality: The Green & Gray” as a joint effort between Hauber and Kolvenbach Programs.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has identified undergraduate research as one of the High Impact Practices (HIPs), as well as learning communities, community-based projects and service-learning, co-ops and internships, field experiences, student teaching and clinical experiences, study abroad, culminating senior experiences (capstone courses, senior project or theses, comprehensive exams, portfolios, etc.). Loyola University has institutionalized many of the so called HIPs, with Hauber Summer Research Program being a prime example.  One may ponder about the common factors among various High Impact Practices (HIPs) that make them so effective.  In my opinion there are three important common factors among the variety of HIPs: Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery.

In the end, not only is Hauber Summer Research Program “HIP,” so are our Hauber Fellows. First, they are engaged in their research project with a sense of Purpose defined by their motivation and determination to find an answer to a research question. They are fueled by the passion for having a positive impact through scientific discoveries.  Second, they work with fair amount of Autonomy, because faculty mentors are there to foster the intellectual growth of the Hauber Fellows as independent thinkers. Finally, they achieve Mastery of knowledge through scientific exploration, making observations, asking the right questions, conducting background research, forming hypotheses, testing the hypotheses through reproducible and verifiable experiments, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and finally accepting or rejecting the hypotheses and modifying the hypotheses if necessary.  Furthermore, Hauber Fellows prove their communication skills when presenting complex scientific ideas to an audience with diverse backgrounds in a masterful display of “eloquentia perfecta.” This makes both the Hauber Summer Research Program and the Hauber Fellows HIP!

High-Impact Practices

This summer a team of Loyola’s faculty and administrators traveled to the 2017 AAC&U Summer Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success. Loyola was represented by:

Jim Dickinson, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Career Services

Brian Norman, Ph.D., Professor of English

Barnaby Nygren, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Fine Arts; Committee on the Assessment of Student Learning; Reimagining co-chair

Lisa Oberbroeckling, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Math; Dean of the Class of 2022; Interim Academic Co-Director of Messina

Marie Yeh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing

The Institute featured 4 days of breakout sessions led by expert speakers and significant team time to explore a project of Loyola’s choosing. We arrived in Boston focused on answering the question “What would it mean to truly embed high-impact practices into the undergraduate experience at Loyola?”

High-impact practices (HIPs) are specific activities that have been linked with students’ ability to develop essential learning outcomes through their higher education experience. HIPs provide students with opportunities to apply their learning outside of the classroom, engage in communities of learning, and develop critical skills to serve them in their lives and careers. They have also been demonstrated to drive more equitable outcomes for diverse students and closely align with views on the value of liberal education. Structured first-year experiences, internships, and service learning are a few examples of these practices.

It quickly became clear to our team that Loyola is a place where HIPs are more woven into the student experience than at many other universities (see Figure 1). From the success of Messina to our active, structured service-learning programs and high percentage of students studying abroad and reporting internship activities, these practices are highly visible on campus.

HIP Figure 1
Figure 1. A Sampling of Loyola’s Existing Implementation of High-Impact Practices

While some of our colleagues at the institute were focused on building initial plans to introduce HIPs at their institutions, our team concentrated on the ways we could better guide students to reflect on and integrate the transformative experiences and deep learning made possible through a Loyola education. Our attention quickly turned to the promise of a universal culminating senior experience that could act as a bookend to Messina.

Loyola’s first-year experience’s name references the mid-16th century beginning of Jesuit education on the island of Sicily. While the first year of college is seen as the beginning and senior year as the end, the latter can also be seen as a new beginning as our students prepare to go forth into the world (see Figure 2). Our team engaged in vigorous dialogue about the form which this culminating experience might take and how it could best help students make connections across their Loyola experience through integrated advising efforts (academic, career, student development, etc.) One way of facilitating these connections could be a series of what we coined “high-impact questions” that students and alumni would be exposed to throughout their time at Loyola and which would inform their development from freshman year to their lives after graduation. For example:

First year: What kind of difference do you hope to make in the world?

Senior year: How have your experiences at Loyola enabled you to make a difference in the world while you were here?

5 to 10 years out: What kind of difference have you made in the world through your life and career so far?

HIP Figure 2
Figure 2. Existing and Envisioned High-Impact Practices and the Loyola Experience

Our team is now excited to continue the dialogue we began in Boston with our peers at Loyola with a discussion of both the form of the experience and the “high-impact questions” that would shape it. Perhaps a senior culminating experience could include weekend retreats to help students tie together their learning from key projects throughout their academic experience. A capstone course, or a 1-credit Ignatian seminar course may allow for semester-long reflection. There are many options we could choose to pursue as a University. Regardless of format, our team returned to Baltimore this summer with excitement about the possibility of every Loyola senior graduating with a clear sense of how they would complete phrases like “I did…,” “I am…,” and “I will…”

We hope you share in that excitement and look forward to transforming knowledge and insights from the 2017 High-impact Practices Institute into powerful enhancements of our student experience.

~ Jim Dickinson, Ph.D., assistant vice president for career services