As President Davis made note in her inaugural address, Furman was the first university to coin the term “Engaged Learning” under the presidency of David E. Shi. One of Furman’s flagship events resulting from this idea of “Engaged Learning” is Furman Engaged—a day where students put together presentations, posters, and other performances to showcase their research. According to Furman’s website, this annual event “brings our campus community and visitors together” for a day that “celebrates the wide variety of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creativity of our undergraduates.” But are these claims really true?
At national conferences students’ work is often recognized by experts and colleagues alike. However, within the very gates of their own university on Furman Engaged, presenters find that the efforts of their work and abilities do not receive the same amount of credit. While professors acknowledge its importance by attending oral presentations, reading posters, and engaging in conversations regarding their own research or experiences, most of students do not attend the events to view the work that their colleagues have done. Simply put, Furman Engaged, an event revolving around student accomplishments, is not actually endorsed or attended by students.
Furman Engaged is notably one of the most underrated events organized by Furman. Students who do not attend the Furman Engaged events deprive themselves from seeing what their classmates and colleagues have accomplished, as well as what they are capable of doing in the future. Students who attend the presentations have much to gain, just as much as if they would participating in a study away, Furman Advantage, or any CLP program.
We beg the question, since Furman Engaged is meant to be a platform for students to share and inform the Furman community about their research and experiences, what could mandate a better CLP qualification? The university believes the event is important enough to cancel classes for the day. Few events get this kind of recognition from the administration, two prime examples being convocation and inauguration. If both receive CLP status, why is Furman Engaged not deserving?
If Furman Engaged events had CLP credit then more students would be encouraged to attend. This would benefit not only students who are in desperate need of CLP credit before graduation, but would also benefit students showcasing their work by giving them a greater audience. Students would be more involved and engaged in their own community as a result. Is that not what the CLP program all about?
So the question is: Is our CLP program not serving the right purpose in the Furman community or is Furman Engaged simply not worth granting CLP status? Either way, this proves an issue that needs to be addressed—hopefully in time for Furman Engaged 2015.