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COLLEGE STATION --

Ginger E. Carney, associate professor of biology, has been appointed as associate dean for undergraduate research in the Texas A&M University College of Science, effective September 1, 2013, announced Dean H. Joseph Newton.

A member of the Texas A&M Department of Biology faculty since 2004, Carney earned her Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Georgia in 1998. She held positions as a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University (1998-2002) and as a faculty research scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology (2002-2004) prior to coming to Texas A&M, where her research focuses on genetic control of courtship behaviors in insects.

Newton created the position to reinforce an ongoing college-wide commitment to research excellence, not only at traditional faculty and graduate levels but also during the formative undergraduate years, when students are making critical decisions about their futures and forming vital first impressions about higher education as well as the overall research/scholarly knowledge-generation enterprise.

"We are very fortunate to have Professor Carney contribute to the college's efforts to provide real-world research experiences," Newton said. "This is our top priority in the university's Quality Enhancement Program, and a crucial part of the College of Science's efforts to provide our students with the best education possible. Ginger has shown a passion for this in her own lab, and her enthusiasm is contagious."

As associate dean for undergraduate research, Carney will be responsible for helping the college provide additional as well as richer research experiences for undergraduates.

"The goal is to get more students doing undergraduate research," Carney said. "I think that we need to get away from just textbook learning, and I don't think that until you actually have a meaningful laboratory experience, you understand what science is."

Timothy P. Scott, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Science, said Carney's experience working with students in her own laboratory provides the perfect background for the position.

"Dr. Carney will help us evaluate the undergraduate research experience," Scott said. "We will get a sense of the types of students taking advantage of this high-impact practice and how to broaden access to these research experiences. Her service on the College Diversity Committee and commitment to inclusiveness will serve her well in this capacity. As we collect data about the research experience, Dr. Carney will be suggesting to our departments and colleagues ways to improve student learning outcomes."

Although undergraduate research is required for some of the college's degree plans, such as a bachelor of science in chemistry or physics, Carney notes it is optional in others. However, she contends it is a valuable life-skill experience that pays dividends far beyond graduation.

"Students need to do research," Carney said. "That could be through a course or working on a research project in a specific faculty lab. They need to be a part of the process, to develop and test a hypothesis."

Scott, a fellow biologist, describes Carney as a departmental leader in a number of areas, including communication skills through the development and teaching of a writing-intensive course. This passion and skill will be vital to her new role as she helps undergraduates understand the importance of communicating research.

"Writing courses help students learn to speak coherently about both science and research," Carney said. "They also give students a better grasp about what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they are going to do it."

In addition to her new Dean's Office role, Carney will serve as an administrative fellow in the Texas A&M ADVANCE Center. Despite the added work and time commitment, Carney's enthusiasm and energy are palpable.

"I'm excited to be in the college, because it's a hard-working group of people," Carney said. "Everyone is on task working hard to generate ideas, everyone is talking about everybody's work, and they are offering input and advice. It's exciting and fun. It was a no-brainer to say 'yes' when Dean Newton offered me this opportunity."

To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities in the College of Science, visit http://www.science.tamu.edu/research/REU/.

For more information on Carney and her research, go to http://www.bio.tamu.edu/FACMENU/FACULTY/CarneyG.php.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Ginger E. Carney, (979) 845-6587 or gcarney@bio.tamu.edu

Lawrence Megan

College of Science
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TAMU 3257 | 979-845-7361
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