History of the Student Research Council
In 2008 Provost Barbara Burch created the Student Research Council, a university-wide committee charged with promoting student scholarly activity on campus and organizing the annual student conference. Since that year, the Student Research Council has organized the annual Student Research Conference, with financial support provided by the WKU chapter of Sigma Xi, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research, and other university units.
In 2011 the Student Research Council initiated a week-long celebration of student and faculty scholarship with support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research. REACH (Research Experiences and Creative Heights) Week features various speakers, showcases hosted by each college and the Gatton Academy, and concludes with the Student Research Conference. REACH Week continues to evolve to be a marquee annual event at WKU. In 2016, REACH was extended to an entire semester. It is now coordinated by the Office of Research and Creative Activities, rather than the Student Research Council, though the annual WKU Student Research Conference continues to be an anchor activity.
Prior to the creation of the Student Research Council in 2008, the annual Student Research Conference was organized by the WKU chapter of Sigma Xi, which is an international research society. Between 1970 and 2002, Sigma Xi organized and funded the WKU Student Research Conference, including keynote speakers and a banquet honoring conference session winners.For the next three years, the conference was jointly sponsored and organized by Sigma Xi and the University Honors Program.
In 2006, WKU hosted a weekend-long celebration of student scholarship that included the Potter College Undergraduate Conference on Friday and the annual WKU Student Research Conference on Saturday, the latter again sponsored by Sigma Xi and the University Honors Program. The following year, a special committee comprised of representatives of each college, the University Honors Program, and Sigma Xi organized the conference. In 2006-2007 Sigma Xi and the Office of the Provost provided financial support for the conference.
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