WCHHS hosts unique gathering to explore interdisciplinary scholarship and research

Waldron Faculty talk research and scholarship.

Assistant Professor of nursing Vicki Bierman shares her research and scholarship experiences with a Waldron College of Health and Human Services colleague during Monday's Waldron Interprofessional Researchers Engaging in Dialogue (W.I.R.E.D.) event.

Research all too often is a solitary endeavor with long hours of data crunching, writing and waiting.

The Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) took a step towards adding some flair to the research process to which its faculty are committed as it hosted the first-ever Let's Get W.I.R.E.D. (Waldron Interprofessional Researchers Engaging in Dialogue) event. 16 WCHHS faculty, representing four of its five programs, gathered in Waldron 227 on Monday to chat about their projects and learn about those of their colleagues.

"I was intrigued by what I heard," said Kerry Vandergrift, assistant professor of social work. "Part of it was commiseration, but I found a lot more commonalities."

She added that the value of research is not lost on her students, whom she described as eager to hear real stories of how research, or the quest for data, is done and how it changes the material they are learning and the ways things will be done when they get into their fields.

Rebecca Scheckler, an assistant professor of nursing whose research agenda includes the social effect of digital technology and the use of telemedicine in nursing, said, " It was nice to schmooze about the opportunities we have to use our different expertise in powerful ways across our fields."

During a series of five minute "speed" interviews, the WCHHS faculty chatted with peers from nursing, occupational therapy, social work and communication sciences and disorders.

"Carving this time out is inherently valuable," Scheckler said. "We were focused and it is useful to build a core of those with whom we share common interests."

Sarah Smidl, assistant professor of occupational therapy, said, "I always feel like I am stuck in my office and I really enjoyed this chance to mingle with my colleagues and share ideas. It was fabulous."

Corey Cassidy, WCHHS associate dean, was struck by the passion of the participants and was hard-pressed to break up the five-minute sessions and keep the program moving.

"I think we ignited a spark," she said. "We are all in the health and human services arena and today, we got a sense of the many scholarship opportunities and perspectives currently being explored in our college. We also now see the potential for new, collaborative opportunities with and among our colleagues."

The event was part of a WCHHS drive to encourage interdisciplinary or interprofessional approaches in health care, she said, that will culminate in the annual Waldron College Interprofessional Symposium and Expo in April. 

Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,900 students. RU serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 191-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 69 degree programs at the undergraduate level, and 21 master's programs and three doctoral programs at the graduate level. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford participates in 19 varsity sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005, the university has secured approval and funding for nearly $300 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.

Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.

Oct 8, 2013
Don Bowman
(540) 831-7523