The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is dedicated to the promotion of student and faculty research, scholarship, and creative activity as a vital component in the curriculum at the University of West Florida. Higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has long been recognized to benefit from research-rich environments and inquiry-based learning. Through the continuation of this annual conference, the goal of the college is to create a forum for the communication, celebration and promotion of scientific knowledge. The SEASTARS Committee cordially invites and encourages faculty and students from the participating departments to submit abstracts for the 7th Annual SEASTARS.
The premise of the symposium is that both students and faculty benefit through shared, research-active roles. It is the intent of this symposium that all members of the community - faculty, students, research associates, and administrators - feel encouraged to present and celebrate their ongoing project, whether grant supported, the product of independent research, a directed/independent study, or an assigned project contained within a formal course. This is particularly true in the case of undergraduates. While faculty and graduate students have traditionally had more access to the process of preparing research for presentation or publication, undergraduates often miss out on such opportunities. By its very nature, undergraduate research is often limited in time and resources and it is often of insufficient depth or breadth to qualify as material for peer-reviewed journals and conferences. Yet many such projects represent significant investments of time, resources and effort on the part of the studemts and their mentors. Such projects ask equally novel questions as do their peer-reviewed counter-parts and require similar application of intellectual methods of discovery and exploration. The same can be said for many faculty activities that deserve to be shared within the greater learning community prior to, perhaps, their ultimate dissemination via more traditional means. The goal of this new venue is to bring out the shared learner in all of us.