Office of Undergraduate Research

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Keck Faculty Fellows


USD aims to establish faculty/student research and creative inquiry as a distinguishing feature of an undergraduate education at USD. With generous support from a W. M. Keck Foundation grant, funding is available to foster the development of student-faculty collaborative research programs. The Keck Faculty Fellows Program provides one-year fellowships to faculty who have not been involved in undergraduate research with an emphasis on faculty in disciplines that have little or no access to external funding or formalized programs to support undergraduate research and scholarship. Keck Faculty Fellows receive funding to conduct research or scholarly work in collaboration with an undergraduate student of their choice. They also engage in a number of professional development activities related to mentoring and undergraduate research and learning.

How to submit an application

The Keck Faculty Fellow application deadline has passed.

2015 Keck Faculty Fellows

Dr. Julia Cantzler - Sociology

Dr. Susannah Stern - Communication Studies

Dr. Karma Lekshe Tsomo - Theology and Religious Studies 

2014 Keck Faculty Fellows

Dr. Halina Duraj - English

Dr. Maura Giles-Watson - English

Victoria Fu - Art, Architecture, Art History

2013 Keck Faculty Fellows

Dr. Erik Fritsvold - Sociology

Student Fellow: Sophia Bolt

Crime Unmasked: An Expert’s Guide to Protecting Individuals, Families and Communities from Crime

This project would support a book in progress tentatively titled Crime Unmasked: An Expert’s Guide to Protecting Individuals, Families and Communities from Crime. Within the field of contemporary criminology, there are two arteries of research that are central, and often presented as largely distinct: debunking and victimology. This proposed book seeks to bridge the gap between these areas of scholarship to create a useful guide to crime issues forscholarsand non-scholars alike. The media, politicians, and sometimes even law enforcement often have vested interests in portraying the crime problem in particular ways. Accordingly, the evidence suggests that the public discourse about crime focuses on sensational and atypical cases. Thus, many more typical, yet less sensational crimedynamics remain less visible: white-collar crime and crimes committed by friends, family and acquaintances for example. Under the umbrella of pragmatism, this book seeks to correct many of these media-driven misconceptions about crime.

Dr. J. Michael Williams - Political Science and International Relations

Student Fellow: Tenaya Miller

Understanding the Development of Democracy in Africa: The Importance and Role of Education.

This research project examines the ways in which politics is practiced in weak state democracies. In particular, to understand how citizens respond to this chronic lack of delivery and ways in which they pressure the government to respond to their needs. This research focuses on the interactions of the government and civil society and provides insight on whether weak state democracies are able to maintain political legitimacy, and if so, how this occurs. While public education is the main focus for this year, this is a broad ranging project that will examine a variety of other public goods in the future.

Dr. David Sullivan - Communication Studies

Student Fellow: Aeron Hall

The Construction of Gender Identity in Reality TV Shows

This project explores how reality television programming in the U.S. provides meaningful discourse about gender that, in the face of actual and symbolic challenges to traditional gender distinctions in politics, reinscribes heteronormativity. Popular reality series that focus on relational conflict and competition provide, or encode, narratives by which viewers, especially fans of such shows, decode meanings that help them to negotiate their own gender identity at a time when normative conceptions of gender are in great flux. Project data include thematic analyses of two gender-specific texts: The Real Housewives franchise, which features women cast members is produced primarily for a female viewership, and The Ultimate Fighter, which features men in mixed martial arts competition and targets a male audience.In addition, survey data inform thematic analyses of audience responses to these shows.