Office of Undergraduate Research

Drop Shadow

Faculty Fellows Program

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 should be submitted as a single .pdf file to by 5:00 PM, May 31, 2014. Decisions will be announced by July 1, 2014. Keck Student Fellows are expected to present their work at the USD Creative Collaborations Undergraduate Research Conference on April 16th 2015.

Click here for the application.

2014 Keck Faculty Fellows

Halina Duraj, English

Maura Giles-Watson, English

Victoria Fu, Art, Arch, Art History

2013 Keck Faculty Fellows

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.

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.

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.

2012 Keck Faculty Fellows

Jonathan Bowman, Communication Studies

Student Fellow: Connor Sullivan

Relational Attributions and Dual-Tasking: A Theory-Driven Approach

The current project is intended to extend experimental communication research on the effects of mediated dual-tasking – conversing through multiple technology-based channels while attempting to accomplish some other task. Participants will converse through a variety of communication channels, with some participants playing video games during a conversation with a close friend. Using a reduced latin-square design, the experimenters will also manipulate whether the other individual is aware of the dual-tasking behaviors. Outcome measures will include attitudes and attribution, as well as coded conversational content and self-reported relational assessment.

Lisa Nunn, Sociology

Student Fellow: Kelsey Perry

Success Identity and GPA among California High School Students

The project investigates high school students’ perceptions of their own intelligence and perceptions of how hard they work in school.  As cultural wisdom about success in US society centers on hard work and natural talent, this project explores students’ understandings of themselves as smart and hardworking people as a way to gain insight on “success identities” in the context of high school.  The research uses original survey data collected at three public high schools in 2006 in a collaborative effort with the California Healthy Kids Survey.  Data analysis will include several measures from the California Healthy Kids Survey, such as grade point averages (GPA), to draw findings on the relationship between self-perceptions of success in terms of intelligence and effort and academic performance measures of success.

John Joe Schlichtman, Sociology

Student Fellow: Ian Gibson

High Point, North Carolina Film Documentary

Allison Weise, Art, Architecture + Art History

Student Fellow: Noe Olivas

Untitled: A Rolling Social Sculpture

A 1970’s Chevrolet step van will be meticulously converted into a professional-grade visual arts exhibition space. The exterior, refinished to a matte primer gray, will be non-descript save for white-wall tires and supergraphics on its side that identify it as Untitled. The interior will be outfitted with all the trappings of a contemporary art institution: hardwood floor, white walls and a miniature track-lighting system. An ambitious sculptural undertaking, the project also acts as a Beuysian “Social Sculpture” – its meaning is made just as surely through the creation of a space for dialogue as it is through the project’s physical form.Untitled will launch an exhibition program during the fall of 2012, transporting the work of San Diego/Tijuana artists onto the University of San Diego’s campus, while carrying USD students’ artwork out into the surrounding community.

Motivated both by an investigation into a mutable alter-institutionality and the physical humor and dead-serious craft of transforming an anonymous working-class utility vehicle into a slick art institution. Untitledcan do everything (show artwork, garner reviews, hold an opening reception, or circulate a press release) that a traditional gallery can. Rent is paid hourly in quarters to a parking meter, however, and even its title and grey primer finish hint at the project’s desire to act as a conduit - a shifting space that creates unexpected overlaps in audiences and art worlds.

The project finds inspiration across a menu of high and low art traditions that have fueled USD Senior Noe Olivas’ recent artwork: Mexican-American car club low-riders; rat-rod and custom car culture in Southern California; the avant-garde conceptual sculpture of contemporary artists like David Hammons and the street art movement of the last 25 years.

2011 Keck Faculty Fellows

Daniel López-Pérez, Art, Architecture, and Art History

Student Fellows: Jacob Bruce, Sou Fang, Devon Morris

From Spheres to Atmospheres: R. Buckmister Fuller's Spherical Atlas (1944-1980)

“From Spheres to Atmospheres” is the result of a two year research project by the University of San Diego Architecture Students under the direction of Daniel López-Pérez that aims to assemble a “Spherical Atlas” of thirty geodesic prototypes developed by R. Buckminster Fuller from 1945 to 1980. The goal is to assemble a number of drawings and models drawn and built by the students, alongside with original Fuller drawings and models, in order to highlight the material and spatial intricacy of these, and their invaluable potential as prototypes for contemporary design.

This research looks back as much as it looks forward. It explores the possibility of rediscovering these prototypes as generative “spherical” systems rather than closed “spheres”, open for deformation and transformation. This research both learns from the past and builds on the intelligence of these in order to shape a new future.

Originally born out of the collaboration between R Buckminster Fuller and university students in departments of architecture, art and engineering throughout the US, the design and development of these geodesic prototypes proposed a new pedagogical model where academic and professional research were synthesized into a single practice. Drawn and built by students, “From Spheres to Atmospheres” proposes a similar pedagogy that engages students across a number of fields and explores the potential of academic research transforming disciplinary boundaries.

Monica Stufft, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Student Fellow: Molly Maslak

The Performativity of Punk: Construction, Performance and Redefinition of the Punk Identity

The goal of this research was to highlight the centrality of the performance of identity not only within but also as a constitution of Punk culture through a detailed exploration of three front-men: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, Ian Dury of the Blockheads and Iggy Pop of the Stooges. The student conducted archival research in London and interviewed a Rolling Stones journalist as well as reading existing secondary literature on Punk culture. Upon returning to USD, she wrote a 20 page paper, presented as part of the UCSD undergraduate research conference, and has submitted a version of the paper for potential inclusion in a national Theatre conference.

Lori Watson, Philosophy & Women's and Gender Studies Program

Student Fellow: Shauna Riley