Inaugural SHIELD Conference Showcases Academic Research

Speaker at podiumThe inaugural conference for the Society for Higher Education Interdisciplinary Learning and Discovery (SHIELD) brought together Oklahoma college faculty and students to Rogers State University in order to explore original academic research.

The conference, spearheaded by RSU psychology professor Dr. Kevin Woller, attracted about 50 faculty and students from six Oklahoma colleges and universities during the event held March 30 at the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center on the RSU Claremore campus. More than 30 presentations were scheduled throughout the day in a diverse array of topics that included psychology, communications, education, literature, film studies, ecology, history, ecology, nursing, Native American studies and more.

SHIELD was established last year to provide Oklahoma faculty and students with opportunities to participate in a rigorous academic conference. By setting the conference within the state, it eliminated the costs associated with out-of-state travel borne by Oklahoma colleges that wish to participate in academic conferences. Organizers said the cost of participating in academic conferences has been an important consideration for many faculty, especially in light of continued cuts to Oklahoma funding for colleges and universities.

Attendees noted that research helps faculty members enhance their contributions to society, adds to the body of knowledge, and sharpens their focus in their field of study. Students who participate in undergraduate research enrich their learning experiences and typically increase their chances at gaining admission to graduate school. Other professionals enjoy a host of benefits from improving their chances at gainful employment in educational positions to adding to the educational academy.

Photos from this morning’s opening session can be found online. For more information, visit