Research and learning opportunities
As a university, one of our greatest opportunities to make a difference — in our students’ education and in the community — is through the vast array of research, scholarly and creative activities we conduct.
Since 2014, SFA faculty members have participated in more than 500 grant-funded research projects, enhancing the instruction they provide and making valuable contributions to their fields. Currently, funding for active research projects exceeds $30 million.
We believe involvement in research furthers students’ educational and career opportunities, so we create numerous opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students to collaborate on projects with our professors. Students also participate in structured research and creative projects that are integrated into program curricula, as well as faculty-led extracurricular projects.
STEM Research and Learning Center
SFA has made a significant commitment to expanding research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our new $46.4 million STEM Research Center will support collaborative research within the STEM disciplines — and among researchers in STEM and non-STEM fields.
The four-story STEM Research and Learning Center building, expected to be ready for use in 2018, also will bolster SFA’s efforts to support STEM education at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels.
Additional goals for the center include:
- Increasing STEM awareness
- Facilitating innovation in university STEM education
- Providing support for student mentoring during transitional periods in their education
- Guiding STEM teacher induction during the first three years in the classroom
- Empowering STEM teachers and leaders to transform their districts’ STEM programs
Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest
Established by an act of Congress in 1945, the 2,560-acre Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest is owned by the USDA Forest Service and was created to conduct research in silviculture, the art and science of managing forests for desired outcomes.
Research topics at this forest range from wildlife to soils to hardwoods to birds. Through the years, researchers here have established effective control methods for undesirable hardwoods, and they’ve contributed much of our knowledge about managing southern forests for wildlife.
Early Childhood Lab
In addition to providing public childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, our lab helps more 2,000 students each fall and spring prepare for careers working with young children and families. The lab’s curriculum is intended to develop intellectual and personal competence, rather than strictly training children to perform a specific set of academic skills.
Research focuses at the lab include:
- The autonomy and assessment of young children
- Classroom management and environment
- Learning centers and academic choice
Our university has more than a dozen research centers, institutes and specialized laboratories, from our Soil, Plant and Water Analysis Laboratory to the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops.
Waters of East Texas Center
The Waters of East Texas (WET) Center conducts research and assessment projects on water-related resources, ecosystems and issues in the East Texas region. Areas of expertise include wetland function and restoration, surface hydrology, water quality assessment, aquatic toxicology, aquatic biology fish population assessment, GIS applications, remote sensing applications, soil sampling and analysis, and wildlife assessment. Start-up support provided by the Research Development Fund
Center for Regional Heritage Research
At the Center for Regional Heritage Research, scholars and researchers from SFA and across East Texas investigate and document the region’s natural and cultural heritage. Together, they’ve expanded our capacity to conduct research in several vital fields, including historic preservation, archaeology, geography, heritage tourism, resource interpretation and community development. Start-up support provided by the Research Development Fund
National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops
The National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops (NCPC) of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture is a pioneer in U.S. pharmaceutical crop research. In addition to searching for agents with the potential to improve human health, center researchers strive to enhance U.S. security by reducing dependency on foreign supplies of active pharmaceutical ingredients. The work here also has the potential to help revitalize the U.S. and Texas rural economy by developing high-value pharmaceutical crops. Operations supported in part by the Research Development Fund
STEM Research and Learning Center
The new STEM Research and Learning Center (STEM) building being constructed at SFA will intensify STEM-related research that has been conducted for years through SFA’s STEM Research and Learning Center. Activities there are designed to recruit students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and prepare them to excel in STEM careers. Start-up support provided by the Research Development Fund
The Center of Community Research
The full-service quantitative and qualitative Center of Community Research specializes in conducting survey research; collecting, storing, coding and analyzing data; and issuing reports.
Rural Social Work Research and Development Center
Rural Social Work Research and Development Center supports activities that foster the development of community-based social services and enhance the leadership capabilities of rural service providers.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
SFA has recently acquired a Joel ECS 400MHz NMR Spectrometer. Nuclear magnetic resonance has applications ranging from medicine and chemistry to non-destructive testing and quantum computing. Supported by the Research Development Fund
Anthropology and Archaeology Laboratory
Since 1985, Anthropology and Archaeology Laboratory (AAL) has provided student training and teaching opportunities through field and laboratory work. Archaeological researchers work in Texas and adjacent regions. The lab also educates the general public about anthropology and archaeology, provides cultural resource management services and furnishes long-term care for collections that are “held in trust” for the people of Texas and the United States.
Soil, Plant and Water Analysis Laboratory
The Soil, Plant and Water Analysis Laboratory is charged with developing soil tests for the unique acidic, low-fertility soils of the East Texas region. Since opening in 1952, the lab has run more than 200,000 soil samples, approximately 50,000 forage samples and hundreds of other special tests of water, soil, broiler litter, plants and waste materials used by homeowners and agriculture related businesses. Supported in part by the Research Development Fund
Other approved centers at SFA
This 62-acre horticultural resource includes the SFA Mast Arboretum, the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden and the Pineywoods Native Plant Center. The SFA Gardens support the conservation, selection and use of the native plants of Texas. In addition, they promote plant diversity in the landscape, serve as a living laboratory and provide an aesthetic and educational environment for students and visitors.
Student research opportunities
Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program supports active undergraduate participation in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation.
National Institute of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program offers competitive scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to careers in health-related research in the areas of biomedical, behavioral or social science. Scholarships include a 10-week paid summer internship followed by 1 year of full-time employment following graduation.
Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research
Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for Sigma Xi research grants of up to $1,000 to support investigation in any field of science and engineering, including the social sciences.
Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Each year, 90-100 undergraduate students from around the United States travel to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to work beside both young and established scientists on a broad range of biomedical research questions. A limited number of fellowships are also available at the Mayo Clinic campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Scottsdale, Arizona.