HLC Self Study
Chapter 6 Graphic

The Student Conference

The Student Conference is part of Estrella Mountain’s mission to support student research. Faculty members ask students to do traditional research as well as fieldwork across all disciplines in preparation for the conference.

The conference is part of the College’s overall goal to provide students with an abundance of academic opportunities to better enable an equitable standing with students at four-year institutions. The conference is structured like a graduate student conference, with speakers, break-out panels and scholarly discussions.

When faculty members encourage students to undertake original research, students begin the process of becoming familiar with academic journals and introductory theoretical languages. Undergraduate research also prepares students to have critical discussions on topics such as race and class on a more sophisticated level, both at the College and throughout their lives. Students in a number of disciplines are mentored by faculty to develop critical thinking and communication skills through formal presentations of their research. The conference provides students with the opportunity to engage in critical dialogue, which helps prepare them to participate in the kinds of broader issues they will encounter in upper-division classes when they transfer to university or in the workplace.

Held in spring 2008, the first conference entitled Pop Culture and Society received national recognition via AAC&U News, a publication from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The article is titled Undergraduate Research: Not Just for Research Universities. The spring 2009 conference theme was Green Revolution, and the spring 2010 conference theme was Dark Carnival: The Ugly Side of Human Nature. In 2011, the conference theme was Knowledge is Power.