December 8, 2023

Collaboration Drives SEC Faculty Travel Program Participants

SEC Mathematics Education Community
SEC Mathematics Education Community

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Whether it be by plane, train or automobile, more than 130 Southeastern Conference faculty will participate in the SEC Faculty Travel Program for 2023-24.

Since its inception in 2012, the program provides faculty with opportunities to conduct research, present lectures, exchange ideas and deliver artistic performances with their Conference colleagues. It is designed to lessen the financial burden associated with travel, lodging and meals as funds from the SEC are distributed to faculty by their respective universities.

This year’s cohort is planning partnerships that will advance teaching, research, and service efforts across the Conference. The varied projects include a professor from Louisiana State University traveling to the University of Alabama to discuss her book and work on religion and politics in the U.S.; another LSU professor going to the University of Georgia to present research on  the intersection of politics, law enforcement, & public administration at the local level; and a faculty member from Texas A&M University visiting UGA to host a workshop for students on data materialization.

The program also helps provide research for collective work. For example, a group of faculty recently used travel funds to meet at the University of Florida and collaborate on ways to increase the number of new mathematics teachers.

Past research collaborations have ranged from robotic software to reading comprehension and Down Syndrome. Last year, an assistant professor from Alabama traveled to Auburn University to conduct research on meteorites. Travel endeavors have also included musical recitals from solo artists and ensembles.  In 2019 the University of Kentucky’s Brass Quintet traveled to multiple campuses.

“Having that time with your collaborators and understanding the different institutions that you are coming from, because they are all different in the SEC, is an often unappreciated, but necessary, part of projects,” said Dr. Renã Robinson, a past recipient from Vanderbilt University whose travel assisted in a $2.04 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support underrepresented minority faculty in biomedical research. “Having the space and time to work out research ideas was really useful, and having a travel grant gives you the freedom to do that in ways traditional grant funds wouldn’t support.”

The SEC Faculty Travel Program is one of several SEC academic endeavors designed to promote the teaching, research, service and economic development goals of the Conference’s member universities. Other faculty-supported programs include the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program, SEC Faculty Achievement Awards as well as the SEC Artificial Intelligence Consortium.