Indiana State University Newsroom

Honors students present research at regional conference

March 25, 2010

Thirty honors students and faculty members from Indiana State University will join nearly 200 other college and university honors students and faculty from seven states at the 32nd annual meeting of the Mid-East Honors Association taking place in Louisville March 26-28.

Students will present their work in a wide variety of subject areas including scientific research, tackling current issues such as health care reform and childhood vaccinations, history and on authors Dorothy Wadsworth and Oscar Wilde.

"The conference showcases original undergraduate research while providing students the opportunity to network with honors students and faculty from other colleges and universities," said Greg Bierly, director of Indiana State's honors program and president of the Mid-East Honors Association.

Indiana State students will present their research on Wilde - alongside Wilde scholars Marilyn Bisch of Indiana State, Joan Navarre of University of Wisconsin-Stout and Richard Freed of Eastern Kentucky University to encourage other schools to pursue interdisciplinary courses capable of making contributions to academic research.

The students, who began their research in the fall 2009 Freshman Honors Seminar "An Introduction to Oscar Wilde and Academic Research," had the opportunity to receive feedback from a noted Wilde expert, Merlin Holland, "mid-way" in their projects.

Holland, Wilde's literary executor and editor, has spent more than 30 years researching and writing on the works of the Irish author. He visited Indiana State in November in conjunction with the student-organized Oscar Wilde Symposium to discuss the progress and problems in researching Wilde.

"Merlin Holland, owing to his unique position as Wilde's literary executor and only grandchild, knows more about Wilde and academic research on Wilde than anyone alive today," Bisch said.

In addition to helping the students with their research, Holland's visit stimulated student interest in promoting clarity and collegiality as it relates to academic scholarship. The students created LUCID, the League of Undergraduates Campaigning for Intelligible Documentation as a result of discussions with Holland and will introduce the informal group to students attending the conference during a presentation.

Keri Yousif, director of interdisciplinary programs and an associate professor of French at Indiana State, will deliver the keynote address "Baudelaire's Infinity of Delight: Seeing Beyond the I" Saturday at 6 p.m.

Other student presentations will address issues in learning, mentoring and enhancing honors programs and organizations, Bierly said.

"This annual conference provides valuable opportunities for students to present professionally and receive feedback in a friendly environment," Bierly said. "For Indiana State students, they are able to compare their work and activities to those of student peers at other universities."

Bierly and Linda Maule, associate professor of political science at Indiana State and the association's secretary/treasurer, played important roles in this year's conference. Two Indiana State students, Krystal Griffith and Ashley Walters, were also involved in the conference planning, serving as student representatives on the group's executive committee.

A complete schedule for the conference is available online at  .

Contact: Greg Bierly, director, University Honors Program, Indiana State University, and president of the Mideast Student Honors Association,
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or