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Knowledge Creation

Where professors and students are partners in discovery.

William & Mary attracts the type of student who's itching to explore a topic beyond the textbook. We've found that W&M undergrads are ready—from day one—to work closely with our experienced faculty on research projects of real academic consequence.

In an intellectual environment as fertile as W&M, a good research idea can come from anywhere: professor, graduate student, undergrad or member of the community. The result is an intellectual partnership where each member of the team brings something important to the table, whether it’s the youthful idealism of the undergrad or the sharp analytical eye of the professor.

W&M launched a long-term faculty-student research initiative, partially funded by a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant helps pay for an ambitious project—to integrate faculty research into every undergraduate class and grow new, hands-on research opportunities for students as early as freshman year.

Let's take a look at some of the incredible student-faculty collaborations from the first year alone:

  • Two W&M undergrads, with the help of mentors in the English and theatre departments, wrote plays that were accepted and performed at the New York International Fringe Festival.
  • Freshmen members of the Sharpe Community Scholars Program took a seminar on historic building preservation in which they researched and wrote a full proposal for the Maggie L. Walker Bank building’s nomination as a National Historic Landmark.
  • Two geology undergraduates presented senior theses research on knickzone and landscape evolution in central Virginia at the Fall 2007 American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Both students were selected to receive Outstanding Student Presentation awards from a field of predominately Master's and Ph.D. student presentations.
  • A professor enlisted undergraduate and graduate research assistants to help conduct a study on how the brain processes optical illusions. The students were listed as co-authors when the results of their research appeared in the scholarly journal Psychological Science.
  • A senior neuroscience major was the lead author on a paper about the neural mechanisms that trigger breathing in mammals. The paper was the fourth published by a team of graduate and undergraduate researchers led by an assistant professor.

W&M's dedicated faculty prove that it's possible to be both an excellent teacher and an excellent researcher. Our faculty members have won multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Program and even a rare John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Medicine and Health.

In the past decade, external funding for faculty and graduate student research at W&M has doubled. That type of success has lead to the creation of dozens of on- and off-campus research centers and professional collaborations, including:

Learn more about research and academics at William & Mary.