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UTS Holds First Research Day and Recognizes Poster Competition Finalists

Unification Theological Seminary recognized the winners of the seminary’s first Research Day, which was held on Saturday, March 5.

Current seminary students as well as faculty were invited to prepare an academic poster, or visual description of a research project that they were currently pursuing.

On March 5th, the seminary community gathered to participate in the UTS Community’s First Research Day. Dr. Thomas Ward welcomed participants to the event. “One of the things I like to tell my students all the time that Unification Theological Seminary is a graduate school,” he said. “You shouldn’t be thinking about just getting an A in your class. Think about getting published. At this stage, each and every graduate student has frameworks of thought that are already advanced. In areas where you have extensive experience, your understandings and frameworks of thought may very well be more developed than your professors’ in those areas. Your time as graduate students is a time to develop your own voice.”

Dr. Ward then introduced the panel of judges: Dr. Christine Hempowicz, Professor William Lay, and Professor James Fleming, who have all made their mark in the field of academic research.

Professor Fleming gave the keynote message. He began by asking for a moment of silent reflection for peace and security in Ukraine and around the world. He then gave a brief biography of his life, education, and published works. “What I really wanted to do was to make a contribution to knowledge,” he said. “If, by research, we mean the systematic investigation or inquiry into contributing to knowledge, you will note that asking strategic and probing questions is the starting point. The answers to probing questions, to things not yet known, are constructed from original sources, located within an existing corpus of literature, workshopped and bootstrapped in numerous drafts, and with numerous colleagues, and intended to be fundamentally new and original contributions to knowledge. Then we write it all up, in order to understand it better and reach out to others… Research aimed at new interpretations can inform and guide public policy, proper behaviors or praxis, and it’s not just for its own sake. Research is a process and a calling, but it is not an ivory tower or solitary undertaking. Research is best conducted for the public good, in a community of scholars, and hopefully for a much larger community, even for the world. It is improved by feedback, lots of it, and it’s made valuable by sharing.”

Professor William Lay then introduced the finalists for the faculty category: Dr. Andrew Wilson and Dr. Keisuke Noda. He praised both finalists’ work: “We used our scoring grids, and what we came up with was essentially a tie.”

Dr. Christine Hempowicz then introduced the student finalists. “The topics are very diverse. It’s important to remember that we have a variety of different degree programs at UTS. Just as we had difficulty choosing a winner with the faculty, we likewise had difficulty choosing a winner among the students’ submissions. The topics are varied, but the effort and the reports and content produced from the efforts of research are equally worthy. In our minds we couldn’t come up with a single winner. The judges therefore proposed a shared first place for Savjola Konja and Mélanie Komagata. Because of the shared 1st place, $500 USD was split amongst the faculty winners and $500 was split amongst the student winners. Robert Duffy received an Honorable Mention for his submission in the student category.

You can watch the full event here.