Penn State University launched the Piazza Center in January 2019, in an effort to become the nation’s principal home for identifying sound professional practice in fraternity and sorority advising. With a robust agenda that includes promising new research that identifies a “triad of risk,” (hazing, substance abuse, and sexual violence), the Center is seeking three-to-five scholars to be part of the research team.
The call for scholars reflects the momentum of the organization and its mission to empower higher education to make the fraternity and sorority experience safer and more meaningful based on comprehensive research. Since its launch, work has been underway in identifying gaps in research and setting an agenda for future efforts. Experts Biddix (2016) as well as Sasso, Biddix, and Miranda (2020) have called for adding to fraternity and sorority research with a focus on key areas which include how the experience contributes to student development across intersectional identities, student learning, and university retention.
Additionally, promising research by the Center drawn from focus group data suggests that the most practitioner-pressing needs are: (1) hazing; (2) mental health; (3) inclusion/belonging; (4) sexual violence; (5) peer accountability; and (6) cocurricular learning. In response to these suggestions from fraternal movement partners, the Center is focusing on the triad of risk (hazing, substance abuse, and sexual violence) as well as issues of inclusion in conceptualizing its research agenda which is congruent with its founding mission and namesake.
The Center is beginning a scholars program to address these themes of research to build capacity and further the scholarship. This new research mentoring program will support a cohort of three-to-fve scholars to serve on research teams under the supervision of the principal investigators across a number of existing research projects. The emerging scholars will be supervised by an existing faculty member and will receive additional mentoring from the Center Faculty Research Fellow. For more information and to learn how to apply, please contact the Executive Director, Dr. Stevan Veldkamp, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Faculty Research Fellow, Dr. Pietro Sasso, at email@example.com for general inquiries. To apply, send your cover letter and CV to PiazzaCenter@psu.edu.