Thomas Coyle, professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Liberal & Fine Arts, has been appointed the new Director of Undergraduate Research in the Office of the Vice President of Research, effective December 1, 2016.
“After an exhaustive search, we are pleased Dr. Coyle will join us in growing research opportunities for UTSA undergraduate students. He is a model for student engagement in research and has many innovative and collaborative ideas to help grow this program in the immediate future,” said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA interim vice president for research.
Coyle earned his doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Florida, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees, also in Psychology, from Florida Atlantic University.
A faculty member with UTSA since 1997, Coyle has research interests in cognition, development, and psychometrics. His early work involved playing memory games with school kids, with a focus on children’s memory strategies. His current research examines non-IQ factors and personality traits such as conscientiousness, grit, resiliency, and other factors that predict academic performance beyond IQ. He also studies ability tilt (the difference between math and verbal scores on the ACT and SAT), another factor that predicts life outcomes (e.g., college majors or occupations) beyond IQ.
Dr. Coyle was awarded the UTSA Faculty Research Award three times (2006, 2000, 1997). He is an active researcher on campus, and his students are an integral part of his research program. He promotes an apprentice model of research, in which students work with him directly on projects. His students acquire applied knowledge and skills and have been coauthors on publications and conference presentations, key metrics for an academic career. When students graduate, they have a solid resume and are prepared to go on to graduate school or build a career outside of academia.
Recently, Dr. Coyle received a $466,000 National Science Foundation grant to study a non-IQ factor, social intelligence, and its relationship to cooperation abilities using a multi-player video game. Illustrating the apprentice model for which he advocates, Coyle is the Co-PI while a former UTSA postdoctoral student, Dr. Jacob Freeman, now an assistant professor at Utah State University, is the principal investigator. Funding from this grant will also support current undergraduate and graduate students in Coyle’s lab.
“Students are my colleagues. My aim is to give them an opportunity to gain valuable, practical research experience. My ultimate goal is to train them as independent investigators. With this new appointment, I hope to match UTSA undergraduate students with research opportunities so they can develop their skills and broaden their CVs to take them to the next level, whatever their plans may be,” said Dr. Coyle.
Coyle will work with the nine colleges and reach out to key research stakeholders (e.g. Associate Deans for Research, Undergraduate Advisors of Record and other college and departmental representatives) to create partnerships and new opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in all forms of research across campus. He plans to expand the number of research placements available, and streamline the application and matching process. He will also lead the annual 2017 Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry Showcase, which is confirmed for April 20, 2017. Undergraduate students from all colleges are invited to present a poster. Registration is now open.
Source: Sarah Hada, UTSA Research