MACON — Mercer University has been granted a chapter in Sigma Xi, a global honor society of scientists and engineers that recognizes scientific achievement. The Mercer University Chapter is the first in Central Georgia and will serve not only as the Society chapter for the university, but also as the chapter for the entire area.
"This is a substantial achievement for the University because it recognizes that our faculty and students are producing high-level research," said Dr. Horace Fleming, executive vice president and university provost at Mercer. "Receiving a charter from Sigma Xi is a recognition of Mercer's commitment to scholarship, and we look forward to this chapter serving our University and our entire area."
The Mercer Sigma Xi chapter will be installed on Monday, Oct. 24 during a ceremony with Dr. Richard L. Meyer, the society treasurer of Sigma XI and professor emeritus of the University of Arkansas.
The scientific research society is a diverse, chapter-based organization dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering through outstanding programs and services delivered in a collegial and supportive environment. Sigma Xi's mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science, and promote the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi programs address major issues at the intersection of science and society, such as improving science education, enhancing the health of the research enterprise, fostering integrity in science, promoting the public's understanding of science, and building a global network of researchers.
Membership in Sigma Xi is by nomination. Those who have shown potential as researchers are invited to join as associate members, and full membership is conferred upon those who have demonstrated noteworthy achievements in research. Nearly 200 Sigma Xi members have won the Nobel Prize. Mercer students can be inducted as associate members.
With a Sigma Xi Chapter, Mercer students will now have access to Grants-in-Aid for research of up to $1,000 to graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines of science and engineering. Special funds support grants of up to $2,500 in ophthalmology and astronomy.
With a Chapter, Mercer can receive up to $1,000 for developing education programs. Chapters can host Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers, and subsidies are available to help defray costs. Through a partnership with the Shodor Education Foundation, sponsored by NSF, chapters can host workshops on how to develop and apply computational tools to science and engineering in the undergraduate classroom.
Sigma Xi is a sponsoring partner of the Sally Ride TOY challenge that provides a challenging introduction to engineering principles for middle-school students. Sigma Xi partners with MentorNet, the non-profit e-mentoring network. Sigma Xi chapters are participating in an important survey of postdocs supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Society provides an International Expertise Database to encourage networking among researchers, offers ethics resources and has a Web site for minority scientists. Sigma Xi also sponsors Grant Writing Workshops provided by the Grantsmanship Center, for which Sigma Xi members get a discount on the workshop tuition. Mercer will be able to host these events.
Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as three regional academic centers. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 16 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South.