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Dr. Ritter named PURC director

By Elisha Farler Staff Writer

October 10, 2013

Photo by Emily Thacker
Dr. Timothy Ritter, right, and Micah Simpson look over a homework assignment afer Physical Science class.

Physics Professor Dr. Timothy Ritter has been named Director of the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center.

The PURC Center helps undergraduate students with opportunities in research experiences that are mentored by faculty members.

“PURC is a system for supporting undergraduate research and scholarship campus-wide.

“It’s well established and has become an institutional asset,” School of Graduate Studies and Research Dean Dr. Rebecca Bullard-Dillard said. “Dr. Ritter will carry PURC forward and make his own brand of improvements.”

“One thing we would like to do is possibly establish another symposium. We have a large one in spring, but there are a number of students who do research over the summer,” Dr. Ritter said. “I’d also like to see the PURC center get a printer” for presentation posters.


Ritter, who recently received the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, has been a faculty mentor on multiple occasions for students who have applied for funding from PURC. He led the UNCP “Weightless Lumbee” students into NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program with the help of PURC.  

“He brought in students interested in science and students from across campus. It was a very diverse group,” Director of Community and Civic Engagement Aubrey Swett said.

Ashley Cole, a mass communication major, presented at the 2013 PURC Symposium.

She won a $50 gift card to the UNCP Book Store for her presentation of her mass communication theory and research paper “Let's Play a Lovegame: The Prevalence of Sex in Lady Gaga's Lyrics and Music Videos.”

“I enjoyed the experience as a whole. It was the first time I presented my work, and I got to explain my project to two of my psychology professors who stopped by,” Cole said.

Cole said by participating and winning at the symposium, she can add it to her resume and send future employees a link to the PURC site.

Swett, is also no stranger to what the PURC center can offer students.

He said he is excited to work with Dr. Ritter.

“PURC has benefitted students involved with CCE to be able to present their work locally, statewide and nationally,” Swett said. “Without PURC we would not have been able to travel to these places.”

“Tim is very interested in exposing our students to scholarship and developing their educational intelligence through research prospects in the areas of their interest not just their major, and he brings a great perspective in working with students,” Swett said.

Dr. Ritter has been with UNCP for 17 years, coming to UNCP right after graduate school.


Dr. Ritter said he will continue to be a judge for the Region IV Science and Engineering Fair.

He has been involved with the fair for 17 years as well.   

The 2014 PURC Symposium will be held on April 2 in the University Center Annex from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

PURC council members include:

•          Dr. Ryan Anderson , assistant professor, Department of History;
•          Dr. Anthony Curtis, professor, Department of Mass Communication;
•          Hal Davis, assistant professor of musical theatre, Department of Music;
•          Dr. Michele Fazio, assistant professor, Department of English and Theatre;
•          Dr. Robert Poage, associate professor, Department of Biology;
•          Brandon Sanderson, assistant professor, Department of Art;
•          Dr. Xinyan Shi, assistant professor, Economics, Finance, and Decision Sciences;
•          Dr. Rachel Smith, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics.


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