Undergraduate Research

Definition

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines undergraduate research as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.” At UNCG, we recognize that undergraduate research has a “high impact” on student learning when that project is conducted under the supervision of our faculty and staff. We also like to broaden the possibilities of experience to include those projects “that seeks to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”

Undergraduate Research at UNCG

The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office (URSCO) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is dedicated to promoting and supporting student success through mentored undergraduate research, creative inquiry and other scholarly experiences for the UNCG community. The URSCO is also dedicated to helping faculty become increasingly effective with mentoring undergraduate research and integrating research skills into courses and curricula.

The office seeks to highlight the diversity of disciplinary scholarship for and through our students in order to help cultivate inquiry outside the classroom. Toward this end, the URSCO hosts a variety of workshops for students and faculty.

Student workshops include: what to expect from a research experience, how to create an effective poster, how to identify the right research program and mentor, and students talking with each other about their research.

Faculty workshops include: how to mentor undergraduate students in research/creative inquiry and integrating research skills into the curriculum.

Specifically, the URSCO seeks to:

  • Provide opportunities for UNCG students to engage in an undergraduate research experience.
  • Provide opportunities for UNCG students to learn about the benefits of undergraduate research or scholarly experience.
  • Provide opportunities for UNCG students to disseminate the results of their research.
  • Develop additional programs that support undergraduate research experiences.
  • Develop an assessment program for the undergraduate research experience.
  • Participate in local, state, and national dialogues or meetings devoted to promoting undergraduate research.

Undergraduate research is a key pedagogical practice at UNCG and has deep roots in the traditional extracurricular mentor-mentee model of student engagement. More and more we are seeing the intentional integration of research and research-skills-development (sensu Willison, 2012) into and throughout the curriculum. Major efforts toward broadening access to research through curricular inclusion have been broadly cast, and notable advances can be seen in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry through a CUR Transformation grant, and in the Humanities through an A. W. Mellon grant.

Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo

Late each Spring Semester, the URSCO hosts a campus-wide celebration of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities. All students engaged in faculty-mentored scholarly inquiry are encouraged to participate. Students are eligible to compete for program recognition, which includes monetary awards. Course-based undergraduate research projects are also encouraged.

Resources:

Auchincloss, L., Laursen, Sl.L., Branchaw, J.L., Eagan K., Graham, M., Hanauer, D., Lawrie, G., McLinn, C., Pelaez, N., Rowland, S., Towns, M., Trautmann, N. Varma-Nelson, P., Weston, T, and Dolan, E. (2012) Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: A meeting report. CBE—Life Sciences Education 13, 29–40.

Hart Research Associates (2015). Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success. AAC&U. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/public-opinion-research/2015-survey-results

Hart Research Associates (2013). It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. AAC&U. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/presidentstrust/compact/2013SurveySummary

Hathaway, R.S., Nagda, B.A., Gregerman, S.R. (2002) The relationship of undergraduate research participation to graduate and professional education pursuit: an empirical study. Journal of College Student Development 43(5) 614-631.

Hensel, N., editor (2012). Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research, 62 p.

Hu, S., Scheuch, K., Schwartz, R., Gayles, J.G., & Li, S. (2008) Reinventing undergraduate education: engaging college students in research and creative activities. ASHE Higher Education Report, 33(4), Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Hunter, A.B., Laursen, S.L., & Seymour, E. (2006) Becoming a scientist: The role of undergraduate research in students’ cognitive, personal, and professional development. Science Education 91, 36-74.

Kinkead, J., & Blockus, L. (2012) Undergraduate Research Offices & Programs: Models & Practices, Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research, 277 p.

Kuh, G.D. (2008) High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. 35.

Lopatto D. (2007) Undergraduate research experiences support science career decisions and active learning. CBE life sciences education.6(4), 297-306.

Maton KI, Pollard SA, McDougall Weise TV, Hrabowski FA. (2012) Meyerhoff Scholars Program: a strengths-based, institution-wide approach to increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York. 79(5), 610-23.

Russell SH, Hancock MP, McCullough J. (2007) The pipeline. Benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Science. 316(5824), 548-549.

Seymour E, Hunter A-B, Laursen SL, DeAntoni T. (2004) Establishing the Benefits of Research Experiences for Undergraduates in the Sciences: First Findings from a Three-Year Study. Science Education. 88(4), 493-534.

Shaffer, C.D., Alvarez, C.J., Bednarski, A.E., Dunbar, D., Goodman, A.L., Reinke, C., Rosenwald, A.G., Wolyniak, M.J., Bailey, C., Barnard, D., Bazinet, C., Beach, D.L., Bedard, J.E.J., Bhalla, S., Braverman, J., Burg, M., Chandrasekaran, V., Chung, H-M., Clase, K., DeJong, R.J., DiAngelo, J.R., Du, C., Eckdahl, T.C., Eisler, H., Emerson, J.A., Frary, A., Frohlich, D., Gosser, Y., Govind, S., Haberman, A., Hark, A.T., Hauser, C., Hoogewerf, A., Hoopes, L.L.M., Howell, C.E., Johnson, D., Jones, C.J., Kadlec, L., Kaehler, M., Silver Key, S.C., Kleinschmit, A., Kokan, N.P., Kopp, O., Kuleck, G., Leatherman, J., Lopilato, J., MacKinnon, C., Martinez-Cruzado, J.C., McNeil, G., Mel, S., Mistry, M., Nagengast, A., Overvoorde, P., Paetkau, D.W., Parrish, S., Peterson, C.N., Preuss, M., Reed, L.K., Revie, D., Robic, S., Roecklein-Canfield, J., Rubin, M.R., Saville, K., Schroeder, S., Sharif, K., Shaw, M., Skuse, G., Smith, C.D., Smith, M.A., Smith, S.T., Spana, E., Spratt, M., Sreenivasan, A., Stamm, J., Szauter, P., Thompson, J.S., Wawersik, M., Youngblom, J., Zhou, L., Mardis, E.R., Buhler, J., Leung, W., Lopatto, D., and Elgin, S.C.R. (2014) A course-based research experience: How benefits change with increased investment in instructional time. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13, 111-30.Corwin, L.A., Graham, M.J., and Dolan, E.L., 2015, Modeling Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences: An Agenda for Future Research and Evaluation, CBE–Life Sciences Education, 14, 1-13.

Shanahan, J.O., Ackley-Holbrook, E., Hall, E., Stewart, K., and Walkington, H. (2015) Ten Salient Practices of Undergraduate Research Mentors: A Review of the Literature, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 23(5), 359-376.

Willison, J.W., 2012, When academics integrate research skill development in the curriculum, Higher Education Research & Development, 31(6), 905-919.

Wilson, R., 2003, Research “Undergraduate Research: in the Humanities, Modern Language Studies, 33(1), 74-79.