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8 Considerations for Design and Implementation of Undergraduate Research Experiences
Pages 181-210

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From page 181...
... We aim to present a structure for considering relevant aspects of UREs as part of a design and decision making process embedded in the conceptual framework described in Chapter 3. This chapter is designed to serve as a guide to readers who wish to support the development of UREs on their campus -- primarily faculty, URE program designers/directors, and institutional leaders.
From page 182...
... In preparing the guidance reported here, the committee draws from best practices that have emerged from education research on the science of learning, published research evidence on UREs, resources and research syntheses by national organizations that support UREs, presentations made during the committee meetings, and the expertise of the committee members. This chapter begins with some initial considerations to keep in mind when considering the type of URE program that will be institutionally appropriate.
From page 183...
... • What is the overall goal of the program? For example, does it aim to provide research experiences for some or all students in a given STEM major, for students in the beginning courses for the major, or for some other overarching end?
From page 184...
... Are there steps along the way where expectations must be documented? Do they include keeping a research notebook?
From page 185...
... (See Chapter 2 for a detailed discussion with relevant examples.) Alignment of a planned URE with a particular program's various goals and available resources is critical to offering academic experiences that will meet program goals for the students it targets.
From page 186...
... 186 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR STEM STUDENTS TABLE 8-1  Overview of the Variability of Attributes of UREs Leadership • Professor • Lecturer • Senior researcher • Postdoctoral scholar • Industry researcher Mentoring • Informal arrangements • Assigned mentor • Multiple mentors Format • Apprentice-style URE • Course-based URE for academic credit • URE program that includes professional development • Industry URE Duration • Several weeks to several years Expectations for students • Learn discipline-specific procedures • Conduct an original investigation • Prepare poster or presentation on work Student goals • Career awareness • Apprenticeship in a research environment • Insight into the nature of research • Contribution to a larger STEM discipline–specific goal Value for student career • Prepare informed citizens trajectory • Strengthen likelihood of graduate school admissions • Helpful for industry employment • Useful for recommendations in general Measured outcomes • Self-report survey • Interview • Assessment of knowledge • Journal • Research report or presentation Populations(s) served • STEM majors/non-STEM majors • Historically underrepresented students • First generation students Student funding • Unpaid (generally receive course credit)
From page 187...
... may be test preparation and assistance with graduate school applications. Similarly, if a goal is to increase STEM knowledge and literacy, a URE may include not only working alongside a faculty member in a lab, but also assigned readings and periodic workshops featuring presentations on research across STEM disciplines.
From page 188...
... . The organizations described in the final section of this chapter may also serve as a source of ideas and BOX 8-1 Entering Research Course for Beginning Apprentice-Style Researchers: University of Wisconsin–Madison This two-semester seminar course for beginning researchers is taken con currently with independent research credits by students from across the STEM disciplines.
From page 189...
... Unfortunately, this can include those who intend to become teachers, especially those planning to teach in the elementary or ­ middle grades and who are likely to major in education or English, neither of which is a STEM discipline. There also is a risk of unfairness if faculty members select students based on those who approach them seeking such opportunities, as ethnic/­ racial minority students and first generation students often are aware neither ­ of URE opportunities nor of the benefits of a URE (Bangera and Brownell, 2014)
From page 190...
... Too often, these kinds of special costs pose particular burdens for first generation, underrepresented, nontraditional, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Intentional recruiting of these subpopulations and dedicated funding sources to provide financial aid can counter many of these obstacles.
From page 191...
... Moreover, it is crucial to think about how the attributes of specific student populations (e.g., students of color, women, first generation students, community college transfers, commuter versus resident students, full-time versus part-time students, majors in the URE field versus nonmajors) affect the goals those students might have and how those goals will be addressed within the design (Blockus, 2016; Dolan, 2016)
From page 192...
... Resources needed for research are as varied as the questions that drive the research and the disciplines that set the context for the research opportunity. A comprehensive list of resources needed for all forms of UREs across all STEM disciplines and research questions is beyond the scope of this report, so what follows is an illustrative compendium of resource issues and topics, which may be helpful to consider in the design of UREs.
From page 193...
... Liberal arts schools and community colleges generally have a greater proportion of smaller classes, including smaller introductory classes, such that the transition from a "cook-book" lab course to a more research- or discovery-based lab course may be more easily accomplished within the existing infrastructure. Institutions with an explicit mission to promote undergraduate research most often have resources already in place (e.g., budget, support personnel, space, equipment)
From page 194...
... Outcomes included increased student retention rates, increased overall graduation rates, increased graduation rates of African American and Hispanic students participat ing in the URE program (compared to pre-program rates) , strengthened faculty recruitment and retention, increased faculty proposal submission and funding rates, and increased support from donors.
From page 195...
... undergraduates who are enrolled in the nation's community colleges (which generally have high percentages of underrepresented students) for students' initial science training.3 Financial Costs and Benefits of UREs The capital resources required for undergraduate research depend on the discipline, type of program, and topic under investigation.
From page 196...
... Undergraduate research offices, present on many campuses, often post lists of potential funding sources online so that even those at other institutions can benefit from this information. Funding possibilities include federal agencies such as NSF, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
From page 197...
... Individual undergraduate research opportunities with the federal government can now be searched in one location at the new website, http://STEMundergrads.science.gov. Many research-intensive universities provide summer research experiences for students from other schools; a strong undergraduate research office can help students identify and apply for such opportunities.
From page 198...
... It may be appropriate to consider faculty from other departments or schools and individuals in business and industry with relevant expertise. Consulting or partnering with these experts can allow URE designers to build more easily on the work of others and to learn from the existing experience and evidence that have been gathered.
From page 199...
... These discussions should include making plans to ensure that undergraduates have access to relevant journals and online resources as well as the necessary space and equipment. If research with students is not already part of the campus culture, identifying and motivating faculty to undertake such efforts can be challenging; doing so not only can involve large investments of time, but also necessitates re-examining current teaching practices.
From page 200...
... As characterized r in Chapter 2, there are URE programs that involve multiple institutions and leverage the sharing of resources to improve UREs. Numerous examples discussing some of these options are given by Elgin and colleagues (2016)
From page 201...
... Engagement in UREs can enhance student learning over traditional instruction and improve retention of content knowledge (Cortright et al.,
From page 202...
... Similarly, if a goal is to increase STEM knowledge and literacy, a URE may include not only working alongside one or more faculty mentors in a lab, but also additional assigned readings and periodic workshops featuring presentations on concepts and research across STEM disciplines. Measurement might include concept inventories and tests of disciplinary content.
From page 203...
... In all cases, the local Institutional Review Board must be consulted and appropriate human subjects protections put in place before the assessment begins. While it is clearly desirable for the design of new types of UREs to be well grounded in education and social science research, asking or requiring every new type of URE to be based upon or informed by education research before it can begin operation or receive funding could stifle creativity.
From page 204...
... The National ­ ction Council for Minorities in Engineering12 performs a comparable A role for underrepresented students in that discipline. The American Society for Microbiology's capstone program provides funding to undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups to enhance their ability to present their research.13 Societies of STEM research professionals traditionally have served as a platform for leaders and members from their respective STEM fields and subspecialties to present their research, discuss challenges, and scout opportunities in their field.
From page 205...
... Some of these are discipline-specific, such as On the Cutting Edge, a program managed by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers that has held workshops for faculty on how to engage undergraduates in geosciences research. This association hosts a detailed website with many examples of UREs, as well as resources for learning about pedagogy and practice related to undergraduate research.16 The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education, which grew out of the report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology: A Call to Action (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011)
From page 206...
... Campuses that cultivate environments that support continuous refinement of teaching programs, based on evidence of student learning and other measures of success, are more likely to be successful in cultivating and sustaining URE programs (for an example, see Box 8-2, above, on The College of New Jersey)
From page 207...
... In addition, intercampus connections such as those between community colleges or other resource-limited institutions and research-intensive universities can improve the prospects for faculty in the former types of institutions to gain access to instrumentation and other resources, share student-generated research data and common assessments, collaborate with colleagues who are undertaking similar programs, and allow both faculty and students to benefit from interactions across more diverse student populations. An equally important component of such efforts is recognition by departmental and institutional leaders that, as with any scientific research agenda, not all efforts to develop UREs will succeed, at least initially.
From page 208...
... . Strengthening Research Experiences for Undergraduate STEM Students: The Co-Curricular Model of the Research Experience.
From page 209...
... . Innovations in undergraduate science education: Going viral.
From page 210...
... Paper commissioned for the Committee on Strengthening Research Experi­ ences for Undergraduate STEM Students. Board on Science Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.


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