What is Undergraduate Research (UR)?
Undergraduate research represents a hands-on and highly engaging educational experience that fosters student success 1.
Research demonstrates that students who engage in High-Impact Practices such as undergraduate research, graduate on time, earn better grades, and are better prepared for the demands of post-graduate education and the world of work. Evidence-based research also indicates that engagement in HIP activities increase student persistence and retention.
The Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines UR as: A mentored investigation or creative inquiry conducted by undergraduates that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge.
What Are the Benefits of Undergraduate Research?
- Enhances student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty
- Increases retention and graduation in academic programs
- Increases enrollment in graduate education and provides effective career preparation
- Develops critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual independence
- Develops an understanding of research methodology
- Promotes an innovation-oriented culture
- Develops competencies that speak to career-readiness
At UTC, Students who engage in UR:
- work under the direction of a mentor or mentors to acquire research and career skills,
- engage in scholarly discovery and /or creative inquiry, and
- make contributions to society through their research.
Regardless of the discipline or project, undergraduate research and creative endeavors at UTC may be further characterized following the eight key features of HIPs articulated by Kuh, O'Donnell Schneider.
George Kuh, Ken O'Donnell Carol Geary Schneider (2017) HIPs at Ten, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 49:5, 8-16, DOI: 10.1080/00091383.2017.1366805 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2017.1366805
- Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels
- Significant investment of concentrated effort by students over an extended period of time
- Interactions with faculty and peers about substantive matters
- Experiences with diversity, wherein students are exposed to and must contend with people and circumstances that differ from those with which students are familiar
- Frequent, timely, and constructive feedback
- Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications
- Public demonstration of competence
- Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning
Students who participate in Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors:
- Gain a competitive advantage for careers, advanced study, and other opportunities.
- Develop a diverse skillset for future professional success.
- Articulate (and provide demonstrated evidence of) transferable skills and meaningful academic experiences.
- Network with a community of scholars and build lasting relationships with faculty mentors.
- Become self-directed, life-long learners.