This presentation will focus on the engagement of undergraduate students in research as a transformative pedagogy to educate and better prepare tomorrow’s scientific/technical workforce for the contemporary society while the demand for such talent is on the rise. In the United States, undergraduate research (UR) is being institutionalized at small and large universities alike in a variety of modalities such as capstone courses encompassing research for credit as a requirement; offering research opportunities for skill building but not necessarily for credit; students working on projects that are directly related to faculty member’s research interest and/or students working on projects of their own choosing but still mentored by a faculty member. We will discuss how an institution can create, nurture and sustain faculty mentored UR in the natural sciences using our own success story. Undoubtedly, it takes time, resources and commitment on the part of all stakeholders- faculty, students and administration- to institutionalize UR. There is ample research to indicate that undergraduate students are quite capable and can be motivated for research in contrast to the old paradigm that research is truly meant only for the graduate students.
|Keywords:||Undergraduate Research, Transformative Pedagogy, Engaged Learning, Benefits of Undergraduate Research|
Associate Vice Chancellor and Professor of Physics, Offices of Sponsored Programs, Research and Graduate Studies, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA