2018 CUR Conference

The theme of the 2018 CUR Conference was Creating Collaborative Connections in and through Undergraduate Research. Below are highlighted sessions by GeoCUR councilors and members. Please view the full conference program for a listing of all sessions.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Progress in Scaling Up an Innovative Evaluation Method: Perspectives from Pilot Implementation Sites and Next Steps

Jill Singer | Karen G. Havholm | Jennifer Harris
State University of New York- Buffalo State | University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire | University of Washington

Development and pilot testing of an evaluation method for summer research programs is discussed. The method involves multiple assessments of student knowledge and skills for 11 outcome categories each defined by multiple components. Mentors assess students, students self-assess, and mentor-student pairs experience repeated structured interactions to help students reflect and identify content knowledge and skills they desire to improve. A “dashboard” facilitates tracking. Panelists represent institutions that pilot tested the method. Discussion includes refinement of the method, the next round of pilot testing, and plans for eventual broader distribution.


PANEL PRESENTATION: Creating Successful Undergraduate Research Connections between Two-Year and Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Jennifer A. Lanter | Diana Spencer | Michelle Hayford | Prajukti Bhattacharyya | Jane Lehr
Moraine Park Technical College | Tulsa Community College | University of Dayton | University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | California Polytechnic State University- San Luis

This session will bring together individuals active in undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities at two-year colleges with those at four-year colleges and universities to discuss opportunities and pathways that allow student researchers to transition seamlessly from two-year to four-year institutions. The goal of this session is to share best practices, as well as the benefits and challenges, of connecting two-year and four-year undergraduate research experiences for students and related professional development for faculty.


PANEL PRESENTATION: Building Collaborative Relationships: Discussion of Vignettes Showcasing Innovative Relationships Designed to Support Student Learning

Jennifer A. Lanter | Aaron Richard Sakulich | Michael Jackson | Mark L. Lord
Moraine Park Technical College | Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Millersville University | Western Carolina University

The Council on Undergraduate Research’s Innovation and Collaboration Task Force, consisting of Councilors from several CUR divisions, has developed a website to collect, peer review, and share case-study examples of collaborations that support opportunities, resources, and/or success for undergraduates. In this panel we will discuss the information available on the website, as well as the vignette submission and review process. In all, our goal is that, through sharing these examples – both on the website and at the conference—we will inspire others to engage in innovative and collaborative activities.


POSTER: The Essential Role of Information Literacy in Basic Undergraduate Research Skills

Laura A. Guertin
Penn State Brandywine

As undergraduate student researchers, students are creators of new knowledge while at the same time are required to interact with existing information. Knowing how and where to find material and answers to questions in the earliest stage of the research process is not a skill we can assume students have when they arrive at our universities. Collaboration between a discipline faculty member and a faculty reference/instruction librarian can result in several possible approaches to establishing a foundation in information literacy for students to then pursue undergraduate research experiences.


POSTER: Integrating Student Feedback and Evaluation: A Different Approach to Identifying and Documenting the Impact of Undergraduate Research
Jill Singer | Jennifer Harris | Karen G. Havholm
State University of New York – Buffalo State | University of Washington | University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

With funding from the NSF WIDER program, an evidence-based evaluation model for guiding undergraduate research is being piloted. The model involves progress assessments by faculty and students across a wide range of learning outcomes. Through repeated structured interactions between student and mentor at the beginning, middle, and end of research, the evaluation helps students recognize and better understand strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing institutional assessment data beyond that self-reported by students. Through collaborations with CUR and SERC at Carleton College, we currently are pilot testing and refining the evaluation model.


PRESENTATION: Broadening Participation in STEM: Effective Strategies and Student Perspectives

Catherine Chan | Prajukti Bhattacharyya | Shen Zhang | Carolyn L Morgan
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

As part of our efforts to broaden undergraduate research participation, we obtained a sub-award from the Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WiscAMP) to encourage underrepresented minority students to consider majoring in STEM fields by providing them with research and professional development opportunities, such as a three-day Winter Research Institute for students with diverse academic and research experience. This presentation will highlight our strategies to broaden participation and reduce the opportunity gap in STEM fields, as well as student perspectives shared during focus-group interviews.


POSTER: Creating and Assessing Video Animations of Deep Earth Processes to Support Student Learning and Investigations

Jeffrey G. Ryan | Robert J. Stern | Victor Ricchezza | Lochlan Vaughn
University of South Florida | University of Texas at Dallas | University of South Florida | University of Texas at Dallas

This NSF-funded project seeks to generated and educationally evaluate scientifically accurate and engaging video animations of deep earth processes targeting introductory and upper-level undergraduate geoscience courses. We report initial results from the development and testing of an initial animation discussing the different modalities of mantle melting.


PRESENTATION: UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Research Program and Student Success: A Data-Driven Self-Study

Catherine Chan | Prajukti Bhattacharyya
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater | University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

The Undergraduate Research Program leadership team at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater conducted a self-study on the characteristics of student participants and possible outcomes of their participation. We analyzed various demographic, retention, and graduation data spanning the academic years 2009-2010 to 2016-2017. Results suggested that students participating in mentored research show improved retention and graduation rates compared to other students from similar demographics.


PANEL PRESENTATION: North Carolina Public and Private Colleges and Universities Converge Around Undergraduate Research

Lee Phillips | Mary A. Farwell | Rebecca Battista | Joanne D. Altman
University of North Carolina at Greensboro | East Carolina University | Appalachian State University | High Point University

Public and private North Carolina colleges and universities work, collectively, to help promote undergraduate research and creative inquiry as a pathway to learning process through discovery. These efforts are coordinated by faculty/UR program directors from both state and independent institutions. The presenters will discuss the successful programs that have evolved from these collaborations and best and worst practices. Participants will be able to leave with models and ideas for developing or strengthening efforts to grow regional programs that forge collaborations among a variety of universities and colleges.


PRESENTATION: OUR Explorers: A Program to Expose Undergraduates to Research Opportunities across Campus

Allison Beauregard-Schwartz University of West Florida

The University of West Florida (UWF) Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), recently launched the OUR Explorers program for underclassmen. The goals for this program are to encourage students to engage in research earlier, to increase engagement in undergraduates research, and to broaden the scope of potential mentors that students consider. OUR Explorers students are matched with three or four faculty “guides” from a broad range of research specialties to shadow for the spring semester, based on the student’s stated interests and career goals.



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