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Office of the Provost Accreditation

Research Supporting Undergraduate Student Experience

Research Supporting Undergraduate Student Experience

Topic: How does WSU research support the undergraduate student experience?

Challenge/Opportunity: WSU’s recent challenges/opportunities related to this issue include developing undergraduate research events to a higher level, institutionalizing various pre-research prep courses, creating opportunities for students to attend conferences, and growing our summer research programs.

Recent actions/outcomes:

  • Developing SURCA into a higher-level event that is part of Academic Showcase and invites undergraduates from all disciplines to participate. 2018 will be the seventh year of SURCA. This has become the capstone event for many students that participate in undergraduate research. For higher achieving students, SURCA is the launch pad for their careers before they attend National conferences. Results and outcomes include increasing numbers of participation in SURCA every year, increased sponsorship for student awards from industry, and increased numbers of student awards at national conferences.
  • Through NSF funding (Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM, TUES) the OUR Director has institutionalized various pre-research prep courses that provide early career students (i.e. freshman, sophomores, transfer students) a chance to explore research opportunities and gain confidence and skills to succeed in research. Results and outcomes include increased numbers of students engaged in research, and presumably (not quantified) increased retention rates for students engaged in research.
  • Development of travel grants (OUR) for students to attend national conferences to present their research results. Results and outcomes include increased participation of undergraduates at nation venues and increased numbers of student awards.
  • Development of an institution wide summer research program (OUR). Results and outcomes include increase in the number of NSF funded Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) grants and other “REU-like” grants, increased recognition of WSU as a top-tier research institution and improved recruiting of graduate students (not quantified).

Current/future emphasis, or next steps:

  • A Drive to 25 Action Team Committee has been formed to address the future of undergraduate research at WSU.
  • Incorporating WSU Grand Challenges into the undergraduate research experience.
  • Looking for additional funding opportunities from federal and non-federal sponsors regarding undergraduate research training programs.

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