Academic Affairs seeks to expand research options for undergrads

Dec 13th, 2012 | By | Category: 2012, Dec. 13, Issue, Research

Academic Affairs is working to expand opportunities for undergraduate research experiences across campus.

UNL’s Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience program was rated one of the top 28 university programs in undergraduate research by U.S. News and World Report last year. The UCARE program allows students to work alongside faculty on research or creative activity projects.

While UCARE remains a key campus program, Academic Affairs is looking to highlight other research opportunities available to students.

“We know that undergraduates participate in research outside of the UCARE program,” said Amy Goodburn, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“Making visible all of the research opportunities available to students — whether paid, volunteer, or for class credit — is a key priority.

“Undergraduate research is proven to be a high-impact practice for student retention and engagement. As students at a Big Ten research institution, UNL undergraduates have unique advantages for incorporating research experiences into their academic careers.”

A new Undergraduate Research Faculty Advisory Board has been created to provide campuswide leadership to promote, expand and enhance research opportunities for undergraduates. The board is also charged with encouraging faculty involvement in these research experiences.

Members of the advisory board are: Dave Hansen, chair and professor of psychology; Carl Nelson, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering; Melanie Simpson, associate professor of biochemistry; Ted Hamann, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education; Sandra Williams, associate professor of art; and Laurie Bellows, associate dean and professor of practice of graduate studies.

Goodburn leads the board. She has also assumed oversight for the UCARE program, with functional support provided by Graduate Studies. Laura Damuth, longtime director of UCARE, has shifted her focus full time as director of national and international fellowships. Damuth is also associate director of the Honors Program.

Academic Affairs also created the Undergraduate Research Student Ambassador group this fall. The group includes 10 students who have participated in undergraduate research at UNL. The ambassadors promote UNL undergraduate research programs by giving short presentations to prospective and current students and faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff can contact Goodburn at agoodburn1@unl.edu with ideas for developing undergraduate research on campus.

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