Institutional Vision for the Integration of Research and Education in Science and Engineering

The University of Delaware (UD) firmly believes that the development of its students into productive, proactive citizens is best accomplished in an environment of discovery, where research is an integral part of students' education and where students play an integral role in faculty research. This integration befits UD's mission and culture as a research-intensive, state-supported university where nearly all of the faculty teach undergraduates.

It is essential that all UD undergraduates in science and engineering develop an experience-based appreciation for research, including its underlying methodology, its tremendous contributions to society, and its capabilities and limitations in solving today's problems. Further, the discovery environment must enable students to develop the following attributes, which describe both a good researcher and a successful engineering or science professional:

a good grasp of science fundamentals,
for engineers, a good understanding of the design process and manufacturing,
an understanding of the societal contexts in which engineering and the scientific professions are practiced,
an ability to think both critically and creatively--seeking and synthesizing information from broadly different sources,
flexibility, defined as an ability and self-confidence to adapt to rapid/major change,
curiosity and a desire for life-long learning,
a profound understanding of the importance of team work and collaboration.

The strategy to implement the institutional vision for the integration of research and education consists of two components: (a) involving as many undergraduates as is feasible in faculty research and (b) providing a discovery-oriented environment for those students who cannot be accommodated in research projects.

The institution recognizes that the key to successful integration of research and education is our faculty--the individuals who both educate our students and spearhead our research efforts. Our vision is for all engineering and science faculty to work closely with undergraduate as well as graduate students in their own research laboratories and in classrooms, providing their personal insights into current research issues and strategies. For their undergraduate research apprentices, the behavior of faculty serves as a model of discovery learning. For classroom instruction of all students, not only do the faculty incorporate new research results effectively and rapidly into the core curricula; but, further, they become educational as well as scientific innovators: in the research labs by mentoring undergraduates and helping their graduate and postdoctoral students learn to be mentors and in the classrooms and course labs by designing discovery-oriented learning environments modeled on the research experience.

Our goal for science and engineering faculty participation in undergraduate research apprenticeships has largely been met (90% participation in most departments). We intend to raise additional research scholarship money to increase the number of undergraduates serving research apprenticeships from 500 to 800 per year. Our near-term goal for the creation of discovery-oriented learning environments modeled on the research experience has largely been met: introductory courses in all the science and most engineering majors are available in the active-learning format as are some introductory courses for non-science majors. Our long-term goals are (1) to increase the number of such courses at the upper level in each major so that every UD undergraduate in science and engineering can experience at least two such courses and (2) to increase introductory courses for non-science majors so that every non-science student can experience at least one general science course in this format. We will be on target if within three years we have increased by four-fold the number of active-learning courses offered.

The administration will continue to recognize significant contributions to attainment of the institutional vision by rewarding innovative faculty through policies related to promotion and tenure.

Nature and Scope of Integration Activities

Involving Undergraduates in Research
For well over three decades, undergraduates at UD have engaged in research with faculty in many of the science and engineering departments. Each UD college has evolved programs to support integration of research and education, with particular attention to minority students. In 1980, UD established a University-wide Undergraduate Research Program (URP) to (1) increase dramatically the number of undergraduate researchers, (2) bring undergraduate research apprenticeships into the culture of every academic department at the University, and (3) improve the quality of the undergraduate research experience for both students and faculty. In the succeeding years, the URP has played a critical role in the support of faculty efforts to integrate undergraduate research apprentices into their research programs in every department on the campus. The URP will serve as the focal point for the RAIRE project, which will draw upon activities throughout the colleges and departments to document their effectiveness and describe a model for an institution-wide program of undergraduate research.

The Undergraduate Research Program
With the help of an initial three-year FIPSE grant, the URP has become perhaps the most comprehensive undergraduate research program at a state university in the U.S. It has served as a model program for over 50 other U.S. colleges and universities since the mid-1980's, having become known to many institutions through presentations and related publications given in response to FIPSE's expectations for dissemination of successful program results. Representatives of the URP have participated at the first Conference on Collaboration in Undergraduate Education (CUE, of which UD's URP was a co-founder) and at conferences of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), the Association of American Colleges (AAC), the International Conference on Improving University Learning and Teaching, the Philadelphia-based Government-University-Industry-Research Roundtable Symposium, and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). UD's URP also advised the NSF Board in its creation of the REU supplements program in 1985.

About 63% (604/957) of UD's entire faculty--engineering, science, social science, humanities, the arts, and the professional colleges--now regularly offer undergraduate research opportunities. Over 90% of the faculty (247/275) in UD's engineering, biological and physical science departments regularly participate, as do 81% (153/189) in our social, behavioral, and economic science departments, and 55% (22/40) in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Faculty in our two graduate colleges--the College of Marine Studies (CMS) (74%, 26/35) and the College of Urban Affairs* (56%, 13/23)--also offer undergraduate research apprenticeships and direct or serve on the committees of undergraduate theses, as do faculty and research scientists in all of UD's interdisciplinary research centers. *[In July 1997, the College of Urban Affairs was incorporated into the new College of Human Resources, Education, and Public Policy.]

URP procedures: academic infrastructure and advisement
To support faculty/student research collaboration--which may begin with first- year students but usually begins with sophomores--the URP publishes annual listings of Undergraduate Research Opportunities offered by faculty in all fields (available on line and in print). Advisement is provided for interested students and for new faculty, both centrally-- through the Undergraduate Research Office, which advises about 300 students per year--and throughout the University, where a designated faculty member in each academic department and interdisciplinary research center serves as undergraduate research advisor and coordinator for the department or center, helping to "match" faculty and students in research apprenticeships. In addition to the departmental faculty advisors, 25 faculty members serve on a Board of Senior Thesis Readers, which facilitates the work of the University-wide senior honors thesis program by convening thesis candidates in small interdisciplinary research groups to share work in progress during the senior year.

University-wide UR administrative infrastructure
By working with the Academic Records, Financial Aid Offices and the UD Scholarship Committee, and the Office of Housing and Resident Life--through personnel who are specially designated to liaise with the URP--the URP arranges and monitors academic credit options (including a special "undergraduate research sustaining" course), financial aid to address both research expenses and students' living expenses while they are conducting research, and campus housing and meals during the summer and winter sessions.

URP procedures: students' early start
For the past decade, about 500 students per year have participated in undergraduate research. Students may begin research assistance at any time in their undergraduate careers, but mid-sophomore year is considered normal starting time in the sciences and engineering. Major attention is paid to the summer between the sophomore and junior years as the best opportunity for students to gain a 10-week, in-depth research experience, which then serves as the basis for 3 to 6 credits' worth of continued work during the junior year and yields senior research of a high calibre.

Students' upper-class years, including industrial and international experience. Students may use the summer between the junior and senior years to continue work with the research faculty member, usually paid by faculty research grants, NSF/REU grant supplements, or a combination of faculty and URP funds. When juniors choose to enter an internship in an industrial or a government laboratory, faculty can often build upon their students' industrial co-op experiences to develop advanced research projects for the students' return to campus. Many undergraduates at this stage participate in projects made possible by a major government-university-industry initiative, the Delaware Research Partnership (DRP), originated by the Delaware State Legislature in 1985 to support high-technology research that has the potential to enhance the state's economy (since 1985, more than 75 companies have participated in more than 265 joint research projects with UD faculty).

At the end of the junior year, undergraduate researchers may also choose to conduct research abroad through the URP's summer UR exchange with Imperial College of the University of London (8-10 students/year), the Technical University of Berlin (1 student/year), IAESTE, or an individual placement arranged by their sponsoring faculty. The senior year is used to continue the research toward possible publication or presentation with the faculty sponsor in professional journals and conferences (about 40 per year) and/or to pursue a senior thesis for an University honors degree (about 90 per year) or for departmental senior research.

Presentations and publications
Students may present their research at the University-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium (presentations by about 40 seniors to over 300 attenders). Also University-wide is the URP's annual Science and Engineering poster session (presentations by 60 juniors to about 150 attenders). Many departments and centers hold annual poster sessions and symposia for presentations by their undergraduate researchers to students, faculty and industrial friends; these include the Center for Composite Materials (CCM); the Colleges of Engineering, Human Resources, Marine Studies, and Agricultural Sciences; and the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Biology. In addition, students deliver off-campus research presentations to their faculty members' industrial partners and colleagues from other academic institutions. The UD chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the interdisciplinary honor society, helps to emphasize the importance of communicating research to people outside the discipline by offering two annual prizes of $500 each for the best research essays written for a general educated audience; the winners present their work at the society's annual banquet, and many of the essays have been published.

Special undergraduate research programs for under-represented minorities
The first efforts to bring minority students into faculty research came from individual faculty and departments. One of these which is still very active and effective is the Psychology Department's Summer Research Institute for Minorities. Since 1971, due to the foresight and dedication of one of UD's senior faculty in psychology, Professor James Jones, minority students in psychology, not only from UD but from across the nation, have benefited from this Institute, which funds 10 students annually for a 2-month program of research apprenticeships with UD faculty complemented by instruction in experimental design, methodology, and statistics and accompanied by study of science, ethnicity and culture. For the past ten years, the participants in this program have lived with the other undergraduates conducting research on campus in the summer, sharing a summer schedule of social and cultural events, organized by the URP, that bring undergraduate researchers together.

UD's effort to integrate education and research for minority students across the curriculum has come in two stages. Although at the URP's beginning in 1980, special letters and follow-up phone calls were made inviting minority students to look into UR opportunities, this recruitment was not noticeably successful, as minority student participation began and remained at only 2-4%. At that time, however, minority students made up only 4-5% of the UD student body. Meanwhile, recognizing that racial minorities had been historically underrepresented in the UD's student body (whose first African American student graduated in 1951), UD was making major efforts to increase its number of minority students enrolled and retained to graduation. In 1972, UD had begun a program of recruitment and support services in the College of Engineering, now called RISE (Resources to Insure Successful Engineers), which has succeeded in increasing the presence of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans to comprise over 11% of the engineering student body (101 students in 1995/96) with retention rates comparable to those of the engineering student body as a whole. RISE has also provided founding leadership for the $5 million NSF/Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) consortium of 8 regional colleges and universities and an educational foundation.

Within the UD, a constellation of minority recruitment and support programs have evolved along the RISE model adapted in the Colleges of Arts and Science (NUCLEUS), Business (FORTUNE 2000), Education (ASPIRE), and Human Resources (HORIZONS). Over the past five years, minority enrollments have steadily increased the proportion of minority students in the entire undergraduate student body to reach 12% in Fall 1996.

In 1993, using funds from the GTE Foundation, RISE began its own programmatic effort to introduce RISE students to undergraduate research apprenticeships, sponsoring 9 student/faculty research teams. This experiment led to the inauguration in 1995 of a fully formed RISE/NSF Undergraduate Research Program (RNUR) designed to give RISE students a structured early research experience that could also serve, for the sophomores and juniors, as a "feeder" into the URP or into industrial internships. RNUR participants, supported by engineering tutors, are matched with research faculty to spend the 5 1/2 week Winter Session apprenticed in a research laboratory on full scholarship. During the following spring semester, the RNUR students prepare a presentation for an April RISE Undergraduate Research Symposium, modeled on the university-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium. In 1996, 12 students participated in RNUR.

Because it was founded more recently (1993), the NUCLEUS program (for students in biology, biochemistry and related disciplines) was able both to adapt the RISE model of academic and personal support and to plan from the outset for undergraduate research participation by NUCLEUS students. The undergraduate research component was worked out with the URP Coordinator by the writers of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant that initiated the program. In the NUCLEUS Program so far, 31% (40/129) of the students have participated in undergraduate research during their junior and senior years (7 of these in industrial research placements). UD's long-term goal is to increase the minority presence in these disciplines to 12% and to expand NUCLEUS to all departments in the College of Arts and Science.

Our most recently begun (1995) program, UD's partnership via CCM in the DoD-funded TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CONSORTIUM, involves both UD and non-UD minority students. In this program, Tuskegee is the "hub" of a research, education, and technology transfer structure that also includes UD, two other HCBUs (Prairie View A&M and North Carolina A&T State University), industry, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The administrative model for the Tuskegee Consortium is more complex due to the number of institutions involved, but the vehicle for fostering minority contributions to engineering science is still the integration of research and education. The first year of the five-year collaborative program culminated with 6 Tuskegee students and several U.S. Army researchers joining UD faculty and students in a collaborative program at CCM in the summer of 1996. We see this complex partnering as a valuable model for future program designs.

Discovery Learning Across the Curriculum
In 1980, the founders of the URP predicted to FIPSE that once UR had come to characterize the everyday experience of the majority of UD faculty and the expectations of UD undergraduates, many faculty would become more discovery-oriented in their classroom teaching. This has, indeed, turned out to be the case on a large and increasing scale.

Replacement of traditional course labs by undergraduate research
The first efforts to integrate research experiences into the course curriculum took the most straight-forward way to bring undergraduate research into the curriculum--namely, allowing research apprenticeships to substitute for traditional courses and course labs in the major curriculum. UD's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry pioneered this practice. For many years, short individual or group research projects have been part of the first-year quantitative analysis course. For about 8 years, research assistance with individual faculty members has replaced the sophomore organic chemistry lab for honors students. Candidates for the B.S. biochemistry degree, instead of taking a required laboratory course in biochemistry, are encouraged to take at least two semesters of undergraduate research, which need not be based in the department. Because biochemistry is applied in many contexts ranging from agriculture and marine sciences to engineering and medical technology, students can take advantage of the enormous range of research at UD, a process that is greatly facilitated by the URP infrastructure. Some 80-90% of biochemistry majors take this option.

When Chemical Engineering recently revised its curriculum, it allowed senior research to replace a semester of the core senior lab course. In other examples, Engineering Scholars' research done during the junior year in fulfillment of URP requirements counts as a technical elective, and an honors section of the upper-level Psychology course "Learning and Motivation" (20 students) consists of research teams contributing directly to the faculty member's ongoing research.

Research-based classroom assignments and learning modules
For the larger numbers of students than can be accommodated by faculty in undergraduate research apprenticeships, it is necessary to develop learning experiences within courses that replicate the processes of conducting research. These individual course experiments began to appear in the early 1980s, often in consultation with the URP. The Psychology Department provides interesting examples in three courses at the 300-level (sophomores and juniors):

All of UD's engineering departments have recently revised their undergraduate curricula to include more discovery-learning experiences in the core curricula. A design project has been built into the first-year course in the major; this course has already been implemented in Mechanical Engineering and will soon be extended to the other three departments. In the civil engineering senior design class, outside practitioners present a design problem to the class; students then interact in groups with these engineers to develop an engineering design to solve the problem, which requires integrating many aspects of civil engineering (structures, environmental, transportation, and soils) into one project.

DISCUS (Delaware's Innovative Science/mathematics Collaborative for Undergraduate Success), a current NSF/DUE pilot initiative, enables approximately a dozen faculty from three participating institutions (Delaware State University [DSU], Delaware Technical and Community College [DTCC], and UD) to form cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional teams whose goal is to reform one or more courses, often in a coordinated way, at their institutions. For example, UD redesigned the curriculum of three of its introductory science courses that are offered for non-majors and required of all pre-service elementary teachers; the courses were transformed into a cohesive unit, and long-term, student-designed laboratory or investigative activities were introduced into all three courses. Faculty from DSU and DTCC participated in planning and evaluating these courses, interviewed students who presented posters in a combined poster show for two of the courses (physical science and biology), and evaluated the results of the long-term laboratory investigations.

Research-based pedagogical experiments now frequently make use of new technologies, for example:

Problem-based learning: institutionalizing the research model in the classroom
Over the past four years--with the help of an NSF/DUE grant obtained by a core group of 7 faculty in biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and astronomy--UD has affirmed and built upon these many individual and departmental faculty gains by developing an institutional focus on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and related modes of creating active learning environments.

PBL itself is a radical departure from the lecture method of instruction. At its heart is the use of realistic problems or activities to lead groups of students to new concepts and skills. Because of its use of realistic problems, PBL naturally involves students in the relation of science and engineering to issues facing the broader society. In the PBL procedure, the faculty presents a problem, class time is spent in small groups organizing approaches to the problem, students work in the library and in the lab to find answers, reporting back the next class period to the small groups. The teacher is a facilitator, in larger classes aided by graduate assistants or by undergraduate tutors who are themselves engaged in undergraduate research. Class sizes range from 15 to 500, and instruction ranges from honors majors to non-honors general education students. Further information, sample course syllabi, and publication references are available on the WWW for Problem-Based Learning.

PBL is introduced to UD faculty through regularly offered, specially designed workshops, sponsored by the Center for Teaching Effectiveness (CTE), whose staff then work individually with faculty to design their own versions. PBL is now more widely practiced in science and engineering instruction at UD than at any other institution in the world, each year impacting about 1000 UD students from many different disciplines.

UD is currently increasing the number of classrooms designed for PBL instruction. Instead of bolted rows of lecture-room seats, PBL classrooms ideally have several round tables with chairs to facilitate group work. They also feature many electrical outlets to facilitate the use of new technologies in a flexible way. Two existing rooms have been remodeled, and the major new W. L. Gore classroom building under construction has PBL specifications built into its design.

UD's role as a model for other institutions seeking to integrate research-modeled instruction into their curricula is evidenced by the attendance of 125 faculty from the U.S. and six other countries at PBL's Third Conference on Problem Based Learning in Undergraduate Science, June 9-12, 1996. UD faculty are presenting their insights into and experience with PBL at conferences and publishing widely; they can be reached through the regularly maintained Web site.

Desired Outcomes and Impacts

Qualitative outcomes: for students and faculty
Students who have had the undergraduate research apprenticeship experience will demonstrate the characteristics listed in our vision statement, which we have worked out in cooperation with industrial friends to describe the ideal employee. During their undergraduate years, these students' will experience increased motivation for all learning, will choose challenging courses of study, will develop individual initiative and problem solving, will learn actively to seek resources and to work effectively as part of teams, will experience increased self-confidence, and will gain increasingly sophisticated understanding of the nature of the research process and the importance to society of the research endeavor.

For students beyond the number that can be accommodated in research apprenticeships, we have the same desired outcomes, which will be accomplished by these students' participation as active learners in problem-based-learning classes and related classroom discovery environments.

UD graduate students, under the leadership of their faculty, will learn to mentor individual undergraduates in the research situation and will gain valuable experience in small-scale project management; those who go on to become university professors will themselves be well-prepared to institute active learning environments.

After graduation, alumni of the URP--upon entering either graduate school or the workplace--will experience a strong self confidence in their own ability to identify and address complex challenges. They should find over the years that their understanding of research has helped them effectively to assume leadership responsibilities in their chosen careers and in society.

Further, dissemination of the importance of undergraduate research and discovery-learning experiences will render these educational benefits so well known that high school students, in considering where to apply to colleges, will include as an important criterion, the kind of undergraduate research and discovery-learning opportunities that a school will provides for its students.

Faculty who regularly apprentice undergraduates will see student learning as an active process, will develop effective ways to enable learning in the research environment, and--very importantly--will enhance their own research programs in doing so. They will find that their own research and teaching activities are well integrated, that their research programs are more productive and of better quality because of their involvement of undergraduate researchers. They will enjoy the process of apprenticing undergraduate researchers and will volunteer to continue in the URP steadily year after year. In the classroom, they will build directly on their own research experience to design active-learning environments. They will find that the enjoyment of helping students learn successfully in the active mode will more than compensate for the effort required to change from traditional lecture modes of teaching.

Quantitative impact
URP participation
Our long-term goal is to have up to 800 students active in undergraduate research per year, the optimum number that our participating faculty would be able to supervise. We will be able to achieve this number when we have raised additional research scholarship money to allow more students to spend the necessary time, over summers and winter sessions, to make them productive enough genuinely to enhance the research programs of their sponsoring faculty over the long-term. Summer undergraduate research scholarships are a designated priority in the UD's anticipated capital campaign.

At least 50% of UD science and engineering graduates who served UR apprenticeships should continue on to graduate study, to earn the Ph.D. and pursuing research careers in either academia or industry.

PBL participation
Our long-term goal is to have enough PBL and related active-learning courses regularly offered at every level in all science and engineering fields so that each UD undergraduate in science and engineering can experience PBL or equally active learning in at least two courses and every non-science student can experience at least one general science PBL course. We plan to increase four-fold the number of PBL courses within the next three years.

In support of this expansion effort, an Instructional Innovation Institute, under the auspices of CTE, for training faculty in the use of PBL is proposed. Full information about this NSF proposal now pending can be found on the World Wide Web.

Evidence of Achievements

Undergraduate research student narrative evaluations submitted to the URP indicate overwhelmingly that, in the perceptions of its participants, the undergraduate research experience produces the outcomes desired in skills, understanding, and personal characteristics. Students often mention that one of the main reasons they chose to attend UD was its reputation as a school with a well established Undergraduate Research Program and that their research experience far exceeded their expectations. Undergraduate research alumni frequently return to visit their faculty supervisors and URP staff--especially in their first year of graduate school--and report that their entry into graduate level research was a smooth one, a natural continuation of their undergraduate experience, in marked contrast to the experience of many of their beginning graduate student peers. Of 432 Science and Engineering Scholars who had graduated as of June 1995, 274 or 63% had continued directly on to graduate study.

An additional very important benefit of the URP has been its effect on the educational development of our science and engineering graduate students. It is critical that graduate students develop effective teamwork and communication skills, both in technical and non-technical arenas. The opportunity to work and interact with undergraduate research assistants, who often have very different educational and professional backgrounds, has provided UD graduate as well as undergraduate students the opportunity to develop and improve these skills, thus better preparing them for future careers in industry, government, or academia.

Undergraduate research alumni who are now in industry, including those who have gone into management--whether working for large established companies, smaller new companies, or establishing their own ventures--have taken leadership in strengthening collaborative ways of approaching problems in the scientific workplace. By now, some undergraduate research students have gone on to become research faculty at major institutions and have begun efforts to establish undergraduate research programs in their departments and colleges. In doing so, they have discovered the challenges involved in communicating the benefits of involving undergraduates in faculty research to faculty who have not had the undergraduate research experiences they had at UD. For the sake of these alums and other interested faculty researchers, the URP would like to produce practical documents demonstrating not only the value of undergraduate research to students but also how faculty can effectively integrate undergraduates into their research programs.

The large number of faculty who have participated in the program consistently over the past sixteen years, over 90% in engineering and science departments (see section 2. above), testifies to faculty satisfaction with the URP. In their evaluation reports, faculty frequently comment in detail on how the accomplishments of their undergraduate research students have served to advance the research projects in which they have been involved. Faculty report that although integrating undergraduate research students into their research program takes significant time for them and their graduate students, both they and their graduate students are rewarded, first, by the sheer pleasure and added energy that their bright, enthusiastic, naive-but-eager undergraduates bring to the research group and, second, by the increased productivity that the undergraduate researchers' long-term involvement adds to the project. New faculty comment that their undergraduate research apprentices were invaluable in helping them to get their research programs underway. Experienced faculty report that beginning undergraduate researchers can do needed tasks that, while found tedious by graduate students, provide undergraduate beginners with a great deal of learning and reward them with concrete evidence that their accomplishments have been necessary for the success of a project. Professional presentations and publications with advanced undergraduates as co-authors, sometimes as primary authors, is a badge of honor at UD and receives official recognition from the University Provost.

Although there are not yet large numbers of alumni who have participated in classes built around problem based learning and related active learning formats, students involved in the study currently underway on the present cohort of PBL courses reveal the discovery skills students acquire in PBL classes to be very similar to those acquired by undergraduate research students. They comment on the discovery skills they acquire: "We learned to isolate what we did not understand, research it to comprehension, and present new information to the rest of the group. This method has been applicable to situations outside the classroom. When presented with a problem, I now consider what I do not really understand, and then attack the problem from there." They attain a profound appreciation for the collaborative nature of learning: "I developed a feeling of independence coupled with camaraderie among members of my group. I developed an ability to present my ideas clearly to my peers and superiors. It was a real challenge researching learning issues, but knowing that my group was there to support me relaxed me enough to allow me to perform my best."

Faculty find PBL to be a source of renewal: "My teaching evaluations continue to improve and I'm having much more fun with this course because I can see the students working through the problems and developing group process, research, and communication skills. Most are more interested and active learners than students in the lecture method, and the classroom is a lively place to be."

Plan for Use of Award Funds

The award funds will be administered by the Undergraduate Research Office, which has spearheaded UD's research/education efforts over the past two decades. A Faculty Advisory Board has already been established to assist the URP Coordinator in the documentation and dissemination of UD's vision and accomplishments in integrating research and education. The Advisory Board is composed of faculty across the science and engineering departments, each of whom is actively involved in research that apprentices undergraduates--earning such rewards as Outstanding Young Investigator and UD's Alison Award--while at the same time being at the forefront of UD's educational development efforts through instructional teaching and technological innovations, curriculum revisions, publishing in leading educational journals, and organizing international conferences. In addition to the URP Coordinator, the Directors of RISE and CTE also serve on the Board, as will selected undergraduate and graduate students. The Advisory Board will thus provide the broadest possible perspective on our efforts to integrate research and education at the UD, establishing a framework that will allow us effectively to distill and disseminate the most important aspects of these programs both to the academic community and to the general public. The following representatives comprise the current Board:

Deborah Allen, Department of Biology
Joan Bennett, Undergraduate Research Program
Barbara Duch, Center for Teaching Effectiveness
Roy McCullough, Center for Composite Materials
Harry Shipman, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Michael Vaughan, RISE Program
George Watson, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Harold White, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Andrew Zydney, Department of Chemical Engineering

The funding will be distributed among the expansion, documentation, and dissemination efforts in the percentages indicated below.

a) Expansion (20%). UD would use RAIRE finds primarily for documentation and dissemination of information about existing programs; however, the additional staff time provided to the URP would continue to be supported by the University at the end of the grant. One the grant period is over, this additional staff time would be used to expand our network of relationships with undergraduate research alumni, to continue the long-range study described below, and to maintain the URP Web site. As in the past, the URP will serve as a conduit for innovative approaches to integrating research and education. It is expected that the RAIRE project will catalyze additional efforts in ongoing research projects to transition research findings and technological developments into innovative educational tools.

b) Documentation (40%). We propose a full-scale scholarly evaluation of the URP, studying the effects of undergraduate research participation on students and on faculty who apprentice undergraduates. This evaluation will be conducted by a research and measurement specialist under the direction of Dr. Karen Bauer of UD's Office of Institutional Research and Dr. Judith Greene, Director of CTE.

To study the effect of undergraduate research experience on students' cognitive and attitudinal development and personal achievement, we will follow a representative cohort of 25-30 undergraduate research students from the spring of the sophomore year to graduation. These students will be given pre and post tests to measure critical thinking skills, and attitudes toward science and technology. Their course selections will be tracked and analyzed to see whether they are choosing the most challenging courses available; grade point average and other indicators of achievement will be monitored; graduate school acceptance and employment immediately after graduation will be recorded. At this cohort's senior year, a comparator group of seniors--students in the same majors with the same range of SAT Board scores indicating similar ability--will be given the same battery of tests for comparison with the results of the research students' outcomes.

Self-report questionnaires will also be administered to a larger cohort of undergraduate researchers assessing students' perceptions of their educational and personal growth. In addition, a content analysis of existing student evaluations from past years will be used. Questionnaires will also be given to at least 500 undergraduate research alumni, with follow-up interviews, to assess their perceptions of the effects of their undergraduate research experience on their careers and personal lives at 2, 5 and 10 years after graduation.

A representative sample of graduate students who are involved in the supervision and mentoring of undergraduate researchers will be surveyed and interviewed to assess their perceptions of the effects that mentoring undergraduates has on the development of their own skills, particularly in fostering teamwork and in communication.

A representative sample of faculty will be surveyed to determine not only their levels of satisfaction with the URP but also the changes they made in their research programs in order to accommodate undergraduate researchers.

The documentation effort currently underway for PBL will be brought into relationship with the URP study to analyze the connections between the URP and PBL as agents of innovation within the culture of UD.

c) Dissemination (40%). The results of the documentation study will be presented at appropriate professional conferences, and published in professional journals and on the World Wide Web.

In addition, the grant would facilitate a planned URP "Web Project," whereby all UD faculty members will (1) have a personal home page created on the World Wide Web, linked both to their academic departments and to their listings in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Book, and will (2) have available from this home page a link called "Undergraduate Research," which will lead to the names and years of previous and current undergraduate researchers, the names of their projects, and remarks by some of the students and alumni about their undergraduate research experiences. These will be accompanied by visually interesting photographs of student/faculty teams at work. A partial model can be seen on the home page of Professor Michael Chajes, Civil Engineering, whose URL is . We will also visually upgrade the URP home page itself and will enter, in a more visual form, the several program handbooks. These expansions of the UD's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Book, made possible by the limitless space available on the Web, will provide one of the most exciting and accessible ways for both the academic community and the general public to see what undergraduate research is about.

An excellent event for academics, industry personnel, and the general public to attend is the Undergraduate Research Symposium. We will devote a portion of the grant money to making the UR Symposium accessible to a greater number of attenders, and will publish abstracts of the students' presentations in an attractive and easily distributed format and on the Web. We can also offer workshops in conjunction with the Symposium for faculty and administrators visiting from other institutions interested in beginning or strengthening their own undergraduate research programs.

PBL is now producing a video, funded by FIPSE, to be used to teach faculty about using peer tutors in PBL classrooms. On the occasion of receiving an NSF/RAIRE grant, we would approach local industry with a request for funds to develop another video demonstrating PBL procedures but directed particularly toward pre-service teachers, who are also primary beneficiaries of the DISCUS program. This second video would also be usable for general audiences seeking an understanding of PBL.

d) UD contribution. Funds from the RAIRE award would enable URP's staff assistant to move, as of July 1, 1997, to full-time status and the administrative coordinator to move to three-quarters time status. At the grant's end, July 1, 2000, these increases in time would be permanently funded by UD.

Alumni undergraduate research Summer Scholar Award Challenge Grant. UD would use the occasion of the RAIRE award to endow, from its own resources, at least one Undergraduate Research Summer Scholar award, leveraging NSF's recognition and creating a tangible and long-lasting legacy of the RAIRE program.

Back to Research-Based Education

Back to the University of Delaware

Copyright © University of Delaware, February 1997.
Last Updated: September 22, 1997.