UNCG’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creativity Office (URSCO) in the University Teaching and Learning Commons (UTLC) is dedicated to supporting undergraduate students and faculty who are engaged in research together. Through URSCO’s programs and services, many students engage in faculty-mentored research/creative inquiry experiences. Some do so individually, while others are part of teams working on different aspects of a larger project. These projects often become the center point of their academic preparation and serve as a catalyst for opportunities beyond the halls of UNCG. Some students report confidence when being asked about a research presentation they have listed on their resume while interviewing for a position. Others have been able to point to particular transferable skills they have developed through their experiences, saying that they were able to demonstrate the ability to learn procedures necessary for answering tough questions.
Likewise, faculty members learn models and strategies for mentoring undergraduates and for integrating research skills into coursework and scaffolding them throughout the curriculum. Mentoring undergraduate research cannot always be an assumed skill. This is why URSCO offers research mentor training periodically throughout the academic year. If you are interested in serving as a faculty mentor for an undergraduate research/creative inquiry project or are currently in that role, research mentor training can help you develop sensitivity to such issues as proper size and scope for a project, time management, how much (and when) to assign particular tasks to your students, and how to foster a ‘researcher identity’ in your students. This last skill can be scaled out to students in all your courses. The scaffolding of research skills is a way of intentionally building content-knowledge through incremental exercises that require process over answer.
To achieve our goals, URSCO offers several programs and services, some for students, others for faculty, and still others for both students and faculty. They include:
Mentor Training – The URSCO offers workshops for faculty and graduate students designed to establish and promote best-practices for mentoring undergraduates in research and creative inquiry.
Research in the Curriculum – The URSCO will work with individuals and departments/programs to help fold research and research skills development into individual courses, as well as throughout the curriculum. Appointments can be arranged at any time (Please contact Lee Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Undergraduate Research and Creativity Awards (URCA) – URCAs are designed to help faculty engage students in meaningful mentored research/creative inquiry experiences. The URSCO provided funding through the URCAs that can be used to help defray the cost of materials and/or travel associated with the project. Support can also be used to provide student stipends. Deadline: February 14 for general URCA proposals supporting projects in Summer 2016. Beyond the general URCAs, the URSCO offers specific support for:
- Community Based research projects include reciprocal partnerships with community members/organizations. The projects should serve a public purpose, build the capacity of all project partners, and address issues of public concern. Deadline: April 10 for Community Based URCA proposals supporting projects in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.
- Globally Engaged research/creative inquiry should increase global awareness and understanding through scholarly investigations. These projects can address global needs near and far.
Deadline: February 14 for Globally Engaged URCA proposals supporting projects in Summer 2016.
Deadline: April 10 for Globally Engaged URCA proposals supporting projects in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.
Student Travel funds are available for undergraduates presenting the results of their inquiry. Students are encouraged to apply for funds in support of travel to conferences, exhibits, or performance venues where they will disseminate their findings. Proposals are reviewed monthly.
The Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo is an annual campus-wide celebration of undergraduate research, scholarship and creativity. Held each spring in the Elliott University Center, hundreds of students and their faculty mentors come together to showcase the results of their scholarly inquiry. Student presentations include posters, art exhibits, oral presentations and performances. All UNCG undergraduates engaged in faculty-mentored scholarly inquiry are encouraged to participate in the Expo. We also take this time to honor the recipient of the Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year. Deadline: February 16 for abstract submissions.
Other upcoming URSCO events:
February 11 (4-5 p.m., 140 McIver): How to Create an Effective Poster Presentation (for Students)
March 28 (3-4 p.m., Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House): The Reciprocity of Theory and Practice: A Model for Public Scholarship, Lori Grobman – special guest speaker jointly sponsored by the Department of English and the UTLC.
March 28 (3-4 p.m., Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House): Designing Effective Assignments: Where Teaching and Scholarship Come Together, Pat Hutchins – special guest speaker jointly sponsored by the Department of English and the UTLC.
March 29 (noon, EUC Auditorium) The Gesture of Thinking: What the Sciences and Humanities can Learn from the Performing Arts, Jennifer Blackmer – keynote speaker for the 2016 Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo
To learn more about opportunities for faculty and students in the URSCO, visit: www.utlc.uncg.edu