CASE STUDY #1
Assessment of Undergraduate Research Grinnell College, Harvey Mudd College, Hope College, Wellesley College

The results from this in-depth study will, hopefully, improve understanding of the impact that undergraduate research has on student learning and on development of faculty into teacher-scholars. Four liberal arts colleges have come together to assess their own undergraduate research programs in order to provide a database that will be useful not only for the further development of their own programs, but also to fuel an understanding of undergraduate research at other institutions. Grinnell College (IA), Harvey Mudd College (CA), Hope College (MI), and Wellesley College (MA) are all recognized by the NSF as leaders in undergraduate research. These institutions are among only 10 liberal arts institutions that received a 1999 NSF Award for the Integration of Research and Education. The assessment is being conducted using a grant provided by the NSF-ROLE (Research on Learning and Education) program. The study is both quantitative (through an in-depth questionnaire filled out by each student researcher) and qualitative (each student researcher at each institution will have undergone at least two or three confidential interviews during the assessment period). Student researchers are providing input on research activities from both the summer and the academic year, and on the impact of their research experiences on their individual career paths following graduation. Faculty members from these institutions are also participating. It is anticipated that the information gleaned from the faculty will provide a unique perspective on faculty career development as teacher-scholars and the effect that research collaborations with undergraduates have on that development.

The study is currently in Year 2 of a three-year effort, and the data for the initial two years of the assessment period are currently being analyzed in detail. The outcomes from this study will be disseminated in 2003. It is of importance not only because of the issues that it seeks to address in understanding the impact of undergraduate research, but also because it focuses directly upon the important issue of assessment of educational endeavors.

For more information: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/servlet/showaward?award=0087611



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