Integrating Undergraduate Research Into Your Curriculum

Two of Chemistry Professor Vasudha Sharma’s students won first place in the Spring Undergraduate Research (UR) Showcase — an event that gives students an opportunity to present research projects — with the topic, Efficiency and Sustainability Using Catalytic Amounts of Molecular Iodine in a One-pot Synthesis: A Prospective Solution in Contemporary Organic Chemistry.

With the help of UR faculty development courses, Vasudha designed a UR experience for her students that incorporates write-to-learn, active reading and experiential research strategies. As part of this experience, students may present their work in the showcase. Not only do students obtain skills in research, Vasudha shared that in the process of preparing for the showcase, students also developed collaboration and time-management skills, along with team spirit.

As a faculty member, you — like Vasudha — can incorporate research into your courses. Valencia offers faculty development courses to prepare you to incorporate undergraduate research into your teaching practice, with the UR Showcase at the end of each term. Just last year, the showcase — which is open to all Valencia students, including those who are working one-on-one with faculty or a group working together on a class project — had 31 students from a variety of disciplines participate in this unique experience to present their research to an outside audience and a panel of judges, who select the best research presentations.

We have two general models for UR at Valencia, determined by our Undergraduate Research Advisory Board:

  • An embedded model, designed to incorporate a research project into an already existing course.
  • A mentor model, for students who want to pursue an independent study project by working individually with a faculty member.

Research Coordinator for the Undergraduate Research Program and Professor of Psychology Melonie Sexton shares that one of the biggest barriers for faculty incorporating research opportunities into their courses has been finding ways to include research that’s beneficial to the entire class. She recommends that the project be manageable for both the faculty and students.

Additionally, Melonie finds some people question their ability to include research projects within the course subject matter. However, she believes that systematic research can take many forms and, with proper guidance, all disciplines can design a successful research plan. That’s where the faculty development courses can help.

If you’re interested in incorporating UR into your teaching, explore the following faculty development courses. For course descriptions and to register, click each of the links.

After completing LCTS6417, you may submit paperwork to have your course designated as a research-embedded class. With this designation, there will be a special note in Banner (RSCH) labeling these classes as a part of our Undergraduate Research Program. Additionally, when students enroll in classes, they will see a note in Atlas explaining that the course has a research requirement.

The Undergraduate Research Showcase for the fall term will take place Friday, December 7, 2018, from 1 – 4 p.m, in the Special Events Center (Building 8) on West Campus. To submit abstracts for the showcase, please complete the application by Monday, November 12, 2018.

If you are interested in learning more about the College’s research opportunities, please contact Melonie at UR@valenciacollege.edu or visit the program’s webpage.

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