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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Strengthening Research Experiences for Undergraduate STEM Students
Project Scope

A committee of 14 experts from a wide range of fields will examine what is known about undergraduate STEM students’ participation in research experiences. The committee will gather information on the range of experiences currently available, for example enrolling in a class searching for new antibiotics or working in a faculty member’s laboratory fabricating devices from carbon nanotubes. The committee will collect information on models for providing undergraduate students with authentic research experiences in major scientific disciplines, or equivalent practical experience in other STEM professions such as technology or engineering. The committee will

  • assess the quality of research on various types of these experiences
  • compare the effectiveness of different mechanisms and programs for providing undergraduate
    research experiences
  • look at the benefits to students and institutions, and
  • evaluate the associated costs.

The committee will author a report that makes recommendations on both practice and research. It will include a research and development agenda that clarifies what additional resources are needed to robustly assess the quality and outcomes of undergraduate research experiences. The committee’s recommendations will balance the potential value added of making research or practice experiences more “authentic” with the potential additional investment of time, institutional capacity and financial support needed, and suggest strategies for implementing undergraduate research experiences for various goals and outcomes, and for a variety of institutions with different types and levels of resources at their disposal.

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Committee Members

James Gentile (Chair), Hope College
Ann Beheler, Collin County Community College
Janet Branchaw, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Deborah Faye Carter, Claremont Graduate University
Melanie Cooper, Michigan State University
Edward Coyle, Georgia Institute of Technology
Sarah C. R. Elgin, Washington University, St. Louis
Mica Estrada, University of California, San Francisco
Eli Fromm, Drexel University
Ralph Garruto, Binghamton University, State University of New York
Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin, Madison
James Hewlett, Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI)
Laird Kramer, Florida International University
Marcia C. Linn, University of California, Berkeley
Linda Reinen, Pomona College
Heather Thiry, University of Colorado, Boulder


March 3-4, 2016: Irvine, CA - This meeting was closed in its entirety.

January 14-15, 2016: Washington, DC - This meeting was closed in its entirety.

November 19-20, 2015: Washington, DC  ► Agenda
VIGRE and Emerging Scholars at Rice
    Michael Wolf, Rice University
Preparation for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences
    Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University
Faculty Practices and Faculty Outcomes of Undergraduate Research
    Sandra Laursen, University of Colorado-Boulder
Undergraduate Research Experiences: Practitioners' Perspectives
    Ariel Anbar, Arizona State University
    Tracy Johnson, University of California-Los Angeles
Undergraduate Research Experiences in Engineering: The Student Perspective
    Lisa Benson, Clemson University
Perspectives on Teaching Hands-On Courses
    Ann Saterbak, Rice University

September 16-17, 2015: Washington, DC  ► Agenda
Gathering Longitudinal Data on Participants in the Campus-wide Students as Scholars Initiative
   Bethany Usher, Students as Scholars Initiative, and 
   Stephanie Hazel, George Mason University
Institutionalizing Undergraduate Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions
   Mitch Malachowski, University of San Diego  
Using Quantitiative Analysis of Effects of Intervention to Broaden Participation
   Paul Hernandez, West Virginia University

June 4-5, 2015:  First committee meeting  Agenda


Kerry Brenner, Study Director
Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication
Amy Stephens, Program Officer
Miriam Scheiber, Program Assistant

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