Recently I attended the Wisconsin Council on Undergraduate Research Economic Development Summit and I learned some rather interesting (and concerning!) information that I thought I should share here. There was a panel discussion on skills that are required by local employers with individuals on the panel from the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Board, the Small Business Development Center from UW-La Crosse, a President from a local Staffing company and a HR Director from a local (but far reaching) company. Continue reading
Written by Dr. Jennifer Lanter
Earlier this year I learned that I had been elected to serve as a Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). The tagline for this organization is “Learning Through Research,” a statement that is very much in line with the way I view my experiences with students as they serve as undergraduate research assistants in my Language Learning Lab.
For example, the undergraduate students in my lab have typically taken an Infancy and Early Childhood class where they have read about numerous clearly-described studies showing significant results related to child development. Often, when reading about it in a textbook or even reading the primary source article, the whole process can look “easy” and problem-free. However, once they are actively involved in executing studies with two- to six-year old children they learn that the studies do not always go as planned and that being prepared for a three-year-old to launch a toy across the lab or to not want to answer your question becomes essential. In short, the process that may have seemed “easy” now looks “messy” and their realization of what research with children can be like becomes much more realistic.
In addition, now students aren’t just reading about inter-rater reliability but are, themselves, seeing how their coding of a testing session lines up with how another research assistant codes a session. They are not just summarizing the methodology of a student but are, instead, attending to such precision in a student’s design so that they execute the method exactly the same way as two or three other research assistants. They are now no longer learning through reading about research studies but are instead “learning through research.”
I think I get especially excited about my undergraduate researchers around this time of year because this is typically the point in the semester where they have the opportunity to present their work to the local and state-wide community. My research assistants and I have been very busy lately preparing for the local Academic Excellence Symposium, the Posters in the Rotunda event in Madison, and the UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity.
These three events take place in mid- to late-April and will allow my students the opportunity to showcase their experiences with undergraduate research and their understanding of the related literature, methodology used, results, and implications of our study on the impact the meaning of the plural form has on children’s ability to produce the plural form. My research assistants have learned through this research assistant experience that our findings could ultimately help a child who has difficulty with the plural forms of words as we seek to find the ideal conditions to foster plural production.
As you can likely tell, I am passionate about these undergraduate research experiences. After all, had it not been for the undergraduate research experience I had at the University of Illinois in the Language Acquisition Lab I doubt I would be directing my own Language Learning Lab today and “learning through research.”
Wriiten by Aaron Weinschenk, Assistant Professor
One of the things that I enjoy most about my job is the chance to work with students who are engaged, exited, and eager to learn. It probably does not come as a surprise that I especially enjoy working with students on independent study research projects. As you might guess, students who want to do an independent research project are usually pretty engaged, exited, and eager to learn more. I think that such experiences are impactful for students (an independent study that I did as an undergraduate student propelled me to graduate school!) but they are also impactful for me because I usually learn a lot along the way as students explore their research question (bonus!).
Recently, in a blog post “Undergraduate Research Grants” I mentioned that Dan McCollum and I were awarded an Undergraduate Research and Discovery Grant that was offered through the UW System. The grant proposal consisted of four key ideas that will positively impact both faculty and students Continue reading
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Workshop on integrating undergraduate research into faculty workload and tenure and promotion guidelines. You may wonder, why would the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning be interested in this topic? Continue reading
WiSCUR: The Wisconsin Council on Undergraduate Research
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would be attending a Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Summit in Washington, D. C. to learn with individuals from several other State Systems and Consortia about how best to institutionalize undergraduate research. I, along with the representatives of the other UW System schools, was delighted to meet with individuals from campuses across the following Systems/Consortia: the California State University System, the City University of New York, the Council on Pubic Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), as well as from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. As you can see, there were a variety of types of schools (large, small, public, private, etc.) that joined in the discussion about how to strategically foster undergraduate research on our campuses. Continue reading
The Importance of URSCA on Campus
While the term “URSCA” might not be a familiar term, many faculty know the importance of undergraduate research in their teaching and learning (and often scholarship!) endeavors. The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) recognizes this as well. CUR is a national organization based in Washington D.C., that has a mission to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. Continue reading
I was sitting down with my undergraduate research assistants today to discuss current data we needed to analyze and it became amazing that there were some very interesting trend emerging. We didn’t get the entire analysis complete, but we got a nice start to it. Luckily I didn’t have to sigh after they left and wonder when I will next get to working on that project…I already know: Thursday at 9am at our Encouraging Writing Group. Continue reading
When I first became involved in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as a UWGB Teaching Scholar in 2004, and then again as a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow in 2006, I had certain doubts. At an early Wisconsin Teaching Fellows & Scholars meeting, I jotted down a list of several questions I had about SoTL Continue reading