Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
Chapter 32: Developing student scholars: best practices in promoting undergraduate research
Many factors contribute to a rich and successful academic experience for undergraduates. When carefully integrated into a sound academic foundation and program, meaningful undergraduate research experiences are a vital and valuable element that fosters creativity, intellectual curiosity and a sense of discovery (see e.g., Boyd and Wesemann 2009; Hodge, Pasquesi and Hirsch 2007; Hu et al. 2008; Hunter et al. 2008; Malachowski 2002). Undergraduate research, according to the Council on Undergraduate Research (2011), is ‘[a]n inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the Discipline’. Through such research experiences, undergraduates learn in ways that both complement and supplement traditional learning in classrooms and course-work. The immersive experience, substantive specialization and application of classroom knowledge deepen learning and independent thinking (e.g., Healey 2005; Lopatto 2003). Effective research experiences extend disciplinary understanding and help to shape career goals, while building student confidence (and credentials) for future endeavors. The mentoring relationships that characterize the best undergraduate research experiences are proven to benefit both student and faculty success and satisfaction (e.g., Malachowski 1996; Osborne and Karukstis 2009).
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