STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Summary of Early Undergraduate Research and Internship Special Interest Group March 15, 2012 NSF-STEP Meetings



1. For using undergraduate research and internships in sustaining excellence in STEM undergraduate education, what are the major questions and issues that may be discussed in this SIG?

a. What are the Differences between 2, small 4 and large 4 year institutions – How is the  research different ? What is the role of research at the different types of institutions ? 

b. What are the different models of undergraduate research ?

- one unique use of undergraduate research was to allow students to substitute it for a final calculus exam

- a 3 week then 8 week research model, 3 weeks at one institution and then 8 weeks at another university

- one challenge that was noted was the stigma of applying for REU’s from a university that is perceived as not being "prestigious"

- consider doing internship and research in class/lab rather than just during the summer

c. What are the reward structures for undergraduate research ? 

 - do faculty and students receive stipends for their work

- difficult to sustain undergraduate research if there is not a clear reward structure,  especially if it is not valued for tenure and promotion 

-  funding incentives for supplies and coops

d. What is the critical mass necessary to sustain a vibrant undergraduate research program ? 

e. How do you provide a sense of community to sustain undergraduate research ?  

f. How do you ensure consistency and quality control different internship experiences ? 

2. What mechanisms may be utilized to address these questions and issues and other issues ?

- It is important to get the word out out early undergraduate research, SEP central might be important to let people know where you can publish results

- Regional groups could meet to discuss STEM issues

- Use conferences like ACS to have STEP meetings

- Listserve for STEP

- Provide information about upcoming deadlines for upcoming conferences

- One size doesn’t fit all for STEM issues. STEPcentral should  have some way to easily find    comparable institutions, maybe tabs for 2 year, 4year, etc. 

- Should STEPcentral be open to all institutions interested in STEM or just STEP recipients ?

- Common area for STEM data/evaluation

- Links to PKAL, CUR, NICATA

- Facebook page, Twitter

- Put student profiles on STEPcentral – have website open to students

- Searchable database