Implementation Project: Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE) Program
Implementation Projects in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program provide support to design, implement, study and assess comprehensive institutional efforts to increase the number of students and the quality of their preparation by strengthening STEM education and research. This implementation project at Spelman College seeks to increase the number of African American women who pursue STEM-related advanced degrees and fields, particularly in PhD programs, while at the same time addressing the quality of the educational experience. Preliminary data from other work at Spelman College reveal an increase in the number of students identifying interest in earning advanced STEM degrees following course-based research experiences and summer research experiences. The project is guided and informed by an on-going evaluation.
New insights on integrating teaching and research in undergraduate STEM education could work to foster success for student retention and faculty productivity, especially at small liberal arts and minority-serving institutions. This project is designed to provide relatively novel undergraduate development activities that will enhance the undergraduate student research experience by expanding the ways Spelman College STEM undergraduate students gain research experiences through directed-supplemental instruction, investigative laboratories, course-based and summer research experiences. One key factor in implementing this program is a small cohort of postdoctoral fellows gaining both extensive research experiences and teaching experiences in pedagogy, course design and student mentoring. This project will use undergraduate research experiences as a means to address the transition from undergraduate to graduate STEM programs, ultimately leading to advanced degrees. It is proposed that through curricular research opportunities, faculty at minority serving institutions or small liberal arts colleges seeking to achieve excellence in teaching and research could improve the efficiency of their effort by conducting a single activity with multiple beneficial outcomes.