LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research
Sumana Datta, Texas A&M University
LAUNCH is an acronym that stands for Learning Communities (L), Academic Excellence (A), Undergraduate Research (U), National Fellowships (N), Capstones (C), and Honors (H). LAUNCH is a unit of Undergraduate Studies housed in Academic Affairs under the Provost at Texas A&M University. LAUNCH: Undergraduate Research (UGR) promotes, coordinates, creates, and assesses undergraduate programs involving creative scholarship, inquiry, and research in all academic disciplines at Texas A&M. The programs serve as an introduction for first-generation, low-income, and/or under-represented students to research through first-year research teams, summer research programs, research presentations, and research and graduate program informationals.
To increase research participation of low-income, first-generation and under-represented minority students. This includes the acquisition of research confidence, interest, and ability by these students. Ultimately this program hopes to increase interest in graduate study by first generation, low-income, and/or under-represented students.
- Undergraduate Research Expo
- Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session
- Getting Started in Research Workshops
- Undergraduate Research Ambassadors
- Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers: A Workshop for Graduate Students
- LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Symposium
- Administrative support, significant budgetary support and commitment
- Campus culture that values first-generation, under-represented, and low-income student success and investment in undergraduate research
Evidence of Success
Success metrics include:
- Summer Research: Individual departments assess their own programs. We assess how many students from departments that do not hold events of their own, present their summer research at our poster sessions.
- Undergraduate Research Scholars: thesis and program completion, survey
- Number of LAUNCH LC students registering for undergraduate research is increasing as we require them to attend UGR events to learn about research.
Between 90-95% of students who enter LAUNCH: UGR complete the program.
Program Costs and ROI
- Average yearly costs to maintain this initiative: $190,000 per year
- Average number of individuals served per year by this initiative: 751-1000
- Average annual rate of success for individuals meeting this initiative's goals: 90-100%