Make it flexible for departments and institutions
This page was developed by Rebecca Roberts (Ursinus College) and Nathan Reyna (Ouachita Baptist University).
The institutional context and culture influences how CUREs can be implemented most effectively and sustained over time. Institutions vary in a number of ways and it is important to consider differences among institutions when thinking about sustaining multi-institutional CUREs. The design of CUREs should be flexible enough to leverage different opportunities and work around the different constraints of different departments, institutions, and cultures.
Recognize institutional differences
CUREs should avoid trying a one-size-fits-all approach. Different schools, departments, and faculty will have unique affordances and constraints to implementing CUREs. There may be institutional barriers such as accreditation concerns, faculty review mechanisms, minimal incentives for evidence-based instruction, limited research infrastructure, and students who vary in their preparation. All of these call for flexibility in CURE design to support adoption at multiple institutions. One important consideration is that CUREs should be able to support different institutional accreditation and course requirement needs. Additionally, the CURE needs to able to support the professional advancement of stakeholders, who will have different needs in different institutional contexts. For example, different institutions have different requirements for faculty promotion as well as different levels of instructors, such as having graduate teaching assistants. For faculty, it is important that the teaching the CURE aligns with their job responsibilities and guidelines for their continuing appointment, promotion, and/or tenure. This means that at some institutions is will be important to emphasize the pedagogical value of the CURE while at others it will be important to emphasize the science research value.
Recognize faculty differences
Faculty have different skill sets, require different supports, and have different motivating factors for incorporating a CURE curriculum. Flexibility in CURE design and implementation can facilitate adoption by a diverse group of faculty. Recognize that faculty have different needs and expectations, and often face time restrictions. Being flexible in working with faculty can help increase the level of faculty participation in a CURE. They need flexibility to choose the level of investment that works for them.
Recognize that faculty have different skill sets, which means that they need different types and amounts of support. Faculty differences are an advantage because they can contribute to and expand the CURE in unique ways.
Recognize classroom implementation differences
Flexibility in CURE design can enable students to do research in different lab classroom environments with various time allotments and equipment. For example, not all lab courses have a weekly three-hour lab period with identical facilities and equipment. Some CUREs have overcome these challenges with a modular design to maximize flexibility of implementation.
In addition to these practical constraints, CUREs may also introduce flexibility in terms of the learning goals that are addressed. This may help faculty work within their institutional constraints, such as the need to address certain topics for credit transfer purposes or accreditation. Some CUREs have been designed in a way that allows the specific learning objectives to vary while maintaining the fidelity of a CURE.
Balance flexibility with fidelity of implementation
It is important to be intentional about what aspects of the CURE are flexible. If there are too few guidelines, there is a risk that the elements that make the CURE effective could be lost. In thinking about this, CURE initiatives may want to keep in mind the [link Key Features on this site /curenet/whatis.html 'Key Elements'] that define a CURE.