Undergraduate Research in the First Two Years

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Bruininks 131A
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft, Whatcom Community College
John McDaris, Carleton College

Undergraduate research experiences can be deeply impactful for student learning of content and skills as well as for identity development. Early exposure to authentic research has been shown to improve recruitment, persistence, motivation, and overall student success. Unfortunately, these experiences are often only available after students have declared their major and are in the later years of their program. By offering undergraduate geoscience research to students in their first two years, we provide opportunities for students to learn more about the discipline, the process of science, and themselves in a powerful way. During this mini-workshop, participants will explore different models of undergraduate research and then develop ideas for how they might integrate research experiences into their own programs in the first two years.

Workshop Goals

Workshop participants will:

  1. Identify the model of undergraduate research that best supports student learning in their context,
  2. Develop goals and a preliminary plan for a CURE or other undergraduate research implementation that is appropriate for them,
  3. Give feedback on other participants' preliminary plans and receive it for their own.


Workshop Slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 6.1MB Jul15 22) | Workshop Handouts (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 291kB Jul14 22)

1:30 Welcome and introductions

1:45 Interactive Activity: Why would/do you do research with your students?

1:50 Benefits and Models of Undergraduate Research

  • Course-based Undergraduate Research (CURE)
  • Independent Research
  • 2YC-4YCU Collaborations
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

2:10 Work Time

  • For your goals, which model(s) of undergraduate research seems most compelling?
  • What assets are available to help you implement?
  • What barriers need to be overcome?

2:25 Think-Pair-Share Activity

  • 5 minutes each to share your high-level thinking and get feedback

2:35 Break

2:45 Group Work around similar models

  • Flesh out your ideas and give each other feedback

3:30 Report Outs

  • One big take-away or an idea you're going to move forward with

3:50 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation

4:00 Adjourn


CUREnet - CUREnet is a community of practice organized around the implementation of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs).  There is guidance for implementing a CURE as well as a collection of research projects that others have designed.

Starting Point: Undergraduate Research This website presents the What, Why, and How of teaching with undergraduate research experiences and includes a collection of examples that can be implemented at the introductory level.

SAGE 2YC: Engage 2YC Students in Research - This module showcases different ways of engaging students at two-year colleges in research experiences.

On the Cutting Edge: Undergraduate Research as Teaching Practice - This module from On the Cutting Edge showcases examples of integrating undergraduate research across the whole curriculum.

Webinar: What does "research" look like at the Introduction level, such as at 2YC's?