Florida State University’s efforts to expand student engagement in undergraduate research have received national recognition from the Council on Undergraduate Research.
The Washington D.C.-based council selected Florida State as one of six research-university finalists for the inaugural Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments (AURA).
“The members of the AURA selection committee wanted me to express to you how deeply impressed they were with Florida State University’s many achievements in undergraduate research excellence,” wrote Elizabeth L. Ambos, executive officer at the Council on Undergraduate Research.
About 25 percent of FSU undergraduate students currently conduct out-of-class research, with many more participating within the classroom. In the next four years, overall engagement will reach 100 percent with the implementation of current curricular initiatives.
“Over the last decade, FSU has made a serious commitment and investment of resources to encourage undergraduates at every level to participate in research mentored by faculty members,” said Joe O’Shea, director of FSU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement (CRE). “A robust culture of undergraduate research helps FSU recruit students, enrich undergraduate education and bolster the university’s reputation.”
CRE coordinates and engages many campus and community partners to provide unique opportunities for undergraduate researchers, preparing students to succeed during their collegiate careers and beyond. Opportunities are available throughout the university and are accessible to all students.
One way Florida State promotes early engagement in undergraduate research is by providing first- and second-year students as well as new transfer and military veteran students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and research skills through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).
“UROP has been a wonderful addition to the variety of initiatives promoting student engagement in research and creative activities,” said FSU Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin. “Involving students early in their academic careers greatly strengthens their connection to FSU and helps them see the benefits of being part of a major research university.”
Participation in UROP has increased more than 150 percent since its inception in 2012. The 2015-2016 cohort boasts more than 260 participants and the program will continue to grow until reaching 1,000 students annually. Also, the number of faculty and advanced doctoral students mentoring undergraduates has doubled in three years.
Florida State facilitates undergraduate research through programs at the Honors, Scholars and Fellows House; the new “Liberal Studies for the 21st Century” curriculum; and a variety of annual events, such as the President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence, Undergraduate Research Symposium, Student Research and Innovation Week and DIGITECH.
For more information on undergraduate research at Florida State, visit http://cre.fsu.fsu.