MURACE – Enriching Students’ Lives through Mentored Research and/or Creative Endeavor Opportunities
"The origination of the undergraduate research concept is lost in the mists of time although it likely began well over half a century - perhaps 3/4 of a century - ago in that unique-to-America educational phenomenon: the undergraduate liberal arts college" (Hakim 2000, p. ii).
How is Undergraduate Research Defined?
The Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines it as ...
"An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original, intellectual, or creative contribution to the discipline(s)."
Benefits of Undergraduate Research
UR is quickly becoming a signature feature of the public liberal arts experience (Cech, 1999). Undergraduate students engaging in research acquire a spirit of inquiry and creativity, grow intellectually, develop leadership abilities, independence, initiative, sound judgment, persistence, alertness, and patience (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, and Whitt, 2010) – all of which are dispositions that lead to successful lives and high productivity (Kinkel and Henke, 2006). Moreover, strong positive correlations exist between this type of student engagement and increased student retention (Jones, Barlow, and Villarejo, 2010). UR allows faculty mentors to maintain enthusiasm, professional competence, and scholarly productivity. In several cases, the participating university gains regional, national, and international recognition and may become an institution of first choice for the best students. Collaborations beyond the campus involving current and future undergraduates have the potential of being transformational while at the same time, giving value to local communities.
Mission Statement of Successful Undergraduate Research at Georgia College
Georgia College aspires to graduate students with creative and problem-solving dispositions that prepare them to be the next leaders of the free world. As the state’s designated public liberal arts university, Georgia College connects teaching excellence with learning beyond the classroom to provide unique UR experiences for students. A small student to faculty ratio coupled with student-centered faculty provides a platform for a faculty mentor to engage student-scholars in inquiry investigations that make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.
Georgia College’s Definition of SUCCESSFUL Undergraduate Scholarly Activities (see attachment below)
Mentorship: collaborative; serious interactions; clear goals; focus on the student; focus on the student learning process; intellectual engagement of the student and disciplinary socialization.
Originality: meaningful contribution by the student; should be entirely or partially novel; it is OK to reveal more questions than answers.
Acceptability: employs techniques and methodologies that are both appropriate and recognized in the discipline; includes a reflective/ synthetic component that is appropriate to the discipline.
Dissemination: ideally there needs to be a final, tangible product for which both the process and results are peer-reviewed, critiques, juries, judged, etc.; but we recognize that UR is a continuum between student (process centered) and outcome (product centered) activities and we value and recognize all student initiated participation in inquire in and outside of the classroom.
Source: Rosalie Richards, Ryan Brown, Kalina Manoylov, Hauke Busch, Robin Lewis (2011) A Vision for Undergraduate Research at Georgia College
Dr. Doreen Sams, Ph.D.
Faculty Coordinator of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors
A Division of the Center for Faculty Development