skip to main content

Title: Integrating Undergraduate Research and Faculty Development in a Legacy Astronomy Research Project
We present results from a highly successful model of faculty development and undergraduate research and education, the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team (UAT), an NSF-sponsored 23-institution collaboration. We recommend that granting agencies identify funding resources to support similar efforts for other large-scale scientific projects.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1637339
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10168033
Journal Name:
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Volume:
59
Issue:
7
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
69
ISSN:
2330-9458
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract The objectives of this study were to evaluate the current status of exposure to bio-engineering research in community college (CC) students and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) students, and to estimate relationships between research activities sponsored by the Mechanical Engineering (ME) S-STEM Scholarship Program and improvement in student enrollment/diversification, retention rates, and graduation rates. The analysis drew on data from ME undergraduate academic records at UMBC from 2008 to 2019. A survey was designed to assess the research exposure of CC and UMBC students and their evaluation of the research components included in recruitment and curriculum activities. Results show that exposure to research measured by attending a research seminar was low for the participants, around 37% for CC students and 21% for ME students at UMBC. The survey results indicate the positive impact of the scholarship programs at UMBC on the research exposure and research experience. The impact is more evident in students who originally transferred from a CC. The large increase in recruited female and CC students over the past 10 years indicated that the research-related activities of the ME S-STEM program played an instrumental role in those increases. Because of the research-related activities, the ME S-STEM programmore »achieved retention and graduation rates higher than those in the ME undergraduate program (89% versus 60% for the 6 year graduation rate), as well a higher percentage of students enrolled in graduate school (30% versus 10%). We conclude that there is still a need to implement research-related activities in the ME undergraduate program, starting with student recruitment and continuing through the academic program. Results suggest that there is a positive impact of ME S-STEM research activities on student diversification, retention rates, and percentage of our graduates who are pursuing graduate degree.« less
  2. Advancement of the scientific enterprise relies on individuals conducting research in an ethical and responsible manner. Educating emergent scholars in the principles of ethics/responsible conduct of research (E/RCR) is therefore critical to ensuring such advancement. The recent impetus to include authentic research opportunities as part of the undergraduate curriculum, via course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), has been shown to increase cognitive and noncognitive student outcomes. Because of these important benefits, CUREs are becoming more common and often constitute the first research experience for many students. However, despite the importance of E/RCR in the research process, we know of few efforts to incorporate E/RCR education into CUREs. The Ethics Network for Course-based Opportunities in Undergraduate Research (ENCOUR) was created to address this concern and promote the integration of E/RCR within CUREs in the biological sciences and related disciplines. During the inaugural ENCOUR meeting, a four-pronged approach was used to develop guidelines for the effective integration of E/RCR in CUREs. This approach included: 1) defining appropriate student learning objectives; 2) identifying relevant curriculum; 3) identifying relevant assessments; and 4) defining key aspects of professional development for CURE facilitators. Meeting outcomes, including the aforementioned E/RCR guidelines, are described herein.
  3. The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) is a collaborative, multifaceted program of faculty and undergraduate research at a consortium of 23 diverse U.S. institutions, founded to promote undergraduate research and faculty development within the extragalactic ALFALFA HI blind survey project and follow-up programs. The objective of the UAT is to provide opportunities for faculty and students from a wide range of public and private colleges and especially those with small astronomy programs to learn how science is accomplished in a large collaboration while contributing to the scientific goals of a legacy radio astronomy survey. Partnering with Arecibo and Green Bank Observatories, the UAT has worked with 334 undergraduates (40% women) and 32 (48% women) faculty in the past 10 years, offering annual workshops, observing runs, and research projects (academic year and sumer), and presentation of results at national meetings such as the AAS (at AAS233: Burhenne et al., Cane et al., Gault et al., Hetrick et al., Jong et al., Kumagai et al., Luna et al., Olivieri Villalvazo et al., Page et al., Poulin et al., Rea et al., Rehmn et al., Reiter et al., ). In this presentation, we summarize the UAT program and outcomes,more »highlight several current Team research efforts, including multiwavelength followup observations of ALFALFA sources, the UAT Collaborative Groups Project, and the Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey (APPSS), and suggest how our model could be applied to other legacy projects. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, AST-1211005, AST-1211683, and AST-1637339.« less
  4. Starting in 2010, the ME department at UMBC has been awarded three NSF S-STEM grants to increase student diversity, improve retention, and provide successful paths toward job placement and graduate study in our department. In addition to scholarships and faculty mentoring, we implemented approaches to integrate research into various aspects of our curriculum, including visiting community colleges, giving research seminars to community college students and UMBC students, organizing lab visits for undergraduate students, and providing undergraduate research opportunities. In this study, we asked students to complete a survey after specific research related educational activities. Data analyses were conducted to evaluate whether the perceived experiences from exposure to research differed by ethnic group, family educational background, whether they are community college transfers, and whether the students are part of a scholarship program. The survey results were also used to measure the satisfaction of the participants from the research related activities, and to collect feedback for future improvements.
  5. Spell, Rachelle (Ed.)
    Undergraduate research is one of the most valuable activities an undergraduate can engage in because of its benefits, and studies have shown that longer experiences are more beneficial. However, prior research has illuminated that undergraduates encounter challenges that may cause them to exit research prematurely. These studies have been almost exclusively conducted at research-intensive (R1) institutions, and it is unclear whether such challenges are generalizable to other institution types. To address this, we extended a study previously conducted at public R1 institutions. In the current study, we analyze data from 1262 students across 25 public R1s, 12 private R1s, 30 master’s-granting institutions, and 20 primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) to assess 1) to what extent institution type predicts students’ decisions to persist in undergraduate research and 2) what factors affect students’ decisions to either stay in or consider leaving their undergraduate research experiences (UREs) at different institution types. We found students at public R1s are more likely to leave their UREs compared with students at master’s-granting institutions and PUIs. However, there are few differences in why students enrolled at different institution types consider leaving or choose to stay in their UREs. This work highlights the importance of studying undergraduate research acrossmore »institutions.« less