UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities is partnering with the Faculty of Engineering and the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute to expand opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research with faculty mentors.
The partnerships are part of an initiative funded by the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost to pioneer an effective model for the growth of undergraduate research that can be adapted to expand CURO activities into other UGA academic units.
“Students who have participated in CURO programs over the past 10 years have greatly benefitted from those opportunities,” said Provost Jere Morehead. “But for CURO to maintain its position of national leadership in undergraduate research, we must provide ways to expand the program to involve more students and faculty.”
Administered by the Honors Program, CURO has previously required a minimum 3.4 grade point average for the Honors research courses it has offered. Under the new partnerships, access will be extended to students whose GPA may fall below that minimum.
“One of the goals of the partnerships with Engineering and BHSI is to increase the number of faculty who participate in CURO,” said Pam Kleiber, associate director of the Honors Program, who is working closely with the two units. “This expansion will allow faculty to supervise undergraduate research by students they want to mentor, regardless of GPA.”
Two doctoral students with CURO graduate fellowships will teach one-hour “gateway” seminars during fall and spring semesters to provide an introduction to undergraduate research for interested students. The only prerequisite is 15 hours of university credit. The two fellows also will help facilitate undergraduate research activities with the units.
Crystal Phillips, who is seeking a Ph.D. in microbiology, will teach the CURO BHSI Gateway Seminar with Tim Hoover, a faculty member in microbiology, and Adrienne Madison, who is seeking a Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering, will teach the CURO Engineering Gateway Seminar with Mark Haidekker, a faculty member in that department.
“I have had a very good experience with undergraduates in the past, and I do not see any reason why research should be mainly reserved for graduate students,” Haidekker said. “I welcome the opportunity to actively engage in advancing undergraduate research with this CURO partnership program.”
Haidekker also serves as a “torchbearer” for the Faculty of Engineering and will serve on the CURO Council during the current academic year. Several faculty torchbearers have been named within the BHSI and also will serve on the CURO Council: Claiborne Glover, biochemistry and molecular biology; Shelley Pence, pharmacy; Tim Hoover, microbiology; John Maurer, veterinary medicine; and Jennifer McDowell, psychology.
“The BHSI is pleased to have been selected as one of the initial participants in the CURO expansion,” said Harry Dailey, BHSI director. “We are excited about being able to partner with CURO to provide access to their resources and programs to the non-honors undergraduate community.”