Undergraduate Research Connects Faculty, Students, and Research
The Office of Undergraduate Research’s (OUR) mission is to transform students into scholars who make an original contribution to their own discipline or across disciplines. As early as their freshman year, students are encouraged to engage with faculty and get involved in research. OUR works across campuses with college and research partners to enhance the academic enrichment students receive from their university experience.
Undergraduate research is considered a High Impact Practice (HIP). HIPs are intensive learning experiences that have shown to promote deep learning and contribute to a student’s cumulative academic experience. Students can develop their own independent project with the guidance of faculty or work alongside a faculty member on their project. Students gain skills in research design data collection and analysis, information literacy and communication. This rigorous academic experience helps students identify their own career path, watch how a scientist thinks through a process, examine data, view professional interactions in a certain career field, and develop relationships and expertise from other students doing research. Students sign up for a zero credit course so this course is documented on their USF transcript.
Faculty can seek out interested students by advertising their research with OUR, leveraging OUR resources or they may simply encourage a student who shows strong interest in research. OUR staff is available for classroom visits to educate students on opportunities to get involved in research. Faculty mentors enrich their own experience by sharing their expertise and passion, inspiring students to think deeply about research and impacting their future success. Faculty benefits from the additional support and assistance they receive from volunteer students.
Many undergraduate research experiences are focused on the sciences, but students from all disciplines benefit from research opportunities, whether participate examining different elementary school pedagogies or exploring art in another country.
A communications major said, "I learned many things about the process of undergraduate research such as finding a faculty mentor, and the characteristics of actually presenting your research, whether it be in-person or a virtual conference."
OUR is currently recruiting student applicants to present their research projects and results at the Annual USF Undergraduate Research Conference on April 6th. The conference will be held online and will include an award ceremony in the afternoon. In past years, the conference has hosted over 500 students presenting their work.
Each semester OUR offers a workshop series to learn about undergraduate research. Students can receive an award for completing 12 workshop hours.