St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) was well represented and very well received at the second annual meeting of the Council on Undergraduate Research Transformations Project (CUR-T), funded by the National Science Foundation (Award no. 1625354). The inter-disciplinary SMCM team attending the conference included Drs. Mertz, Neiles, Bowers, Dillingham, Wooley, Koenig, and Foster.
The CUR Transformations Project aims to understand and incorporate successful strategies to integrate high-quality undergraduate research (UGR) throughout four-year undergraduate STEM curricula. SMCM’s contribution to this ambitious nation-wide endeavor focuses on undergraduate research integration in the disciplines of psychology and chemistry & biochemistry, and we have a committed team of 16 faculty and administrators working toward this goal.
The 2018 annual meeting allowed all 12 institutions participating in the CUR-T project to highlight their progress toward achieving project goals, and by all accounts our SMCM psychology and chemistry/biochemistry teams excelled and impressed. Congratulations to all of them, and please feel free to ask them about their CUR-T-related progress and insights. Each team works to create a more research-rich, connected, and scaffolded curriculum, and contributes to two major research questions: 1) What effect do student characteristics (e.g., preexisting academic preparation) have on scaffolded integration of UGR into the curriculum and student learning outcomes? 2) How do different STEM disciplines/departments effectively integrate the components and outcomes of high-quality UGR to reach more students? The CUR-T principal investigators received NSF funding to answer these pertinent questions in order to advance the academy’s understanding of effective teaching and learning and the disciplinary and cultural factors necessary for curricular integration and transformation. Collectively, we are at the cutting edge of STEM curricular transformations.