3 Numerous studies over the past 20 years have indicated the need to improve both the general level of science literacy among our students and to increase the number of students electing science as a career.
4 A number of other studies have surveyed faculty and students regarding the benefits of undergraduate research.
10 Since 1983, in Introductory Biology 151-152, we have been engaged in a program designed to support entry of sophomores primarily (some freshmen) into research opportunities on the UW Madison campus. (Although the program began in 1983, we have maintained detailed records only since 1996.) 152 fulfills Comm-B requirements (1995 approx)
Key points I’ll address about are program are those listed here.
11 In a few words, what we provide is guidance, support and encouragement. We find that these steps are essential 1) so students understand what they are getting into and 2) so that students have a better chance of actually getting into a lab (PAUL SONDEL CLIP on how students contact mentors matters) Inventory form: we go over what research may entail, including euthanization and autopsies, possible computer analysis of existing data, all different types of projects depending upon area of interest. When asked, 85% of mentors thought that student interest was the most important in choosing a student, when compared to GPA, year in school, previous work experience, etc. GOES ALONG WITH THE IDEA THAT ENTHUSIASM IS KEY – Russell, 2007
In 152 the mentors provide our students with project ideas and train them in the techniques they will need to use. We concentrate on their understanding what they are doing and why they are doing it through a series of staged written and oral assignments.
In 2007 we polled 100 faculty each of whom had mentored at least 3 students in the past three years and 200 students from a previous year. 20 faculty and 45 students responded. When asked, 85% of mentors thought that student interest was the most important in choosing a student, when compared to GPA, year in school, previous work experience, etc.
We obviously address getting students into research labs earlier. However, what does this say about retention? About 29% stayed an additional semester or two in the same lab Another 26% stayed 3 to 4 semesters in the same lab. 5 percent stayed more than 4 semesters. 10% went on to one or two more semesters in a different lab and another 7 percent did 3 to 4 semesters more in a different lab. That’s a total of 77%. The other 23% indicated under “other” that most of them stayed on in some combination of the same and different labs for 1 to 4 additional semesters. Only 3 of the 45 students indicated they did not continue beyond the one semester.
Blc2010 Undergrad Research Heitz
Why involve undergraduates in mentored research? <ul><li>"It is clear that the academic community regards the involvement of undergraduate student majors in meaningful research . . . with faculty members as one of the most powerful of instructional tools.“ (NSF, 1989) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Standards call for more “science as process,” in which students learn such skills as observing, inferring and experimenting. Inquiry is central to science learning.” (National Science Standards, 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>“ To successfully undertake careers in research after graduation, students will need scientific knowledge, practice with experimental design, quantitative abilities, and communication skills. . . . All students should be encouraged to pursue independent research as early as is practical in their education." (Bio2010, 2003 ) </li></ul>
<ul><li>Russell, et al. (2007) surveyed STEM (and other) undergraduate researchers (primarily juniors and seniors) - total respondents >5000 </li></ul><ul><li>Kardash (2000) surveyed 57 undergraduates (juniors and seniors) who self-rated their abilities on 14 skills before and after an Undergraduate Research Experience (URE). These were compared to Faculty evaluations of their abilities after the URE. </li></ul><ul><li>Lopatto (2003) polled 41 faculty from 3 colleges about the benefits of undergraduate research. </li></ul><ul><li>A follow up study (Lopatto, 2004) he conducted similar surveys of more than 1000 undergraduates in research programs at 41 universities and colleges. </li></ul>
Summary and Concerns <ul><li>Together, these studies indicated: </li></ul><ul><li>There is considerable support for undergraduate research and considerable information indicating that undergraduate research is beneficial to both the students and the mentors. </li></ul><ul><li>However, there is concern that in many of these studies that higher order inquiry skills are not being developed. </li></ul><ul><li>There is also concern that waiting until their Junior or Senior year for the experience may be too late. I.e. we should be getting more Freshmen and Sophomores into research experiences. </li></ul>
Teaming Introductory Biology and Research Labs in Support of Undergraduate Education Jean Heitz Introductory Biology 151-152 – UW, Madison, WI [email_address] .edu
What is the University of Wisconsin’s Introductory Biology 152 Mentored Research Program? <ul><li>The program began in 1983. </li></ul><ul><li>It was developed as an integral part of the Introductory Biology152 lab experience. All students choose between doing a meta-analysis of the literature or mentored research. </li></ul><ul><li>Since we began keeping detailed records (1996) more about 3000 of our students have participated in mentored research. The vast majority are sophomores. </li></ul><ul><li>This year alone more than 400 of our students have been engaged in independent research. </li></ul>
<ul><li>What types of preparation did we find necessary to help insure student success in mentored research? </li></ul><ul><li>What types of support and review are needed to help insure student understanding? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the values of engaging undergraduates in independent research early in their college careers? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this experience affect our students' views of science, the university in general and their future goals? </li></ul><ul><li>How do the mentors view this program? </li></ul>
What preparation is necessary for student success in finding a mentorship? <ul><li>In the first semester, 151, we introduce the independent project options. </li></ul><ul><li>Students interested in the mentored research option meet with their coordinator before week 13 and bring: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A completed student inventory form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A list of faculty/research of interest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>At the meeting, we: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go over their inventory form and faculty list </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss appropriate ways to contact faculty and what to expect at an interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show students how to construct a brief resume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address concerns students may have and explain the key criteria for success – Interest, dependability, questioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide students with a letter to potential mentors and a form explaining how to sign up for directed study credit (699, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
In 152 we work on higher order skills. <ul><li>Writing is critical and staged throughout the semester. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proposal at week 5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First draft at week 9 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final draft at week 14 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poster Session at week 15 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The independent project manual contains clear guidelines for all stages of the process. </li></ul><ul><li>TA/coordinator feedback (written and/or oral) is provided at the proposal and first draft stages. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentor feedback is also provided. </li></ul><ul><li>The final products are a journal style article and a poster presentation designed for a scientifically literate audience. </li></ul>
What makes for student success in a mentorship? Faculty Viewpoint
One student said… <ul><li>Working as a professional scientist, researcher or researching university-level teacher/professor was never really suggested to me and therefore, I never really considered it. The 152 IP made the process of guiding us into a research experience very unintimidating. To a freshman or sophomore, contacting faculty to join their lab is a big deal. [The coordinator] made herself seem very available to talk to about concerns and she gave advice regarding what we should say and how to present ourselves. These skills aren’t taught in any other class!!! – although I think they’re very valuable. </li></ul>
Does our program address concerns stated in the literature? <ul><li>Concerns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>waiting until their Junior or Senior year for the experience may be too late. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>higher order inquiry skills are not being developed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Higher order skills identified were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Construct meaningful problem; apply knowledge to a real situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Formulate a research hypothesis based on a specific question </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design an experiment or theoretical test of the hypothesis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve oral and written communication skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn to use scientific literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kardash (2000) and Lopatto (2003 and 2004) </li></ul></ul>
A final student comment <ul><li>“ Although I don’t know how truly accurate this assumption is, it seems to me that a large majority of students who start college interested in a science career (or science careers most closely related to biology) come with the intention or goal of medical school. This is not always because they have a great passion for patient care or giving back, but it’s because that’s the career teachers and peers recommend to a highly motivated student interested in science. That is, at least, the case for myself. . . Once in a lab, I was opened up to an entirely new “research culture” that I found incredibly fascinating. I have since found that I’m far more interested in research than I would be in medicine… I really thank the experience for opening me up to that world.” </li></ul>
References <ul><li>Bio2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (2003) books.nap.edu/books/0309085357/html/75.html </li></ul><ul><li>Kardash, CAM 2000 Evaluation of an Undergraduate Research Experience: Perceptions of Undergraduate Interns and Their Faculty Mentors, Journal of Ed Psych 92(1): 191-201. </li></ul><ul><li>Lopatto, D 2003 The Essential Features of Undergraduate Research, Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, March, pp. 139 to 142 </li></ul><ul><li>Lopatto, D 2004 Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE): First Findings, Cell Biology Education 3: 270-277 </li></ul><ul><li>NSF 1989 - Report on the National Science Foundation Disciplinary Workshops on Undergraduate Education, Washington, D.C. </li></ul><ul><li>National Science Standards 1995 books.nap.edu/books/0309053269/html/2.html </li></ul><ul><li>Russell, S. H., MP Hancock and J McCullough, 2007 Benefits of Undergraduate Research Experiences, Science (316): 548-549 </li></ul>