Director of Undergraduate Research to Present at National Press Club
Dr. Linda Blockus, the director of undergraduate research at the University of Missouri, will be in Washington, D.C. on May 23 to discuss the newly published Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research (COEUR). Blockus co-authored the book along with Roger Rowlett, professor of chemistry at Colgate University and Susan Larson, director of undergraduate research at Concordia College, in producing the publication.
The presentation, which will take place at 9 a.m. ET on May 23 in the 1st Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club, will feature the three authors. Elizabeth Ambos, executive director of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), will join the panel. Moderating the discussion will be Valerie Gray Hardcastle, dean of the McMicken College of Arts & Science at the University of Cincinnati and the 2011-12 Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences President.
“I am looking forward to talking with representatives from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the professional societies about enhancing undergraduate research experiences and communicating expectations to their members and grantees,” Blockus said.
Capitalizing on three decades of CUR experience fostering undergraduate research, COEUR identifies critical best practices. It is designed to assist institutions and agencies qualitatively evaluate their undergraduate research programs and provide a guide for strategic planning and resource allocation.
The book can be used as a reference for institutions that are striving to enhance the learning experiences of students through research. It can also be used as a guide for institutions that are in the beginning stages of developing and undergraduate research program.
“We hope that institutions and funding agencies will be able to use this document as a blueprint for evaluating undergraduate research programs,” Blockus said. “MU has a great environment for undergraduate research, but there are a number of things that can be done to increase student opportunities and further enhance the experience for students and faculty.”
Several research studies show how engaging undergraduate students in research, scholarship and creative activity is a proven and powerful way to encourage academic engagement, enhance educational outcomes and expand frontiers of knowledge.
“The Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research is a foundational piece of work,” CUR President Bill Campbell said. “The authors have compiled and distilled the collective wisdom and experience of the 700 individual members and 700 institutional members of the Council on Undergraduate Research into a definitive summary of best practices. As colleges and universities create or expand their undergraduate research programs, Characteristics will be an indispensable guide.”
The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. More than 7,500 individuals belong to CUR.
Blockus has been the director of undergraduate research at Missouri since 2002 She served as chair of the Undergraduate Research Program Directors Division in CUR from 2009-2011 and was a fellow at the Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008-09. Blockus is also co-editing Undergraduate Research Offices and Programs: Models and Practices, which will be published by CUR later this year.