Why the undergraduate years should include a research experience

Posted on October 17th, 2016

University Affairs looks at the benefits of providing students with an opportunity to do research in their undergraduate years. Undergraduate research, as defined by the Council on Undergraduate Research, is “anything where there’s hands-on, inquiry-based learning.” Research involves students actively learning and gaining skills that may be useful in further education or the job market. This can occur in the community, in labs, or while completing class assignments. Universities benefit because students can bring fresh insight into research, and “since undergrads usually take an array of courses, they’re naturally more inclined to find interdisciplinary links.” While universities are starting to direct more funding and resources into undergraduate research, they are not yet able to meet student demand. According to the article, the structure of these institutions is not built around undergrads doing research and requires the classroom and curriculum to be rethought.