Studies have shown that taking part in undergraduate research has a profound impact on a student’s college experience, including improved academic success, increased graduation rates, pursuit of an advanced degree, knowledge of potential career paths, and improved critical thinking and communication skills. Our students typically undertake research alongside a faculty mentor during the academic year, with a few projects taking place during the summer.
The 2014-2015 academic year was the inaugural year for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Housed in The Honors College, but serving the entire campus community, the office celebrated a number of achievements that included both honors and non-honors events and students.
Some highlights from last year:
- We took a large UTC cohort of students to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Spokane, WA to present their research (15 students: 6 Honors College, 9 non-Honors College).
- We had several students selected to present at Posters at the Capitol in Nashville (4 Honors College)
- We were able to assist 4 students in presenting their work at discipline-specific conferences (1 Honors College, 3 non-Honors College).
- We awarded 16 Student Research Assistantships (14 Honors College, 2 non-Honors College).
The 2015-2016 academic year is shaping up to be even busier than last year.
We have formed a partnership with ScholarBridge and the Student Opportunity Center to better keep our campus community in the loop as to what research is happening at UTC as well as what possibilities are available to everyone at local, regional, and national levels. We are co-sponsoring a Professional Learning Community, with the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research, made up of 17 faculty members from across the disciplines represented on our campus. This group will focus on the topic of undergraduate research as a high-impact practice and how best to sustain such a program on our campus. In addition, we hope to double our numbers at NCUR this year, as it is being hosted nearby by the University of North Carolina at Asheville. We are also working closely with many of the public and private institutions in the state of Tennessee to put on a Tennessee Experiential Learning Symposium, as well as collaborating with our peers in the Southern Conference to present a SoCon Undergraduate Conference.
– Dr. Salvatore Musumeci, Director