The Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry, which was created out of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), serves to advance the implementation and utilization of undergraduate research, experiential education and creative/artistic inquiry through broadening the scope of these high-impact practices both within the institution and throughout our communities.
Through a faculty-mentored process, we strive to scaffold students through the process of research and inquiry in any of the following areas:
- authentic undergraduate science and humanities research,
- creative works/artistic productions and
- high impact practices, such as inquiry-based service-learning and internships.
Why advance undergraduate research and inquiry?
Undergraduate research and inquiry can be defined as any problem- or project-based examination, which begins with a question for review, utilizes discipline-specific methodologies to assess the question and draws conclusions from that assessment to make an authentic intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. This definition is extended to internship activities, works of art, performances and class-based projects, as well as more traditional scientific or humanities research.
- It is important to note that not all experiential education activities are inquiry-based and not all inquiry-based activities are experiential. Therefore, this office, and the associate QEP, will work to join the two methods of education in harmony.
Such practices have been shown to result in any number of positive outcomes for students, including*:
- Higher rate of graduate school enrollment
- Increased knowledge in the student’s major
- Improvement in the broad array of research skills, conducting ethical research and giving presentations
- Increased interpersonal skills, including interaction with faculty and peers
- Gains in problem solving, critical thinking and the ability to think independently
- Greater satisfaction with educational experience
Learn more about defining research and inquiry
*(e.g., see Bauer & Bennett, 2003; Chopin, 2002; Hu, Scheuch, Schwartz, Gayles, & Li, 2008; Hunter, Laursen, & Seymour, 2006; Ishiyama, 2002a; Mateja & Otto, 2007; Thiry & Laursen, 2009)