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14 graduate research consultants infuse projects into undergraduate coursework

Monday, September 15, 2014

LAWRENCE — Fourteen University of Kansas Graduate Research Consultants will pair with faculty members this fall in a wide variety of fields to challenge undergraduate students to further develop their research skills through classroom-based projects.

The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program, administered by KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research, is modeled off of a highly successful program at the University of North Carolina. KU’s program provides financial support ($500) to a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who works with a particular course to help design a research project, mentor students, and evaluate student learning. GRCs are expected to work 30 hours over the course of the semester to facilitate the students’ research projects. The goal of the program is to enable the instructor to require more demanding research projects while providing more support for the students.

“The GRC program was launched as a pilot program last spring with nine courses, and we are delighted with this fall’s participating classes,” said John Augusto, assistant vice provost for experiential learning and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “Given the excellent pool of applicants, we were excited to financially partner with the Office of First Year Experience and three academic departments so we could offer fourteen GRC awards this fall.”

Faculty and GRCs jointly applied for the awards last spring, detailing the types of research activities they wanted to pursue in their classes and the learning outcomes they hope to achieve through these projects.  A wide variety of disciplines are represented in this group of participants, with class sizes ranging from 15 to 320 undergraduates. Instructors, GRCs and staff with the Center for Undergraduate Research will work together to develop these projects and document student learning to provide models for incorporating research into the classroom for the campus community.

“The GRC program has been such an added benefit for my First Year Seminar,” said first-time participant Tamara Falicov, department chair of film and media studies and associate professor. “By working with a graduate research consultant, we were able to create a final project that more deeply engages the students. We designed smaller assignments, which created scaffolding leading up to the final group project. My GRC is leading some of the in-class work sessions and devising assessment surveys, freeing me up to focus on my lectures and supplementary material.”

Applications for spring 2015 are currently being accepted with a deadline of Nov. 21. To learn more about the Center for Undergraduate Research or the Graduate Research Consultant Program, visit http://ugresearch.ku.edu/instructors/GRC.

GRC/faculty groups are listed below, along with course information:

Rachel Bowes, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Bryan Foster, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; a project for BIOL 415: Laboratory and Field Methods in Ecology.

Alison Christy, doctoral student in theatre, and Leslie Bennett, associate professor of theatre; a project for THR 213: Movement I: The Acting Instrument.

Andrew Cleary, master’s student in geography, and Robert Hagen, research associate with the Kansas Biological Survey and lecturer in environmental studies; a project for EVRN 460: Field Ecology.

Sara Estrada, doctoral student in psychology, and Glenn Adams, associate professor of psychology; a project for PSYC 545: Culture and Psychology.

Rebecca Marquez, postdoctoral researcher in molecular biosciences, Yoshi Azuma, associate professor of molecular biosciences, and Kristi Neufeld, associate professor of molecular biosciences; a project for BIOL 688: Molecular Biology of Cancer.

Lean Moelling, master’s students in geology, and Alison Olcott Marshall, assistant professor of geology; a project for GEOL 121: DNA to Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Life.

Robert Rader, master’s student in geology, and Jennifer Roberts, associate professor of geology; a project for GEOL 101: The Way the Earth Works.

Courtney Sanchez, doctoral student in film and media studies, and Tamara Falicov, associate professor of film and media studies; a project for FMS 177: Blurred Boundaries: Latin American Documentary.

Steven Sanders, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Paulyn Cartwright, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; a project for BIOL 427: Developmental Biology Laboratory.

Cynthia Siew, doctoral student in psychology, and Evangelia Chrysikou, assistant professor of psychology; a project for PSYC 625: Methods of Psychophysiology and Neuroscience.

Jessica Stockham, doctoral student in physics and astronomy, Mark Stockham, doctoral student in physics and astronomy, and David Besson, professor of physics and astronomy; a project for PHYSX 114: College Physics I.

Miriam Webber, doctoral student in music, and Bradley Osborn, assistant professor of music; a project for MTHC 410: Tonal Forms.

Stephanie Wille, master’s student in film and media studies, and Germaine Halegoua, assistant professor of film and media studies; a project for FMS 177: Representing the City.


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More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
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