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New program to bring research into the classroom

Thursday, December 19, 2013

LAWRENCE — The Center for Undergraduate Research is launching a pilot program this spring to assist instructors interested in incorporating research into their undergraduate classes. Nine graduate research consultants will pair with faculty members in a wide variety of fields to challenge their students to further develop their research skills.

The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program is modeled from a highly successful program at the University of North Carolina ( ).  KU’s program provides $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.

“Part of the Center’s mission is to increase the accessibility of a research experience across the campus,” says John Augusto, assistant vice provost for Experiential Learning and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “The GRC program is a highly successful model for getting more students exposed to research earlier in their KU degree program. In addition, this program is a part of the university’s effort to strengthen the teaching and mentoring that prepares students for lifelong learning and success.”

Faculty and GRCs jointly applied for the awards this fall, 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 inaugural group of participants, with class sizes ranging from 20 to 160 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. 

To learn more about the Center for Undergraduate Research or the Graduate Research Consultant Program, visit

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

  • Caitlin Coughlin, doctoral student in linguistics, and Alison Gabriele, associate professor in linguistics; a project for LING 415: Second Language Acquisition.
  • Amy Hume, doctoral student in English, and Kathryn Conrad, associate professor in English; a project for English 314: British Literature After 1800.
  • Meaghan Kelly, master’s student in geography, and Margaret Pearce, assistant professor in geography; a project for GEOG 210: Computers, Maps, and Geographical Analysis.
  • Robert Knight, master’s student in electrical engineering and computer science, and Christopher Allen, professor in electrical engineering and computer science; a project for EECS 502: Senior Design Lab 2.
  • Laura Minton, master’s student in history of art, and Anne Hedeman, Distinguished Professor in History of Art; a project for HA 593: Medieval Manuscripts.
  • Lauren Moore, doctoral student in anthropology, and Akiko Takeyama, assistant professor in anthropology; a project for ANTH 108/308: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.
  • Carolina Pardo, master’s student in educational technology, and Chris Brown, professor in environmental studies; a project for ENVR 420/GEOG 395: Environmental Issues of the Wakarusa Wetlands.
  • Natalie Pennington, doctoral student in communication studies, and Alesia Woszidlo, assistant professor in communication studies; a project for COMS 555: Family Communication.
  • Cynthia Siew, doctoral student in psychology, and Evangelia Chrysikou, assistant professor in psychology; a project for PSYC 375: Cognitive Neuroscience.

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Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
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KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
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