Year of Dialogue


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Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum


Education research has repeatedly documented that providing undergraduates with opportunities to engage in scientific research is one of the most powerful ways to encourage students to stay in science majors, to seek employment and/or graduate training in the sciences, or just to gain a better understanding of how science works. A 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recommends that such opportunities be made available to many more students, as early in their undergraduate careers as possible. However, the ability to provide such experiences to large numbers of students in individual faculty laboratories and similar research environments can be constrained by the limited resources available in time, lab space, materials, and funds for student support.


Exploring ways that discovery-based research can be better integrated into the undergraduate curriculum was the subject of a convocation organized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in May 2015. One alternative currently being implemented is the Course-based Research Experience (CRE), the focus of this convocation. As summarized in a new report, convocation participants discussed a wide range of topics, including what constitutes a well-designed course-based research project, tools and best practices for integrating research projects into academic-year courses, implementation of this strategy within the current culture of higher education, and issues related to assessing the efficacy of such programs and learning by students who are involved with them.


You’re invited to continue the discussions on this important topic with members of the organizing committee and Convocation participants. To date, sessions and/or poster sessions have been accepted at the following eight conferences. Mark these dates on your calendar and join us if you will be attending these national meetings!

  • December, 2015: American Geophysical Union, San Francisco
  • December, 2015: American Society for Cell Biology, San Diego
  • January, 2016: Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Portland (OR)
  • March, 2016: American Chemical Society, San Diego
  • March, 2016: Northwest Regional Meeting, Society for Developmental Biology, Friday Harbor (WA)
  • March, 2016: STEM Symposium, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, San Francisco
  • June, 2016: American Physiological Society Institute on Teaching and Learning, Madison, WI
  • July, 2016: The Allied Genetics Conference, Orlando
  • July, 2016: Summer Institute of Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER), Chicago
  • July, 2016: American Society of Microbiology Conference on Undergraduate Education, Bethesda (MD)
  • September, 2016: Geological Society of America, Denver
  • August, 2016: Society for Developmental Biology, Boston


Articles and News Items

"Report Stresses Need for Real Research in Undergraduate Classes," Earth & Space Science News.