New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) has been shown to positively influence the academic and professional performance of participants. The development of such programs has not been uniform throughout the past few decades. Nonetheless, hallmark characteristics are common between successful programs, which include: 1) meaningful research experience; 2) challenging yet welcoming environment with proper social network; 3) mentorship by faculty members and graduate students; and 4) well-rounded experience through supplemental workshops and seminars. Considering previous research, the XYZ research center designed, implemented and assessed a comprehensive REU program to engage students in research during both the academic year and summer months. XYZ’s REU is an eight-week research experience for undergraduates from multiple 4-year universities and community colleges. The program components include research in one of XYZ laboratories, seminars on ethics and diversity, workshops on entrepreneurship, and social events. These activities are woven into an experience to instill sixteen specific skills that were grouped into five core categories: I) communication (2 skills); II) engineering success (2 skills); III) business and market savvy (3 skills); IV) technical (5 skills); and V) multicultural and interpersonal (4 skills). The inclusion of these skills was based on the objectives of National Science Foundation’s REU and ERC programs, the ‘Engineer 2020’ report from the National Academy of Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers ‘Vision 2030’ report. XYZ’s Industry Advisory Board reviewed, approved, and ranked the relevance and importance of each skill. After each research experience, i.e. 8-week program, students completed electronic surveys and either in-person or phone interviews, which were administered by an independent evaluator. The assessment protocol was reviewed and approved by Institutional Review Boards on each campus. Results are based on a sample of 51 undergraduate students from the first two years of assessment (participation rates of 71.4% and 81.8%, respectively). Findings suggest substantial increase in students’ engineering knowledge and skills, with the overwhelming majority of participants indicating that they were “Satisfied or Very Satisfied” with XYZ REU program.
Youssef, G., & Ainsworth, E. A., & Shapiro, C. A., & Whang Sayson, H., & Levis-Fitzgerald, M. (2016, June), Comprehensive Research Experience for Undergraduates Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26547
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