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Effective Methods to Promote Undergraduate Research in Civil Engineering

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

High-impact Learning Practices

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Jieun Hur P.E. Ohio State University

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Dr. Jieun Hur is an assistant professor of practice at the Ohio State University (OSU). She received her Master and Ph.D. degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research focuses on the structural analysis and design applying probabilistic methods for performance and damage assessment of structural and nonstructural components. Dr. Hur has extensive research and work experience. She has lead and participated in various research projects and has advised undergraduate researchers. She is a registered Professional Engineer in both California (Civil Engineering) in the U.S. and South Korea (Structural Engineering). Dr. Hur has served as a member of Undergraduate Honor Committee in the College of Engineering at the Ohio State University since 2017, and a member of Undergraduate Research Committee in the department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering (CEGE) at OSU since 2018.

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Nathan Hyungsok Choe Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Nathan (Hyungsok) Choe is a research assistant professor in department of engineering education at the Ohio State University.
He obtained his PhD in STEM education at UT Austin. His research focuses on the development of engineering identity in graduate school and underrepresented group. Dr. Choe holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Illinois Tech. He also worked as an engineer at LG electronics mobile communication company.

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In recent years, various engineering disciplines of universities and national agencies have shown increasing interest in promoting undergraduate (UG) research experience. The department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at the Ohio State University (OSU) has promoted UG research in different ways aligning with the College of Engineering (COE) at OSU since 2017. This effort aims to provide research opportunities and enriched learning experiences to a broad range of UG students. In addition, these efforts are expected to improve undergraduate students’ persistence and retention in engineering fields and support the growth of graduate programs. This study introduced a survey that was conducted in the department to evaluate the current status of UG research in year 2018. All levels of UG students (n= 98) and faculty members (n= 24) participated in this survey, and questionnaires were generated for three groups including current UG researchers, UG students without any research experience, and faculty members. From student’s survey data, descriptive statistics shows that 14 out of 98 UG students were engaged in research currently with a faculty advisor; whereas 84 were not involved with research. The results provide students’ research experience, research interests, and opportunities and barriers that involve research activities. On the other hand, faculty members’ survey results show that majority of faculty members had two or three UG researchers in their research labs and did not face much challenge to work with UG researchers. However, some faculty members perceived that they had challenge to provide proper research training and meaningful projects for UG researchers because of students’ research interests level in specific fields and the low level of research knowledge and skills. Further, current limitations of the UG research program are identified, and various suggestions are discussed. In addition, this study includes a discussion regarding strategies for UG research in different engineering departments, and their advantages and limitations are compared. Results of this study will enhance the understanding of the perceptions of UG students and faculty members regarding UG research and offers strategies to improve the outcomes.

Hur, J., & Choe, N. H. (2020, June), Effective Methods to Promote Undergraduate Research in Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34499

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