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Faculty Development for Research Inclusion: Virtual Research Experiences for Undergraduates

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Faculty Development 1: Social Justice Research

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Faculty Development Division

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Paper Authors


Patricia Morreale Kean University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Patricia Morreale is Professor and Director of the School of Computer Science and Technology at Kean University, Union, NJ, where she serves as lead for the North Region of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI). Her research focuses on human computer interaction, equitable software design, and undergraduate retention and success in computer science. She was recognized with Kean University’s Faculty Research Mentor Award and received the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Faculty Mentoring Award in Mathematics and Computer Science.

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Ann C. Gates University of Texas at El Paso

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Dr. Ann Quiroz Gates is the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs at the University of Texas at El Paso. She holds the AT&T Distinguished Professorship and served as the Chair of the Computer Science Department (2005-2008 and 2012-2020) and Associate VP of Research and Sponsored Projects (2008-2012). Gates is the Executive Director of the Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), an NSF National INCLUDES Alliance promoting the importance of inclusion and equity in advancing innovation and discovery. She also directs the NSF-funded CyberShARE Center of Excellence that advances interdisciplinary education and research. She served on the Naval Research Advisory Committee (2016-2018) . Gates received the 2021 Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award, the 2015 Great Minds in STEM's Education award, the CRA’s 2015 A. Nico Habermann Award, the 2010 Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award, and the 2009 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing. She was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Influential Hispanics in 2006 for her work on the Affinity Research Group model.

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Elsa Q. Villa University of Texas at El Paso

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Elsa Q. Villa, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in the College of Education, and is Director of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies (CERPS). Dr. Villa received her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State University; she received a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and a Master of Arts in Education from UTEP. She has led and co-led numerous grants from corporate foundations and state and federal agencies, and has numerous publications in refereed journals and edited books. Her research interests include communities of practice, gender, transformative learning, and identity.

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Sarah Hug Colorado Evaluation and Research Consulting

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Dr. Sarah Hug is director of the Colorado Evaluation & Research Consulting. Dr. Hug earned her PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research and evaluation efforts focus on learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with a special interest in communities of practice, creativity, and experiences of underrepresented groups in these fields across multiple contexts.

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This paper presents an innovative approach, applicable to all research-based fields, which identifies and broadly engages future computer science researchers. The Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) piloted a national virtual Research Experience for Undergraduates (vREU) during the summer of 2020.

Funded by an NSF grant, the goal of the program was to ensure that students, in particular those with financial need, had opportunities to engage in research and gain critical skills while advancing their knowledge and financial resources to complete their undergraduate degrees and move to advanced studies. The vREU pilot provided undergraduate research experiences for 51 students and 21 faculty drawn from 14 colleges and universities. The Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, based on a cooperative learning model, was used to guide faculty mentors throughout the eight-week vREU. ARG is a CAHSI signature practice with a focus on deliberate, structured faculty and student research, including technical, and professional skills development. At weekly meetings, faculty were provided resources and discussed a specific skill to support the students’ research experience and development, which faculty put into immediate practice with their students.

Evaluation findings include no statistical difference in student development between the face-to-face and virtual models with faculty and the benefit of training as an opportunity for faculty professional growth and impact. This faculty development model allows for rapid dissemination of the ARG model through practice and application with weekly faculty cohort meetings, coaching, and reflection.

This paper will be presented as a traditional lecture, with demonstration of the ARG method used.

Morreale, P., & Gates, A. C., & Villa, E. Q., & Hug, S. (2021, July), Faculty Development for Research Inclusion: Virtual Research Experiences for Undergraduates Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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