New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
NSF Grantees Poster Session
When ideas for improving the education and graduation rates of engineering students are presented, one practice often promoted is increasing the number of students performing undergraduate research. Often, the benefits achieved by high-achieving undergraduate students engaged in research activities are cited as evidence of the potential that undergraduate research offers all students. However, relatively little study has been devoted to the impact and benefits of research experiences on ordinary engineering students. Yet, in order to achieve broader participation in undergraduate research experiences, it is these students to whom undergraduate research opportunities need to be provided. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how these experiences can mesh with the career goals of these students, and how they can best meet the students’ expectations and needs.
The primary purpose of this NSF-sponsored work is to develop definitions of what constitutes a successful undergraduate research experience for a wide range of engineering students. Particular attention is devoted to students whose academic background and performance is solid, but not outstanding. For such students, some of the benefits seen in high-achieving students – such as increased likelihood of graduate school attendance – may not be appropriate measures of a successful experience. To develop the definitions, we have surveyed and interviewed students who have been engaged in undergraduate research experiences in engineering, faculty members who have supervised undergraduate students working on research projects, and industrial representatives who have employed recent engineering graduates. In this paper, we present the perspectives of these groups. With the perspectives of the three groups as input, the definitions of a successful undergraduate research experience for non-elite engineering students have been developed and are presented.
In addition to these definitions of a successful undergraduate research experience, the paper also presents insights from the faculty and students on how to make the experiences more beneficial for the students. Such information can help other faculty as they design research experiences for their own students.
Reisel, J. R., & Walker, C. M., & Cancado, L., & Mitrayani , D. (2016, June), Successful Undergraduate Research Experiences in Engineering: Student, Faculty, and Industrial Perspectives Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25959
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