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 Tuesday, May 22, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Growing UROP seeks wider faculty, student participation
By Jon Leslie, Publications and Creative Services

Even with research and creative projects, assistantships and overall grant funding on a three-year rise, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is looking to expand participation among undergraduate students and faculty. UROP, a CU-Boulder academic enrichment program (along with the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), the Boettcher Scholars and the Norlin Scholars), is examining its approach and looking at new ways to recruit underrepresented academic departments and student populations in an effort to increase the range of the research and creative work it supports.

Designed to build cocurricular partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members, UROP funded 680 undergraduate research grants and assistantships in 2006–07, up from 640 in 2005–06 and approximately 610 during 2004–05. The majority of current funding awards go to proposals from lab-based disciplines such as engineering and natural sciences, while fewer proposals come from disciplines in the humanities, arts, social sciences, music, education, journalism and architecture and planning.

"We have underrepresented areas, and that's why we started investigating our outreach and our image," said UROP Director Joan Gabriele. "A big part of our push now is how do we get people from underrepresented departments and also from underrepresented student populations, who don't necessarily participate in UROP in the numbers we'd like."

UROP funds undergraduate research and creative work through individual grants, research assistantships, team grants and research seminars. Participating students, in addition to earning money, gain valuable faculty exposure and experience with the latest skills and methods relevant to research and/or creative work in their disciplines. Participating faculty members can take advantage of free research support, the opportunity to infuse their research into undergraduate teaching, student assistance with course development and the chance to encourage the next generation of scholars in their discplines.

"There are still faculty who don't know about the program, and there are also faculty who are accustomed to working independently who find out about UROP and realize it's just what they've been needing, a source of undergraduate assistance," said Gabriele. "There are many ways faculty can help us. One thing we need is for more faculty to know about UROP and tell students about it."

UROP is working to raise awareness in a variety of ways, including participation in new faculty orientation sessions, one-to-one contact with faculty leadership, outreach to underrrepresented student groups and a recurring campus-wide communication campaign. Faculty and undergraduate students interested in a potential UROP partnership are encouraged visit the website or contact UROP Director Joan Gabriele or Assistant Director Larry Boehm.

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