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Goals and Objectives for Undergraduate Research
at Occidental College...

A Statement Developed by the Undergraduate Research Center’s Advisory Committee

An educational experience of the highest quality entails a developmental process in which students will be expected to refine their higher order thinking skills including: comparing, contrasting, and testing competing theories; developing new ideas; and assessing information in its context. Thus, undergraduate research stands as a [signature] component of an Occidental education, one that focuses on inquiry, design, analysis, interpretation, collaboration, ethical conduct, and communication of original results as essential learning components leading to the highest level of cognitive development as well as a love of learning. Sound pedagogy for this developmental process suggests the undergraduate research experience should extend over a substantial period of time and be grounded within a community of scholars.

Consistent with the Mission of Occidental College and the previously stated goals, undergraduate research has several specific objectives to:

  • provide this opportunity to as many students as possible including those from under represented groups
  • support and mentor students in their development as scholars
  • increase the opportunities for post-graduate fellowships and study
  • increase the opportunities for post-graduate fellowships and study
  • improve the quality of student/faculty scholarship
  • develop teamwork and communication abilities
  • support creative/original endeavors across the disciplines
  • advance personal development and discipline specific skills
  • encourage the highest level of ethical behavior
  • assess and disseminate the outcomes of undergraduate research.

...And Their Advancement

Advancing these objectives is the primary responsibility of the Undergraduate Research Center (URC), established in 1998 under the terms of the NSF-Award for Integration of Research and Education. The URC administers the following programs to meet these objectives: Summer Research Seminar Program, Academic Student Project Awards (ASP) for on-campus work during the academic year for which the student earns academic credit, ASP and Richter-ASP travel awards to support off-campus research and conference presentations, Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) for full-time research during the 10-week period in the summer, means-tested Summer Room/Board awards to students living on campus and receiving a stipend under a faculty member’s grant, and targeted summer and/or academic-year Fellowships funded by either Beckman, Norris, National Science Foundation, Sherman Fairchild, or Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants. Parallel to these efforts, the URC also administers the undergraduate research assessment project that examines student learning outcomes, student achievement, and participation, as well as maintaining the URC web site for the dissemination of research opportunities and research results.

Students who seek support under these programs work in collaboration with a faculty mentor to prepare a 2-to-3-page proposal describing the project, significance, and methodology; 1-to-2-page personal statement describing the educational impact of the work; 1-page budget; and their mentor must provide a separate letter of support. Recommendations for funding are made by members of the URC Advisory Committee. Students are selected for support under URC administered programs based upon the previously listed documents and without regard to financial need.

To learn more about opportunities, support, and to read the URC Newsletter, please visit the URC website.


Browse the Undergraduate Research Center Collections:

URC Student Scholarship