Creation of a collegial network between researchers and undergraduate students at The University of Queensland

Farrand, Kirsten and Myatt, Paula (2009). Creation of a collegial network between researchers and undergraduate students at The University of Queensland. In: Conference proceedings : motivating science undergraduates : ideas and interventions. UniServe Science Conference, Sydney, Australia, (44-50). 30 September - 2 October, 2009.

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Author Farrand, Kirsten
Myatt, Paula
Title of paper Creation of a collegial network between researchers and undergraduate students at The University of Queensland
Conference name UniServe Science Conference
Conference location Sydney, Australia
Conference dates 30 September - 2 October, 2009
Convener Alex Hugman
Proceedings title Conference proceedings : motivating science undergraduates : ideas and interventions
Place of Publication Sydney
Publisher UniServe Science
Publication Year 2009
Year available 2009
Sub-type Fully published paper
Start page 44
End page 50
Total pages 7
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Abstract/Summary It is widely believed that authentic research experiences in science are pivotal in providing context to undergraduate student learning and providing a true sense of what it means to be a 'scientist' (Boyer Report 1998, Healey and Jenkins 2009). Research intensive universities might be expected to have the greatest potential for involving students in authentic research (Turner, Wuetherick and Healey 2008), however, their students often feel alienated from the research culture (Zamorski 2002), and frustrated when their participation in the authentic research activities of the university are delayed (Robertson and Blacker 2006). Therefore universities, and research-intensive universities in particular, are being expected to develop strategies for welcoming students into their research culture during the early undergraduate years. An innovative model for introducing first year undergraduate science students to the research culture of a large research-intensive university has been implemented at The University of Queensland (UQ). The Undergraduate Science Students’ Experience in Research (USSER) Network invites large numbers of undergraduate science students from their first semester at university, to meet with UQ researchers over lunch, tour research facilities on campus, and gain access to the daily workings of research groups through flexible placements. Following the establishment of the USSER Network in March 2008, approximately 170 students have had lunch with over 40 researchers, and approximately 40 students have toured three research facilities. Eighteen research groups have offered work experience placement opportunities, and ten students have undertaken placements in the first or second year of their degree. Participating students and researchers have reported that the USSER Network provides excellent networking opportunities, with a key feature of the program being the small group format of the lunches. Students have expressed overwhelming gratitude for the informal opportunities to talk with researchers, and discover more about the diversity of research being conducted at their institution and the research-based career paths available to them. To foster the growth of the authentic research experience aspect of the USSER Network program in 2009, Placement Workshops have been implemented, with fourteen students participating thus far. In addition, there has been a large amount of interest in the USSER Network across the University, and the planning phase is underway to disseminate the USSER Network model to several research disciplines across UQ. This paper will introduce the key features of this innovative networking program, highlight the successes and plans for improvement of the model, and provide mechanisms for the generalisation of this model beyond science.
Subjects 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keyword undergraduate research experience
first year experience
References Boyer Report (1998). S. S. Kenny - The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University: Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A blue print for America’s research universities.[Online] Available: [2009, June 22]. Edwards, A., Jones, S. M., Wapstra, E. and Richardson, A. M. M. (2007) Engaging students through authentic research experiences. UniServe Science Teaching and Learning Research Proceedings 168-171. Healey, M. (2005) Linking Research and Teaching to Benefit Student Learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 29(2), 183-201. Healey, M. and Jenkins, A. (2009) Developing undergraduate research and inquiry. York: The Higher Education Academy Hunter, AB., Laursen, S. L. and Seymour, E. (2007) Becoming a scientist: the role of undergraduate research in students’ cognitive, personal, and professional development. Science Education 91: 36-74. Jenkins, A. (2004) A guide to the research evidence on teaching-research relations. York: The Higher Education Academy. Lopatto, D. (2004) Survey of undergraduate research experiences (SURE): first findings. Cell Biology Education 3: 270-277. Lopatto, D. (2007) Undergraduate research experiences support science career decisions and active learning. CBE – Life Sciences Education 6: 297-306. Robertson, J., and Blackler, G. (2006). Students’ experiences of learning in a research environment. Higher Education Research and Development 25(3), 215–229. Seymour, E., Hunter, AB., Laursen, S. L. and Deantoni, T. (2004) Establishing the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates in the sciences: first findings from a three-year study. Science Education 88: 493-534. Turner, N., Wuetherick, B., and Healey, M. (2008). International Perspectives on Student Awareness, Experiences and Perceptions of Research: Implications for Academic Developers in Implementing Research-Based Teaching and Learning. International Journal for Academic Development 13(3): 199-211. Zamorski, B. (2002). Research-led teaching and learning in higher education: A case. Teaching in Higher Education 7(4), 411–427.
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes Conference theme: Motivating Science Undergraduates: Ideas and Interventions

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Created: Wed, 11 Nov 2009, 23:08:18 EST by Dr Paula Myatt on behalf of Teaching & Educational Development Institute