Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM
SUPPORTING DIVERSITY IN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAMS--PERILS AND PROMISE IN CREATING TEAMS WITH STUDENTS FROM A DIVERSITY OF BACKGROUNDS
In over a decade of undergraduate research experiences organized by the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, numerous advantages to having participants and mentors work on teams rather than individually have been noted. Students provide support to one another, as do mentors. Isolation is avoided, and participants in general report greater satisfaction when working on teams than individually. In addition, the ability to work on diverse teams has been highlighted as an important skill for the STEM professional of the future. The NCED model was first developed with the Research Experience for Undergraduates on River and Coastal Restoration (NSF GEO-055346) and is now being further refined in the Research Experience for Undergraduates on Sustainable Land and Water Resources (NSF GEO-1156984). However, conducting research on teams is never without perils, and particularly when students come from a wide variety of disciplinary, ethnic, regional, academic, and other backgrounds. Herein we present some of the potential pitfalls, systemic practices that mitigate issues, and suggestions for further increasing communication among participants and mentors and decreasing stress caused by working on teams.