Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
DEVELOPING A UNIVERSITY-WIDE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAM AT A NEW, UNDERGRADUATE-ONLY, FOUR-YEAR INSTITUTION, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY - IDAHO, 2001-20013
BYU-Idaho was created from Ricks College in 2001. Ricks College, founded in 1888, had been a large, respected junior college for many decades. Undergraduate research (UR) at Ricks College from the 1960s through 1990s consisted of a few faculty who mentored students as time permitted. Institutional support for research was minimal, but the level of engagement in R&CW was significant for a junior college. BYU-Idaho was commissioned to be a teaching institution focused on student learning. In the early 2000s faculty developed programs and courses but did not pursue R&CW activities. In about 2005 administrators and faculty began exploring how to take advantage of the benefits of R&CW for students and faculty while safeguarding the university’s teaching focus. These efforts led to steady strengthening of R&CW on campus, e.g., we created a campus student research conference; created the Eastern Idaho Entrepreneurial Center, a place for students to develop real-world business skills; initiated student research funding; developed a faculty professional development program that encouraged research; formed the Southeast Idaho Research Institute, a place for students from all disciplines to practice their craft; and formed a university committee to coordinate faculty research. Most recently, we established a College of Scholarship. Today, BYU-I faculty engage in UR to develop themselves and their students. At BYU-Idaho UR is faculty-driven and student-centered. It develops faculty, enhances learning and teaching, prepares students for careers and advanced education, occurs both inside and outside the classroom, and builds relationships with external entities. BYU-I faculty and administrators use these characteristics to determine which research activities are appropriate for BYU-I. The development of BYU-Idaho’s UR program follows a common pattern. As such, individuals trying to build or strengthen UR at their institution can benefit from the lessons learned at BYU-Idaho.