Paper No. 305-1
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM
USING FACULTY LEARNING COMMUNITIES TO SUPPORT FACULTY CREATION OF UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCES
To help faculty at the Community College of Rhode Island effectively create course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), we created a faculty learning community (FLC). FLCs are small groups of faculty members from a variety of disciplines who meet to engage in reflective scholarship around a particular theme over an academic year. Our FLC consisted of seven faculty from five departments (geology, biology, business, psychology, and foreign languages) who met seven times. Each meeting had a defined goal, such as articulating learning objectives for including undergraduate research in our courses; discussing best practices and strategies; and sharing the status of research projects and working together to improve them and overcome barriers. The ultimate purpose of the FLC was to incorporate the high-impact practice of undergraduate research into CCRI’s curriculum more systematically. To evaluate the effectiveness of the FLC and the undergraduate research projects, we surveyed the faculty participating in the FLC as well as the students who participated in their CURE. We found that the faculty felt strongly that the FLC was essential in their successful implementation of undergraduate research. In addition, the students indicated that they benefited from undergraduate research in a variety of ways, including improving their critical thinking, communication, and time management skills. The presentation will discuss the development of a FLC, give tips on its implementation, and describe the results of our evaluation.