GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 26-16
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


KOY, Karen A. and ECKDAHL, Todd, Biology, Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, Saint Joseph, MO 64507

The Program of Research, Teaching, and Applied Learning (PORTAL) is designed to incentivize faculty to engage undergraduate students in research. The program was created by the faculty of Missouri Western State University, a regional open enrollment institution. Missouri Western is a primarily undergraduate teaching-focused institution that serves both rural and urban communities in northwest Missouri. It has been designated the official applied learning institution for the state of Missouri. More than 5,600 undergraduates are enrolled in the University, with 86% coming from in-state. Over half of the undergraduate students are first-year college students. PORTAL was initiated in 2011 through the Biology Department (which also houses Earth Sciences) as a pilot program to support faculty research with undergraduate students during the summer session. The program was adopted campus-wide in 2012. PORTAL awards consist of a summer stipend to faculty who directly provide applied learning experiences for undergraduate students. Research experiences have included paleontology, ornithology, herpetology and synthetic biology. Many PORTAL students choose to continue to participate in independent research with faculty during the regular academic year. In the Biology Department alone, the PORTAL program has resulted in over a dozen student-authored peer-reviewed publications and over 70 student-authored presentations at regional or national professional conferences. Many PORTAL students have also gone on to complete post-graduate education and/or land jobs within industry, government or academia.