Weaving Together Undergraduate Research, Mentoring of Junior Faculty, and Assessment: The Case of an Interdisciplinary Program

Abstract

Scholars in teaching and learning value student research and program assessment as strategies to promote excellence in undergraduate education. Yet, in practice, each can be complex and difficult to sustain. This case study demonstrates how undergraduate research, mentoring of junior faculty, and assessment can be integrated in ways that enrich the educational experiences of students and the professional development of faculty and improve research on teaching and learning. The authors describe a lively undergraduate research project that became tied to the mentoring of assistant professors and then to program assessment. We conclude with recommendations for implementing such a project in other academic settings.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Thomas.

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Elizabeth Thomas is Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and teaches courses on inquiry in the social sciences, community psychology, and psychology and the arts. Her research examines sociocultural contexts for learning and development with a particular focus on the role of the arts and the potential of participatory action research strategies.

Diane Gillespie is Professor and Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS) at The University of Washington, Bothell, received her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in Cultural and Psychological Studies in Education. She teaches multicultural social science courses and qualitative research. Her recent publications explore the importance of narrative for reflective teaching and learning, learning in small groups, and the role of human rights in nonformal education.

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Thomas, E., Gillespie, D. Weaving Together Undergraduate Research, Mentoring of Junior Faculty, and Assessment: The Case of an Interdisciplinary Program. Innov High Educ 33, 29–38 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-007-9060-x

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Key words

  • undergraduate research
  • program assessment
  • faculty mentoring