9.3 Framework of Undergraduate Research Experience Participant Gains Linked to Mentoring

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 3:30 PM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Shelley Pressley, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA; and J. LeBeau

Handout (565.6 kB)

Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) play an important role in offering future graduates and workforce employees the knowledge and skills required to develop innovative research, and to be trained to conduct research. It is now becoming evident that multiple mentors for REU participants are often more effective in providing training, thus making the program more successful. Finding ways to improve these programs is of utmost importance to the success of REU programs in reaching their goals and objectives. Recent literature reviews of undergraduate research experience (URE) effectiveness do not provided a cohesive framework of benefit categories that can be utilized to analyze student gains. This presentation provides a framework by which student benefits can be categorized and analyzed, and helps the various mentors understand the numerous benefits to URE participants. The framework was developed by analyzing multiple papers and collecting lists of all benefits gained from URE participation. Similar gains were then grouped together and commonalities between them examined. Four major concepts emerged: (1) Benefits that lead to behavioral changes and a deeper understanding of STEM careers; (2) Gains that lead to increases in one’s belief that they could produce desired results or attain a high level of achievement; (3) Concepts related to cognitive growth, including increased intelligence, attention, judgment and problem solving; and (4) Benefits that lead to changes in personal awareness, including changes in how students view themselves and their career path. Another set of supplementary elements also emerged, and together, these concepts form a framework that includes Professional Socialization, Self-Efficacy, Cognitive Growth, Personal Awareness, and Supplementary Benefits that can be used to assess student gains from URE programs. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the best tools and mentoring strategies for engaging students in high impact practices, techniques for evaluating URE programs, and ideas for better mentoring and training students in areas of critical thinking, professional development, and other important life and career skills.
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