Implementing an Undergraduate Research Program, Part I: Dealing with Institutional Culture

A group of students performs lab work.
As the American public has increasingly acknowledged the necessity of a college degree, the number of high school graduates seeking higher education has increased. This means that many of our colleges and universities have been admitting more and more students they would not have considered for admission in the past. To respond to the special needs of these students, who are increasingly likely to be first-generation students or from underrepresented groups, faculty and administrators have designed and implemented a number of programs or experiences, including first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, and undergraduate research. Such initiatives are geared to promote student engagement, first-year success, and the likelihood of graduation. Together, these programs have become known as high-impact practices (HIPs) (Association of American Colleges & Universities [AAC&U], n.d.; Hu et al., 2008).

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