Undergraduate Research

What is Undergraduate Research?

Undergraduate research is undergraduate students learning by doing - the pinnacle of active learning. Since students reinforce and expand their knowledge through active inquiry in scholarly and discipline research processes, the guidance of an undergraduate research faculty mentor is one of the purest forms of teaching. The research experience may vary by discipline and focus, and be academic, applied, design-based, or creative. It may range from open-ended to authentic inquiry, but it is useful to students and often the discipline of study. Students will receive training on elements of research or scholarship such as discipline-specific methodology, library research and literature review, ethical standards of research, safety (if applicable), effective project management, and communication and presentation skills.

Why participate in Undergraduate Research?

Community colleges play an important role in a transforming model of higher education in the US. In 2015-16,  49% of all bachelor’s degree recipients in the US started at a community college. Therefore, there is a need for developing programs introducing and promoting undergraduate research at community colleges in general and at Valencia in particular.

According to the Council on Undergraduate Research, “Community colleges provide educational opportunities for students to earn pre-baccalaureate certificates or degrees, transfer to four-year institutions, or complete workforce and skill development programs. Each of these respective types of students would be better prepared for the next step in their careers if they were able to participate in quality undergraduate research experiences.”

How to get involved

Students who are interested in undergraduate research can do so through coursework, scholarship programs, or via a workshop series offered each semester. Each semester, Valencia offers a variety of embedded research courses. For students seeking independent research experiences, the IDH 2911 and IDH2912 courses will allow for a deepened understanding of research practices in their field.

Faculty members can engage in undergraduate research through an embedded course research model or a mentor model. The embedded model uses an existing class and replaces one or more learning activities with associated assessments with an undergraduate research project to meet course learning outcomes. For example, an existing lab experiment may be replaced with an inquiry-based lab, an individual research project, or a class project. The mentoring model allows individual Valencia students to do research one-on-one with a faculty member. Faculty are encouraged to explore Valencia College's professional development courses on undergraduate research.

Get Involved

Email UR@valenciacollege.edu and/or visit us online to learn more about enhancing academics through undergraduate research.