Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI)
The American Association of Community Colleges reports that an estimated 12.8 million students are enrolled at community and technical colleges. These numbers account for 45% of all U.S. undergraduates, and highlight the increasing impact that community colleges are having on the education of post-secondary students. Several recent reports have made recommendations on the importance of providing an authentic undergraduate research experience in the first two years of a student's post-secondary education. While evidence continues to mount regarding what needs to be accomplished, little is known about how to achieve the desired reform. What is needed is a model of reform that can be tested, evaluated, refined, characterized and disseminated nationally. The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) is a national consortium of community colleges, four-year institutions, government agencies, and private organizations dedicated to the development, implementation, and assessment of sustainable models for integrating an undergraduate research experience into community college STEM programs.
This project will support an expansion of the CCURI network, along with the addition of several enhancements to the model, and support research related to the impact of the CCURI model on institutional culture change, faculty instructional practices, and student persistence in STEM pathways. Two main questions will guide the research and evaluation efforts of this project. 1) How does an institution move from a culture of "no research" to a culture of "research as the norm," with research as an integral part of the student experience? 2) What factors promote or constrain culture change from "no research" to "research as the norm?" Data gathered in response to these questions will improve the STEM undergraduate enterprise's understanding of the impact of a research experience during the first two years of a community college STEM program. In addition, the expansion of the CCURI network will lead to the creation of a southwest regional network of community college Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). This expansion provides opportunities for studies to be conducted with respect to the effectiveness of the CCURI model on institutions that serve predominantly underrepresented groups.
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