The Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) at Jackson State University is funded by the Federal HBCU-SAFRA Title III grant. The Center was established in 2011 to promote undergraduate research, faculty and student research collaborations, and to target critical transition phases of undergraduate students making a successful transition to graduate school, while also helping younger faculty members to become successful and contributing members of their professional disciplines.
The Center is designed to support a teacher-scholar model, in which faculty are expected to regularly produce research that is recognized by their peers and includes the critical element of effective undergraduate research mentorship and productivity. The faculty mentor selected commits to a one academic year project and recruits five or more students to mentor in the research process. Students majoring in all of the academic colleges have opportunities to participate in faculty mentored research activities. The opportunity for the student to participate in research projects with different mentors, with an interdisciplinary team, or in projects that draw upon multidisciplinary practices provides expanded learning and experience. These opportunities allow for peer mentoring opportunities that become important for the intellectual and professional development of the student. Research teams also allow multiple students to share a single research project, with each team member being responsible for a specific part.
A yearly conference sponsored by the Center showcases each faculty mentor’s research project with the student researchers as the presenters. This conference brings together the community of undergraduate scholars in events that include oral presentations, panel discussions, a poster session and interactive sessions.
Jackson State’s institutional designation as a “research intense university” and its commitment to undergraduate research have been instrumental in creating a successful undergraduate research environment that is focused on interdisciplinary research. Interdisciplinary research allows for a diffusion of ideas, cross-trained researchers, the use of statistics, methodologies and the use of special equipment and techniques. The interdisciplinary research across campus has addressed issues and problems of global dimension (health and disease, technological advances, social media, economic systems, art and culture, and societal dynamics).
The Center in collaboration with the Summer Bridge Program and the Richard Wright Center incorporated a research component into the activities of the incoming freshman that would introduce them to various components of research. A total of thirty-seven students volunteered to participate in the initiative that paired them with four CUR faculty mentors. The students were divided into teams where they met with the mentor to develop mini research projects. The students made poster presentations during their recognition program.
The Center for Undergraduate Research has established the foundation for ensuring that the University maintains a campus culture that values and rewards undergraduate research. It is our belief that the early undergraduate research exposure empowers students to become technologically advanced, diverse, ethical, global leaders who think critically, address societal problems, and compete effectively.
For an application and other information about the Center for Undergraduate Research, please contact Mrs. Edna J. Caston at 601-979-0839 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Website address: www.jsums.edu/ugstudies
This activity is funded in Part by Title III.