Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science


Ken Yasukawa

Beloit College
30 Years of Research with Undergraduates: Highs, Lows, and Lessons Learned (2009 Anderson Lecture)
A research project can be a transforming experience for an undergraduate and, as a result, many biology departments require or strongly recommend them for their majors. Providing good research experiences for undergraduates, however, requires commitments of time, space, equipment and materials from faculty and their departments. One way to encourage faculty commitment and reduce opportunity costs of undergraduate research is to involve students in faculty research programs, but placing one’s research career in the hands of undergraduates can be a frightening prospect. In my 30+ years at Beloit College I have experienced both the highs and lows of undergraduate research. I describe a few examples of shining moments and dark despair to illustrate the lessons I have learned. On balance my experiences with undergraduate researchers have been both personally rewarding and professionally productive.
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