Case Studies of Research Based Curricula in College Based Higher Education (cbhe) Mick Healey

Case study 6.3 Institutional Research office supports local economic development and student research at Holland College, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Download 255.99 Kb.
Size255.99 Kb.
1   2   3   4

Case study 6.3 Institutional Research office supports local economic development and student research at Holland College, Prince Edward Island, Canada

The Applied Research Department at Holland College supports economic development for Prince Edward Island by solving technical and business problems for industry and community clients utilizing the college's expertise and facilities while enhancing the quality of college programmes. The research undertaken is focussed on key areas closely linked to the college curricula particularly Social Innovation and Science and Technologies.


A central way that this ‘external’ research feeds into the curriculum is through the Applied Research Department supporting capstone projects that are a key feature of the two year applied degree program. Through its links with external local clients the Research Department provides the contacts and expertise for students to undertake a significant applied research capstone project. Two examples follow:

The two year Applied Degree in Culinary Operations program has a required practical, community-based research project in their final year of study. As part of the Directed Foodservice Study course, students conduct research in the foodservice industry within the Culinary Institute of Canada faculty and under employer supervision. The planning process (proposal development) for this research project takes place earlier in the program as a result of work completed in a course titled, Food Service Study Seminar. In the students’ final year of study, they are expected to submit a project proposal by late fall so that their projects can be approved by faculty, the Applied Research department, and the Holland College Research Ethics Board. Research is timed to start in early January. Through the research process, students work independently with guidance from a faculty advisor and an industry liaison. The research projects enable students to implement new skills as they work to meet industry needs. Students are exposed to the entire research process from proposal and ethics application writing, to carrying out the actual project, compiling a report and finally preparing a presentation for a panel of experts. These applied research projects teach students how to carry out a project from start to finish, as well as offering networking opportunities between students and industry partners for potential future employment.
As a part of the two year Energy Systems Engineering Technology program, students are given a choice between completing on-the-job-training or conducting an applied research project with an energy company. If they choose the latter they complete individual applied research projects as a part of the Capstone Project course in the students’ final year of study. The projects focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy and can include information on consumer needs, habits, alternative energy sources, and recommendations. Students focus on the technical aspect of the project and are required to submit a proposal, write a report of their findings and present the final results to the class.

Sources: Correspondence with Audrey Penner (;;;
6.4 Developing student research in science and technology at Georgia Gwinnett College, USA

The college is a four year degree institution founded in 1996 now with 9,000 plus students. In the early years few faculty were involved in research and relatedly there were few opportunities for students to conduct research in their courses or in special undergraduate research programmes.

The School of Science and Technology has developed a range of initiatives to support research by students and staff. In 2009 a multidisciplinary introductory research course was introduced that was appropriate for students in all STEM programmes. To graduate in science or technology students have to complete an undergraduate research project or internship in their senior year. To support this a web site was developed that listed all the available opportunities for students to carry out research and faculty research interests. In 2010 the Faculty convened the first Science, Technology and Research Show that highlighted the research done by students and faculty. In 2011 a ‘meet and greet’ event was initiated where students seeking research opportunities could meet faculty and learn what research they might be become involved with. In 2011 the degree programmes were reshaped to ensure that students were better involved in research based coursework throughout their four year programme. For example, authentic research experiences were introduced into 17 courses, nine of which were at the freshman and sophomore levels. This approach to embedding research in the undergraduate curriculum has supported the growth of the scholarly output of both students and faculty.

Sources: Sloop et al. (2013);;
6.5 Institutional supported community based research Penn State Brandywine, USA

Brandywine is one of the twenty campuses of the Pennsylvania State University system. Its primary mission is providing two year entrance to disciplinary four year courses at other institutions – in particular the nearby Penn State. The institution is small, not well resourced, lacks equipment and does not have any graduate students who commonly play a supportive role teaching undergraduates in other institutions, yet over the years student involvement in research and inquiry has been embedded in a wide range of year one and two courses. Shaped by US conceptions of the ‘scholarship of engagement’ (Boyer 2000), a central feature of the formal curriculum and student and staff volunteering is a range of courses and projects that involve staff and students working and researching with community partners on issues of community concern.

A particular feature of the formal curriculum is the Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement (in many US institutions students have a central focus on one discipline – their major – but they may well take a significant but smaller number of courses in another discipline – their minor). Program faculty, drawn from across the University, encourage, recognize, and systematize student participation in public service or problem-based fieldwork and research. The minor culminates with an approved capstone project. This may be a significant paper, or annotated portfolio, or other demonstration of substantial reflection upon and integration of the minor experience and the broader issue of application of academic theory and practice in the civic community.

Sources: Guertin and Esparragoza (2009);;;;

6.6 Partnering with four-year colleges to support community college student STEM research and transfer opportunities in Chicago, USA

Our collaborative consists of ten Chicago-area community colleges and a growing number of four-year colleges. We work together to recruit and train students for summer research opportunities in the STEM disciplines in the belief that these experiences will incite a passion for science and help ease student transitions from the community college. We recruit from urban and suburban community colleges and a majority of our students come from underrepresented groups, including women, first-generation college students, and ethnic minorities. During the academic year, students enroll in research training courses taught by community college STEM faculty. Here, students learn the skills and habits of science, which prepare them for full-time research projects during the summer with our partners at four-year colleges and universities. We begin preparing students for this transition by actively building community and by hosting three annual poster sessions where students present their research and faculty recruit for the summer programs. In addition to mentoring students while they are doing summer research, the four-year college faculty also help students with the transition from a two-year to a four-year environment. Our program assessment shows students make quantifiable gains in critical workforce and research skills, confidence in their academic abilities, and enthusiasm for pursuing a career in STEM. Over a five-year period, 286 students have participated in the program. Almost all (96%) have completed the academic year program, which consists of both research in the lab and activities to build communication and collaboration skills. Almost half of the students (47%) have done summer research, and over half (54%) have transferred from the community college to the four-year college to complete their undergraduate degrees. Many of the students in our first and second cohort have gone on to graduate school.

Sources: Correspondence with Thomas Higgins (; Higgins et al. (2011); Higgins (in press).
6.7 Engaging honors students in research at Valencia College, Orlando, USA

Valencia is a two year public community college with a high number of students transferring to the linked University of Central Florida. It benefits from strong endowment support from local industries. In 2012 it launched the Research Track for Honors students (in the US system honors is for selected students with high grades). This track requires both a curricular and co-curricular (ie outside the formal curriculum) components to their degree. The plan includes a 2-credit course introducing them to the process of research including tools and resources necessary for them to successfully analyze and use information leading to honors research. There is also a study plan for students to select honors courses (12-15 credits) designed to enhance their research plan.

The capstone is an Honors Project that is completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor. It involves a research project following specific formatting requirements of the discipline. Students present their research to a board of their Faculty Advisor, Honors Director and small group of peers. They are to be prepared to not only present, but respond to questions from the board much like one would expect in presenting a thesis or dissertation.
The co-curricular component is participation in presenting original research at Valencia or conferences, or participating in the editing and publication of an Honors research journal. Opportunities to attend undergraduate research conferences are also provided. A student research community was also established to encourage research for all students, honors or not. It provides workshops related to research, guest speakers from a range of disciplines and an opportunity to work with like-minded students.
Sources: Correspondence with Diana Ciesko (;;;
6.8 Faculty development program at Valencia College, Orlando, USA

Valencia is a two year public community college with a selective undergraduate research program (Case study 6.8). A teaching development program is open to all staff (faculty).To successfully complete the program, the faculty member must complete a minimum of 8 hours in two foundational courses, 6 hours in honors pedagogy courses, and 6 hours in optional learning opportunities. These courses include many that are focussed on helping faculty to support student research and inquiry. Those taking this course are financially supported to attend selected disciplinary and pedagogic conferences.

Sources: Correspondence with Diana Ciesko (;;

  1. National

7.1 Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative: A national STEM consortium at Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, NY, USA

The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) is a national consortium of community colleges, four-year schools, government agencies, and private organizations dedicated to the development, implementation, and assessment of a sustainable model for integrating an undergraduate research (UR) experience into a community college biology curriculum. In partnership with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), CCURI has developed a model for fully integrating undergraduate research at a community college. The model elements focus on the unique barriers that these institutions face as they work toward comprehensive curriculum reform.


The CCURI uses an inquiry-based teaching model where students are exposed to real world science through a case study in an introductory course followed by a hands-on research experience resulting from questions about or related to the case. CCURI is providing resources for institutional partners including introductory workshops and conferences that are building regional and national collaborations, start-up supplies, and a wide variety of faculty development opportunities. CCURI currently supports 32 Community College partners throughout the United States. The goals for the final phase of CCURI’s development are to:

  1. Expand a modified version of the CCURI model to 26 additional community colleges;

  2. Implement a comprehensive evaluation of the CCURI model on student learning, competency, and retention in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects;

  3. Measure the impact of the CCURI model on developing institutional capacity at the 26 additional community colleges that are committed to developing an undergraduate research program; and

  4. Disseminate the modified CCURI model of integration and the customized versions of the model as they exist at the institutional partners within CCURI.


Case study 7.2 The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) supports community based undergraduate research in the USA

CUR supports undergraduate research across the diverse US higher education system and is supported by institutional contributions. It has a wide range of programmes and activities at national level and supports regional and local activities which bring students into the worlds of research. These activities include specific initiatives re the college sector including conferences, special publications (eg Cedja and Hensel 2010), disciplinary resources and a range of funded projects – often funded through bids to the National Science Foundation (Case study 7.18).

Case study 7.3 The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) supported the development of research-informed teaching environments, with funds allocated inversely proportional to an institution’s research funding in England, UK

In March 2006 HEFCE announced additional funding to support research informed teaching (RIT) to be allocated in inverse proportion to an institution's research funding. This was part of HEFCE’s Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund. £40m was allocated over three years. The division between which higher education institutions (including FE Colleges with over 100ftes in HE level work) received funding and those which did not, largely mirrored the old/new university and college divide. HEFCE (2006, 6-7) stated that:

Areas where institutions could invest funds included:

  • keeping the curriculum up-to-date and active, effectively supported by appropriate learning resources linked to recent research

  • ensuring that courses are designed in ways that support the development of learning outcomes appropriate to the knowledge economy, including appropriate pedagogy – that is, students experiencing research, and developing research skills

Case study 7.4 National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Undergraduate Research Collaborative Program which sought to include first and second year college students, USA

The Undergraduate Research Collaboratives (URC) Program funded in 2006 sought new models and partnerships with the potential (1) to expand the reach of undergraduate research to include first- and second-year college students; (2) to broaden participation and increase diversity in the student talent pool from which the nation's future technical workforce will be drawn; and (3) to enhance the research capacity, infrastructure, and culture of participating institutions. This program has helped stimulate a range of initiatives and funding schemes by the NSF to support undergraduate research including primarily undergraduate institutions

Each award provided approximately $3-million over a five-year period. The projects provided blueprints for research-oriented curricula for thousands of first- and second-year college students. An initial award, for a project led by, The Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education, Purdue University, includes nine academic institutions in Illinois and Indiana ( As of 2012 the success of such programmes has resulted in a range of NSF programs to support undergraduate research including programs aimed at primarily undergraduate institutions to promote a more diversified undergraduate population and diverse research workforce.

Sources:;;;; Slocum and School (2013).


Bollag, B. (2006) Award-Winning Teaching: 'Professors of the Year' take varying approaches to winning over their students, Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 January

Ghaye, T. (2010) In what ways can reflective practices enhance human flourishing, Reflective Practice 11(1), 1-7

Ginnis, P. (2001) Hot seating, Free resources for teaching English,

Goss, J. M. and Grinstead, J. (2013) Undergraduate research and learning: First year undergraduate students in the hot seat: co-constructors of knowledge and inquiry in Higher Education, Undergraduate Research News Australia (URNA), 7-8 ‎

Guertin, L.A., Esparragoza, I.E. (2009) Beginning undergraduate research experiences at the freshman and sophomore level at Penn State Brandywine. In: M.K. Boyd and J.L. Wesemann (Eds.), Broadening participation in undergraduate research: Fostering excellence and enhancing the impact. pp.89-100. Washington DC: Council on Undergraduate Research. Available at:

Heuschmann, G. (2009) Tug of war: classical versus ‘modern’ dressage: why classical training works and how incorrect ‘modern’ riding negatively affects horses’ health. London: J A Allen.

Higgins, T. (in press) Undergraduate Research with Community College Students: Models and Impacts”, in M. Cooper, T. Holme, and P. Vharma-Nelson (eds.) Trajectories of Chemistry Education Innovation, American Chemical Society.

Higgins, T. B., K. L. Brown, J. G. Gillmore, J. B. Johnson, G. F. Peaslee, and D. J. Stanford (2011) Successful student transitions from the community college to the four-year college facilitated by undergraduate research, CUR Quarterly 31, 16–21.

Rittel, H. W. J. and Webber, M. W. (1973) Dilemmas in a general theory of planning, Policy Sciences 4, 155-169.

Slocum, R. D. and Scholl, J. D. (2013) NSF support of research at primarily undergraduate -institutions (PUIs). Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly. 34(1), 31-40. Available from:

Sloop J. C., Awong-Taylor J., and Mundie T. G. (2013) Raising student awareness of research opportunities at Georgia Gwinnett College, CURQ on the Web 33 (2), 1-8

Stevenson, C. and O’Keefe, J. (2011) Developing students’ research and inquiry skills from year one: a research informed project from the University of Sunderland, Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 1(1).

Stevenson, C. and Young, L. (2013) A room without walls: using problem based learning in a collaborative real-time virtual space to develop critical research skills in an FE college. In: Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC), 25 - 27 Mar 2013, University of Manchester.

Download 255.99 Kb.

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page