2018 CUR Fellows Awardees Promote Excellence in Undergraduate Research

CUR to Honor Leadership of Sandra Gregerman (U Michigan) and Bert Holmes (UNC Asheville)

150316_gregermanSandra Gregerman (director emeritus of the Undergraduate Holmes_headshotResearch Opportunities Program at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Bert Holmes (Philip G. Carson Distinguished Chair of Science and professor of chemistry at University of North Carolina at Asheville) will receive the 2018 CUR Fellows Award. The awards will be presented in early July at the 2018 CUR Biennial Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia.

The biennial awards are presented to individuals who have developed internationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Each CUR Fellow’s institution is also awarded a Brian Andreen Student Research Fellowship that goes to support the awardee’s undergraduate research colleagues at his or her institution.

Said Nadine Barlow, CUR Fellows Committee chair, and professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University, "Sandra Gregerman and Bert Holmes have had a huge impact on undergraduate research at both their home institutions and at the national level. They truly exemplify the spirit of the CUR Fellows Award, which recognizes individuals who excel in teaching, scholarship, and mentoring of undergraduate students, and who provide leadership in the area of undergraduate research." Said CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth L. Ambos, “The leadership provided by Bert Holmes and Sandy Gregerman to the international undergraduate research movement is transformative: both in terms of broadening access to undergraduate research and in developing co-curricular and curricular avenues to expand high-quality undergraduate research experiences and mentorship.”

Gregerman’s strong and sustained leadership has significantly advanced both the practice of and fundamental research on the importance of early undergraduate research experiences for underrepresented minority students. For more than 20 years, Gregerman directed the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center (UROP) at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, building it from a small pilot program designed to increase retention of underrepresented minority students to a much-emulated program serving 1,400 students and 900 faculty mentors each year. Not only did Gregerman’s work create pathways for thousands of University of Michigan students to successfully complete their undergraduate degrees and transition to careers and advanced studies, she also co-led several landmark research studies that provided compelling evidence that early undergraduate research experiences would assist with student retention and graduation, particularly for students from underrepresented groups. Statements from UROP graduates laud Gregerman’s influence and mentorship: “I cannot think of a better person to be recognized by CUR for her commitment to undergraduate research and mentorship. I owe all of my achievements to Sandy…. The culture she promoted was one of trust and endless learning… She is a humanitarian and an educator. Sandy is the light at the end of the tunnel.” A founding member of CUR’s Undergraduate Research Programs Division, as well as CUR’s acclaimed Initiating and Sustaining Undergraduate Research Institute, Gregerman also served as a member of the board for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Mentoring (PAESMEM) in 1999, Gregerman also has received a National Science Foundation award for integration of research and teaching in 2002, as well as the University of Michigan’s Carol Hollenshead Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change in 2015.

For more than 40 years, chemist Bert Holmes has been a charismatic leader within the undergraduate research movement. A prolific researcher in the chemistry of chlorofluorocarbons with an impressive record of more than 25 years of continuous NSF funding, he has mentored hundreds of students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers as scientists. He has produced close to 50 peer-reviewed publications with more than 80 undergraduate coauthors and made more than 100 conference presentations with his students. The statement of one former student highlights both Holmes’ passion for research and his deep commitment to his students’ success:

"Bert has been what I consider to be the exemplar of an undergraduate professor and has dramatically influenced hundreds of young minds in extraordinary ways. As I look back at my career, my extremely dedicated work ethic started … with my observation of Bert who was extremely dedicated to his profession. He got in early, worked until late in the evenings and was always in the office or lab on the weekends…. Overall, Bert has an exceptional ability to inspire excitement for research in young students and provide the environment for them to have success in undergraduate research."

In addition to his substantial chemistry research achievements, Holmes has provided national leadership within CUR as a mentor and coach for more than 50 academic institutions and has published widely in undergraduate research theory and practice. He served as an NSF program officer from 2008 to 2011 and received the American Chemical Society’s 2014 award for research at an undergraduate institution. Holmes continues to sustain the profound commitment he has made to pursuing excellence in undergraduate research programs and to assisting other faculty to follow his example.


The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty and student development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research, scholarship, and creative activities. More than 700 institutions and more than 13,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.

The University of Michigan, founded in 1817, includes 19 schools and colleges with liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies. Enrollment of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students is more than 43,000 with 3,000-plus faculty members. The broad scope and overall size of U-M’s research program, along with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, contributes to Michigan’s standing as one of the world’s leading research universities.

With more than 3,800 students from 37 states and 28 countries, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Asheville is one of the nation’s top public liberal arts universities and one of the 17 institutions in the University of North Carolina system. UNC Asheville offers more than 30 majors leading to the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of fine arts degrees. The university also awards a master’s degree in liberal arts and sciences.


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