Mission and History

Mission Statement

The mission of the Council on Undergraduate Research is to support and promote high-quality mentored undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry.

CUR provides support and professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Our publications and outreach activities are designed to share successful models and strategies for establishing, nurturing, and institutionalizing undergraduate research programs. We assist administrators and faculty members in improving and assessing the research environment at their institutions. We recognize institutions that have exemplary undergraduate research programs and faculty who have facilitated undergraduate research at their institutions through their mentorship and leadership. We also provide information on the importance of undergraduate research to private foundations, government agencies, state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress. Faculty, staff, administrators, students, and colleagues from all types of academic institutions and organizations form the dynamic CUR membership.

Vision Statement

Enriching and advancing society through undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry. 

Organizational Core Values

  • Excellence in all that we do. 
  • Respect and integrity in all of our interactions. 
  • Flexibility, responsiveness, and innovation in our implementation. 
  • Recognizing and valuing differences in our community. 

History

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) was incorporated in 1980 by a group of chemists from private liberal arts colleges who wanted to provide information about research that was being conducted at liberal arts colleges by faculty, often in collaboration with students. (Read this article by CUR’s first president Michael Doyle that provides a brief history of CUR.)

As the demographics and needs of members have changed, CUR has adapted and expanded to offer supportive environments for a diverse group of individuals and institutions. CUR has grown to include 13 divisions spanning all disciplines, more than 13,000 individual members from undergraduate students to university presidents, and more than 525 institutional members from all types of institutions. Our programs, services, and publication avenues – such as a consulting service for evaluation of institutional programs; a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal; books and other publications, such as newsletters and white papers; and comprehensive social media presence – reach an even larger audience, as CUR’s network spans most disciplinary and higher education associations.

After years of collaboration and discussion, including a joint statement on undergraduate research in 2005, CUR and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research formally merged into one organization in 2011. This merger strengthened the undergraduate research community and expanded CUR’s professional development opportunities to more directly serve undergraduate students.

CUR is uniquely positioned to broadly engage the undergraduate research community due to two main factors: (1) CUR’s divisional structure, which brings together faculty and administrators, as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM disciplines, essential for understanding complex issues affecting undergraduate research; and (2) CUR’s direct engagement with undergraduate students, essential for understanding student success and effective learning issues.

Past Presidents

CUR’s leadership has reflected a wide range of backgrounds, disciplines, talents, and institutional roles. CUR presidents typically serve one-year terms that begin at CUR’s Annual Business Meeting. The following distinguished individuals served as presidents of the organization: