Learning Through Research

Strategic Plan 2016-2019

Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)

Strategic Plan 2016-2019

Reach High to Raise Our Profile, Engage Our Members, and Assess Impact

CUR, founded in 1978, is a multidisciplinary organization of more than 10,000 members representing more than 700 institutions.  Its vision is to be more broadly recognized as an international voice and resource for undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activities.  To achieve this vision, we will build on CUR’s mission and strategic pillars described below to:

  • Serve more stakeholders in the undergraduate research enterprise through additional innovative and inclusive programs and services, and proactively contribute to curricular reform that emphasizes undergraduate research opportunities for all students
  • Develop more collaborative networks between higher education and community partnerships that draw on and celebrate diversity of undergraduate research communities and ideas
  • Aggressively engage more members in CUR to provide expertise and assistance to our growing and changing membership, and to encourage more of our membership to take on leadership roles
  • Grow our information resources and tools to better assess all aspects of the undergraduate research enterprise, including impact of undergraduate research

CUR Mission Statement

The mission of the Council on Undergraduate Research is to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

CUR Strategic Pillars

CUR has adopted five Strategic Pillars to aid the organization in planning and envisioning the future of undergraduate research.  These pillars focus on areas that CUR Governance has deemed most important to the mission of the organization.

Integrating and Building Undergraduate Research into Curriculum and Coursework – focuses on building curriculum that is both research-based and supports undergraduate research as an outcome of curriculum.

Assessment of the Impact of Undergraduate Research – examines the outcomes of undergraduate research on students, faculty, curriculum and institutions.

Diversity and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research – offers undergraduate research to a wider audience of undergraduates, faculty, and institutions to increase the diversity of participants, particularly from underrepresented groups and institutions.

Innovation and Collaboration in Undergraduate Research – expands undergraduate research opportunities beyond academic institutions to research collaborations with businesses and nonprofit organizations as well as between higher education institutions.

Internationalization and Undergraduate Research – expands the opportunities for research exchanges, research collaboration, and field research in international settings.

CUR Strategic Plan 2016-2019

Goals & Objectives

CUR will pursue three main goals and the associated objectives articulated below to advance its mission in the next 3 years. Explicit strategies for advancing the specified objectives will be solicited from the National Office, Executive Board, and Divisional leadership. The Executive Board, in cooperation with the Executive Officer, will select particular strategies for implementation based on available resources. The National Office staff will be charged with establishing qualitative and quantitative measures of achievement for these strategic plan objectives, and will report on progress to the Executive Board.

Raise the profile of CUR. By 2019, CUR will achieve significant growth in membership, revenue, resources, and recognition, to carry out its mission and advance the strategic pillars.

Rationale - For CUR to be a broadly recognized international voice and resource for undergraduate research, it must continue to grow in numbers and influence.  Resources (both people and dollars) are essential to achieve this goal. All strategic pillars are addressed through this action domain, particularly diversity and inclusion, and internationalization of undergraduate research.


  • Establish new partnerships with non-CUR entities that help advance CUR’s mission
  • Increase CUR’s public relations, advocacy, and marketing activity
  • Increase and diversify CUR’s revenue resources
  • Create processes to evaluate the effectiveness of CUR’s governance and activities
  • Increase the quality and reach of CUR’s publications

Enhance engagement of membership. By 2019, CUR will achieve significant growth in membership engagement, with specific attention to serving the needs of a changing and rapidly growing membership demographic. CUR will also pursue more extensively new membership opportunities, including students.

Rationale - For CUR to continue to thrive, it must invest in identification and empowerment of the next generation of UR/CUR leaders, including current undergraduate and graduate students. CUR must also continue to strive for greater percentages of engagement of all of its members, starting with its Executive Board and General Council. All strategic pillars addressed, particularly diversity and inclusion.


  • Establish services and programs to specifically engage institutional members as well as individual members
  • Develop, enhance, or expand services and programs for new membership cohorts, including students, postdoctoral fellows, and community college faculty
  • Expand technology-based membership engagement

Assessment of Undergraduate Research. By 2019, CUR will provide the undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity community with programs, services, and information resources that support higher education's assessment of the impact of undergraduate research.

Rationale. CUR has an opportunity to support its mission of "high quality" undergraduate research by providing more information to interested parties concerning national (and/or international) metrics to measure the impact of undergraduate research, including longitudinal measurements, of the impact of undergraduate research. All strategic pillars are addressed, with the primary one being assessment.


  • Develop, enhance, or expand services and programs to help institutions measure participation in and impact of undergraduate research, including longitudinal impacts

Approved by the Executive Board of the Council on Undergraduate Research on January 23, 2016.