Council on Undergraduate Research Issues Updated Definition of Undergraduate Research

Work of Task Force Reflects Wider Scope, Attention to Diversity and Inclusion 

The Undergraduate Research Definition Task Force of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) announced an updated definition for undergraduate research, reflecting the broadened scope for undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry as well as attention to equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

The updated definition is the following: 

Undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry is fundamentally a pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. With an emphasis on process, CUR defines undergraduate research as: 

A mentored investigation or creative inquiry conducted by undergraduates that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge. 

Said Jeanne Mekolichick (Radford University), CUR president and chair of the task force, “The updated definition seeks to reflect the inspiring expansion in undergraduate research that encompasses various types of projects, mentors and mentees in diverse fields, institution types and settings, and mentors and students from a range of academic and personal backgrounds. Undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry enriches undergraduate education and helps students achieve their academic and career goals through the critical skills they gain and sharpen through these experiences.” 

Said Lindsay Currie, CUR executive officer, “The work of the task force reflects CUR’s strategic goal on diversity, equity, and inclusion at many levels, involving mentors, mentees, academic disciplines, and institutions. It is hoped that the updated definition may assist individuals and institutions as they establish new undergraduate research programs or contemplate enhancements to their existing programs.”  

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.