Educational Psychologist Ruth J. Palmer Elected as President-Elect of the Council on Undergraduate Research

Ruth J. Palmer, associate professor emerita in the School of Education at The College of New Jersey, has been elected as president-elect of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). She will take office as president-elect in summer 2021 and become president of the organization in summer 2022.

Palmer’s contributions to CUR include her service as a general representative to the CUR Executive Board, co-chair of the 2016 CUR Biennial Conference, and cofounder of the CUR Education Division. Under her leadership, the division established its first faculty-student research scholarship (to support first- and second-year students in education-related fields) and created working groups to promote faculty and student scholarly engagement in education research. This work has developed into a book project focused on mentored undergraduate research. She was recognized as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year in 2017. 

The teaching portfolio of educational psychologist Palmer has included multiple courses in the US and international programs of TCNJ’s School of Education such as Adolescent Learning and Development; the first-year seminar Pedagogy and Politics of the Civil Rights Movement: A Focus on Citizenship Schools, Freedom Schools, and Community; and practicum-based research and inquiry integrated into courses. Her research interests include professional identity construction in teacher education, mentored undergraduate research, and academic emotions in teaching and learning. Her target research population includes adolescents and emerging adults. She initiated and advised TCNJ’s student-led Secondary Education Teachers Association and its subcommittee, the Undergraduate Research Advocacy Initiative. Palmer served two terms on the Board of Education for the Ewing Township (NJ) Public Schools, including as vice president. She earned a BA in modern studies and a diploma in education (teaching) from the University of the West Indies, as well as an M Ed in school psychology and a PhD in educational psychology from Howard University.

Said Lindsay Currie, CUR’s executive officer, “Dr. Palmer’s thoughtful nurturing of preservice teachers has done much to build their professional identities and equip them with research and other skills so they can become effective educators of the next generation. Her concerns for diversity, inclusion, and access as well as assessment in undergraduate research will be of great benefit as CUR works to fulfill these crucial goals in its Strategic Plan.”

Said Palmer, “To serve as CUR president-elect 2021 is an honor which I receive respectfully. What I envision is that CUR, in service to its membership and not losing sight of its mission, extend its role as incubator of and laboratory for testing and validating ideas related to intellectual leadership for the field of undergraduate research. The organization has the structures that can serve to initiate and support this effort in conjunction with its partnerships with other organizations. CUR can make a road by walking.

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.