Learning Through Research


Research Across the Curriculum

Below you will find vignettes from some CUR P&A members who have implemented undergraduate research across the curriculum:

Latest News

David Peak Selected as 2018 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee

David Peak, professor of physics at Utah State University, has been selected as the 2018 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Awardee.

Nominations Sought, 2018 Mentor Award, CUR Physics & Astronomy Division

The Physics and Astronomy Division of CUR invites nominations for the CUR-PA Mentor Award.

NCUR 2018 submission deadline extended

Student submissions for this year's National Conference on Undergraduate Research are due on Fri, Dec 8, 2017.



In 1985, about seven years after the establishment of CUR as a society for promoting undergraduate research primarily in chemistry, a disciplinary council in physics and astronomy became a formal part of CUR. Physicists at predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs) were responsible for bringing physics into the mix. This group included Jim Cederberg, St. Olaf College, David Peak, then at Union College, and John Van Zytveld, then at NSF on leave from Calvin College. It was a critical crossroads in the development of CUR as we know it today. Currently, the Division of Physics and Astronomy includes 223 members from 137 PUIs ( 86 private and 51 public). The Division has been very active in supporting research with undergraduates in physics and astronomy:


To communicate with councilors, other members of the Physics and Astronomy Division, or other people interested in undergraduate research in physics and astronomy, we also off the CUR P&A blog, a Facebook group, and for members only a LinkedIn group


Every year, eight new members are elected to the 24-member Divisional Council. Each Divisional Council (and there are ten other discipline-based councils--Arts&Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Health Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Science, Psychology, Social Sciences, -- an interdisciplinary At-large Council, and a Council for Undergraduate Research Program Directors) represents the membership of that division. The Council meets once a year to make recommendations to the Executive Board on policy issues and programming, through its general assembly and its various committees.  An Executive Board oversees the financial aspects of the organization as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Executive Board.  



  • Gathering and sharing information about undergraduate research funding

  • Gathering and sharing information about curricular opportunities

  • Identifying and delivering support services to departments and faculty, both junior and senior

We do these by offering the following programs and services to our members a part of a CUR-wide effort to promote research with undergraduates.  Our division advances the mission of CUR by focusing on undergraduate research issues in the areas of physics and astronomy.

  • Grant and tenure portfolio reviews (our Mentoring Service): Experienced faculty helping others along - this is the essence of CUR.  Contact Beth Cunningham and she will match you with someone close to your interests, with whom you can discuss job applications, grant applications, tenure documents, or whatever professional mentoring needs you may have.
  • Departmental reviews: The various divisions of CUR offer program review services, whereby selected members of undergraduate faculties serve as reviewers to primarily undergraduate science, mathematics and engineering departments, divisions, or faculty members.  If your department/division is undergoing review, consider a CUR review.  Contact the CUR National Office who will put you in touch with the appropriate person.  For more information on the CUR's Program Review Committee click here.

  • CUR Conference in even-numbered years: You will have a chance to meet other faculty in your field and share ideas and learn of funding opportunities for undergraduate research from representatives of major granting agencies.  Many workshops are offered and led by members of our division.  Examples: Designing Webpages to Showcase Research with Undergraduates, Undergraduate Research in Astronomy, and How to Help Undergraduates Successfully Complete Senior Independent Projects.  For more information on CUR's next Conference click here.

  • Posters on the Hill: Very much a PR event designed to impress upon our legislators and federal agencies the importance of undergraduate research, this is  a wonderful opportunity for you and your student to interact with your representatives in Washington.  Highly competitive, only 60 posters are chosen from among more than 300 applications.  For more information on the Poster Session click here.

  • "How to" booklets: 

    • How to Develop and Administer Institutional Undergraduate Research Programs, by Toufic Hakim, current President of CUR and a member of the Physics/Astronomy Division

    • How to Get Started in Research, now in its second edition

    • How to Get a Tenure-track Position at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution, by Patricia Videtich, Deborah Lycan and Michelle Bushey.

    • How to Mentor Undergraduates, 2002, by Carolyn Ash Merkel and Shenda M. Baker.

    • Reinvigorating the Undergraduate Experience, 2004, by Janet Stocks and Linda Kauffman.

    For more information or to order these publications click here

CUR's Physics & Astronomy Division is an AIP Affiliated Society. Our members qualify for reduced subscription prices on AIP's magazines, Physics Today and Computing in Science & Engineering, and journals. To learn more, visit the AIP Affiliated Societies Web page. div_phy2