Virtual Biennial Conference (VBC) 2020
June 28 - July 1, 2020

Inclusivity in Research: Scholarly Inquiry throughout the Undergraduate Experience




VBC 2020 provides an opportunity for faculty, administrators, staff, academic and community partners, and policy-makers to share individual and collaborative investigations, either interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary, in local, national and international contexts, and to showcase models of UR activities at all types of higher education institutions. The overall goals of the conference are to highlight the value of UR and for participants – from two- and four- year colleges, universities and communities - to learn from each other to broaden the opportunities for undergraduates to participate in collaborative scholarly work and creative activities. 

In support of these efforts, this virtual conference focuses on novel ideas, which when applied to any context, national and/or international, offer practical strategies and future directions. Our overall schedule is compromised of 5 pre-conference workshops, 20+ deep dives, 70+ library sessions, and 40+ poster presentations revolving around the following themes: 

  • Assessment in UR - focusing on all types of assessment in UR on students, faculty, curriculum, and institutions.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in UR – focusing on offering UR to a wider audience of undergraduates, faculty, and institutions to increase the diversity of participants, particularly from underrepresented groups and institutions.
  • Integrating and Building UR into Curriculum and Coursework - focusing on building a curriculum that is both research-based and supports UR as an outcome of the curriculum
  • New Models and Settings for UR - focusing on expanding undergraduate research opportunities between higher education institutions, including community colleges and international institutions and beyond academic institutions to research collaborations with business and non-profit organizations.


Registration Type
(Based on Membership)
Virtual Live Rate*
Enhanced $250
Institutional $300
Individual $350
Student $100
Nonmember** $425
Workshops $40
Workshops (Nonmember) $45

*Renew your membership dues before registering and receive a $50 additional discount on your registration. 
**If you are a Nonmember, your registration cost includes a year of individual membership to CUR.




Date Times (in EDT)  
Sunday, June 28, 2020 2PM - 5PM Pre-conference Workshops
  5PM - 6:30 PM Mix and Mingle Virtual Happy Hour
Monday, June 29, 2020 Noon - 1:30PM Intro and Plenary
  2PM - 3:30PM Session Block I
  4PM - 5:30/6PM Session Block II
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Noon - 12:45PM Plenary
  1:15PM - 3:15PM Session Block III
  3:30PM - 5:30PM Poster Presentations
Wednesday, July 1, 2020 Noon - 1PM Closing and Panel
  1:15PM - 3:15PM Session Block IV
  3:45PM - 5:45PM Session Block V

With your registration, you will receive access to our Session Library with over 70+ sessions to watch at your leisure for months after VBC. 


Pre-Conference Workshop I:
A Professional Development Workshop for Postdoctoral Scholars and Graduate Students: Planning and Developing a Successful Research Program 

This workshop will include presentations and discussions about how to plan and develop a successful research program primarily with undergraduates. Some questions to be answered include the following: What are the benefits and challenges of working with undergraduate researchers? How can a strategic approach be employed in selecting students, identifying appropriate projects, and providing effective mentoring to develop student research skills? How can the involvement of undergraduates be leveraged for external funding? Given significant time constraints, how can faculty members use their teaching labs to progress in their research projects? How can a course be structured to optimize the research experience for undergraduates and satisfy personal goals as a researcher?



Pre-Conference Workshop II: 
Integrating and Scaffolding Research into Undergraduate Curricula and Cultures 

Building research—and its elements—into undergraduate courses is a powerful way to expose students to core principles and questions across the disciplines and to achieve deep learning for students. Undergraduate curricula are rich in opportunities for employing this approach, and this strategy can serve to significantly expand student participation and to provide equitable access to undergraduate research beyond traditional one-on-one and/or small-group mentored research experiences. There are many factors to be considered in designing and embedding research across the curriculum. This interactive workshop will apply the lessons learned from the institutional teams of the CUR Transformations Project, which is a National Science Foundation-funded effort involving 24 departments at 12 US institutions. Topics such as applying backward-design principles, curricular scaffolding, mapping learning outcomes, creating effective leadership teams, dealing with faculty workload, and collecting data will be probed. Participants will leave with a set of goals and strategies to transform their own courses and curriculum into a research-rich environment.  


Pre-Conference Workshop III: 
Learning from Data: Image Classification Experiments in UR

Machine learning is a hot field, but without some training, it is difficult to distinguish significant results from artifacts of bad design. In this workshop, participants will learn about a syllabus of experiments involving a tagged animal image database that can facilitate mentoring of undergraduate students in the design, implementation, and assessment of machine-learning research projects utilizing the OpenCV and Scikit-Learn libraries. Data preparation, including dimension reduction, will be discussed.  Common machine-learning methods will be illustrated, including examples of missteps, and the selection of appropriate performance metrics will be covered. Attendees are welcome from all disciplines, but it is recommended that they possess at least a modest knowledge of Python scripting and bring a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop to the workshop.


Pre-Conference Workshop IV: 
CUR Framework: Guided URSCA Establishment and Expansion Opportunities 

Using a combination of interactive and on-demand web-based resources, participants in this pre-conference workshop will learn about the nuts and bolts of effective academic-year and summer URSCA programs (including virtual URSCA Formats). Participants will also begin the development of a strategic plan for their program. This workshop will consist of learning capacities such as a presentation, interactive and facilitated break-out sessions based off varied program formats, and open question and answer panels. As the participants dive deeper into their program, they will be assisted with a baseline institutional assessment and begin developing a strategic plan. Participants will be provided with web-resources to help support their strategic planning and more on with the opportunity to engage in CUR Framework guided sessions to follow*.


ReGISTER YOUR team FOR guided SessionS BUNDLE 

Pre-Conference Workshop 5: 
Making Space for Visible and Invisible Disabilities in Undergraduate Research: A Conversation across Disciplines 

This workshop will foster a conversation about supporting and empowering undergraduate research students and mentors who are dealing with visible and invisible disabilities.  It aims to identify best practices and promote accessibility to undergraduate research opportunities.



Interested in Sponsoring VBC 2020?



Explore our sponsorship packages.

Email Lindsay Currie at for more information and to book your sponsorship! 


Thank You to Our VBC 2020 Sponsors


For more information about the VBC 2020, please contact

Cancellation Policy: In general the cancellation deadline is thirty days prior to the start of the conference, except where explicitly noted. Cancellations requests received in writing to the CUR National Office at prior to the cancellation deadline will receive a full refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee. No refunds will be given after the cancellation deadline. Transfer of registration to another individual before the cancellation deadline is free of charge but subject to member classification charges due to differences in conference rates. Transfer of registration after the cancellation deadline will be charged a $50.00 transfer fee. Institutions may not substitute one participant for another without prior approval of the National Office.