CUR Institutes are two- to three-day meetings held on the campus of a higher education institution where individuals discuss an issue related to undergraduate research and faculty development, leading to plans for improvement on their home campuses. Since the goal is institutional as well as individual change, campus-based teams of 3-5 individuals usually attend an institute. The only exceptions are the Beginning a Research Program in the Natural Sciences, which is attended by individual faculty, and the Proposal Writing Institute that is attended by both individuals and campus teams.
A CUR Institute usually provides plenary sessions that inspire and provide background information, small-group sessions where the intensive work of the Institute occurs, and "town meetings" where the entire group discusses issues. Sessions in which the team members from each school work with a facilitator to develop their campus plans are central to a CUR Institute. As each facilitator works with up to three teams, an institute might require approximately 5-8 facilitators. Generally one Institute Coordinator is responsible for general program planning and logistics; he or she may also serve as a facilitator. The plenary speakers (for 2-4 plenary sessions) may be facilitators as well, or they may only deliver a presentation at the institute. Much of the work of the coordinators occurs before the meeting is held, whereas most of the work of the facilitators occurs during the sessions.