REU Site: Undergraduate Biology Education Research Version 3 (UBERV3)

REU Site: Undergraduate Biology Education Research Version 3 (UBERV3)

Project Summary:

This summer research experience will train 24 undergraduate students over three years. We will recruit first generation college students, students from underrepresented minority groups, and students from schools with few research opportunities to become UBERV3 fellows. Undergraduates will collaborate with faculty mentors on individual research projects, and engage in a program offerings organized around three areas: a research strand, a professionalism strand, and an equity strand.

Overview and Goals:

UBERV3 will focus on the discipline-based education research through mentorship with the large number of UGA tenured and tenure-track life science faculty in Biology in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Through this research we will continue to advance our knowledge of biology teaching and learning at the undergraduate level.

After participating in UBERV3 students will be able to: 1) use appropriate methods to collect and analyze data associated with biology education research (BER), 2) critique the findings of educational research studies in the literature, 3) investigate issues of access to scientific careers, 4) communicate their research findings in scientific formats, and 5) outline career pathways in or related to BER or SER. Overall, UBERV3 will contribute to the BER pipeline and advance knowledge and theory in BER.

Strategies for Accomplishing Project Goals:
  1. Each UBERV3 fellow will be assigned to a research team that includes their UBERV3 faculty mentor and other members of their mentors’ research group. This may include postdoctoral research associates, graduate and undergraduate students. The UBERV3 fellows will meet with their research team to collaborate on endeavors such: reading relevant research papers, analyzing data, and sharing the results of the data. UBERV3 fellows will have their own research projects and they will meet with their mentors individually at least once per week. These meetings will be used to answer questions and monitor the progress of the project.
  2. Engage in a professional strand that explores and promotes career opportunities in Biology and Science Education Research through participation in weekly journal club discussions, workshops on education research methods, biology education research meetings, presenting seminars, creating poster presentations, and career panel discussions.
  3. Engage in an equity and diversity strand that examines the requirements, challenges, and promise associated with recruiting and promoting a more diverse population into STEM courses and careers (e.g., diversity in the profession seminar, guest speakers, equity and diversity research statements, readings).
Measuring Success:

Data will be collected from UBERV3 fellows, mentors, and other participants. The UBERV3 fellows will complete the Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE III) surveys to measure perceived gains in the area of research, which consists of research skills, competencies, and confidence. These measures also capture their professional aspirations pertaining to advanced education and/or careers in biology and science educational research. UBERV3 fellows career path understandings and participation in a community of emerging scholars will be measured through surveys, interviews with selected fellows, analyses of offered summer programming, and through artifacts documenting the fellows’ participation in different professional venues. A follow-up survey will be conducted at the end of each summer program to obtain feedback on their development, along with the perceived benefits and weaknesses of each component of the program, including all enrichment activities, and recommendations for improvements. Follow-up email surveys will be conducted with UBERV3 fellows annually to measure the sustainability of the gains they experienced during the summer program and to identify additional opportunities to improve the impact of the program.

Partners (Team Members):

Dr. Tessa Andrews, Associate Professor of Genetics

Dr. Peggy Brickman, Professor of Plant Biology, PI

Dr. Erin Dolan, Athletic Association Endowed Professor of Innovative Science Education and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Ruth Harman Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education

Dr. Kevin J. Burke, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education

Dr. Georgia Hodges, Assistant Research Scientist of Mathematics and Science Education

Dr. David Jackson, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Science Education

Dr. Julie M. Kittleson, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Science Education

Dr. Paula Lemons, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Julie Luft, Athletic Association Endowed Professor of Mathematics and Science Education, co-PI

Dr. Amy Medlock, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the August University/UGA Medical Partnership

Dr. Kristen Miller, Director of Division of Biological Sciences

Dr. Julie Stanton, Associate Professor of Cellular Biology

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