WSSU students Jadah Pickney (left) and Leah Walker perform a collaborative lab experiment as part of their biology lab course, which was fine-tuned to emphasize course-embedded research.

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is one of 12 institutions in the nation selected for a four-year project through the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) that will help introduce more students to high-quality undergraduate research.

Throughout the project, funded through the National Science Foundation, CUR will provide four consultants to support WSSU faculty in the Biological Sciences and Chemistry departments as they redesign undergraduate curriculum to focus on faculty-mentored research. CUR also will assist in developing research assessments.

“Providing research opportunities for all students is a high priority for WSSU and identified in the university’s 2016-21 strategic plan,” said Dr. Mike McKenzie, associate dean of student research at WSSU. “Being selected as part of the CUR Transformations Project is vitally important, as it will support this work and help to create lasting institutional change that will positively impact our students.”

McKenzie points to several recent successes:

  • For the 2016-17 academic, the first lab course for all biology majors, General Biology Lab I, was fine-tuned to support course-embedded research. Similar work is planned for the second semester of the first-year lab course.
  • The Department of Chemistry recently aligned the curriculum to make the major more flexible while maintaining American Chemical Society-Committee on Professional Training requirements for certification.

Long term, several courses in both departments are being developed or redeveloped at various academic levels to support scientific research at multiple points during students’ degrees, he said.

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Originally published June 27, 2017.

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