Office of Undergraduate Research

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Course Development for Research-Intensive Courses

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) supports faculty in developing and assessing research-intensive courses. In addition to the Research Course Development Grant Program, the OUR also works with individuals and departments to identify and strengthen the research-related learning outcomes of particular classes and degree programs.

Research-Related Learning Outcomes

Research-related learning outcomes can fall into a number of different categories. Below are some examples of research-related learning outcomes from a variety of disciplines, programs, and courses. Note that some learning outcomes are stated in very general terms, while others are more specific to a particular discipline or course content.


Upon completing this course/program, students will be able to:

  • Cite primary literature to support or refute an argument
  • Identify and gather information from credible primary and secondary sources
  • Describe key examples of the archaeological data relevant to the biblical literature of the Greco-Roman period
  • Analyze the biblical literature and manuscript history of the Greco-Roman period (333BCE – 350 CE) with reference to the contemporaneous historical, political, social and cultural context.

Methods and Design

Upon completing this course/program, students will be able to:

  • Design an experiment that tests a valid hypothesis
  • Recognize and understand the diverse vocabulary of literary and cultural theory
  • Recognize assumptions and devise basic research designs, test questions, arguments, and hypotheses with qualitative and/or quantitative methods

Measurement, Statistics, and Equipment

Upon completing this course/program, students will be able to:

  • Interpret basic statistical analyses

Writing and Communicating Research

Upon completing this course/program, students will be able to:

  • Write a scientific paper that evaluates data and constructs a cogent argument
  • Correctly cite literature in APA format

Research Course Development Grant Program

USD aims to establish faculty/student research and creative inquiry as a distinguishing feature of an undergraduate education at USD. With generous support from a W. M. Keck Foundation grant, the Course Development Grants (CDG) are available to support the incorporation of undergraduate research into the curriculum.  Proposals from individual faculty members and from teams of faculty members in departments that have developed undergraduate research programs will be considered.  

Along with a faculty stipend of $1,000, funds are available to engage grant recipients with an external consultant/expert to facilitate course development.  Faculty will work on designing syllabi during Spring 2015 (Summer 2015) for courses to be taught in Fall 2015. The course development process will facilitate the development of a research-intensive classroom environment where active learning and real-world problem solving take place. Participants will read articles and attend workshops offered through the Center for Educational Excellence that focus on articulating learning outcomes and course goals, syllabus development, fostering active learning, and assessment of student work and courses.


Applicants must be USD tenured or tenure-track professors who regularly teach undergraduate courses. Applicants (or at least one member of a department team) must be scheduled to teach the target research class, lab, or studio in Spring 2016. The term “research” is used broadly; faculty in the humanities and arts who will teach a course related to developing skills fundamental to conducting scholarly work in their field are encouraged to apply as well.

Application Process

The Course Development Grants application should be submitted as a single .pdf file by 5pm, May 29, 2015.  Decisions will be announced by June 20, 2015.

Please include the following:

Cover sheet (limit 1 page)

Include name/s, department/program, appointment title/s, and number of years as faculty at USD. The cover sheet must also include your chair’s name and signature

Project Aims (limit 2 pages)

Describe the course and student learning outcomes you expect to achieve with support from this grant.  Feel free to include suggestions for appropriate workshops/development activities and an expert/consultant who might facilitate your achieving the grant goals.  If this is a group proposal, delineate the roles of each faculty member in the team.

Abbreviated curriculum vitae (limit 2 pages)

Highlight any prior mentoring experiences, academic collaborations with students, and research/scholarly productivity.

If you have questions about the Course Development Grants or the application process, please contact Sonia Zárate, Director for the Office of Undergraduate Research, at

General Timeline

  • May 29, 2015 at 5pm - Application Due
  • June 20, 2015 - Decisions announced
  • Fall 2015 semester - Preparation for Spring 2016 course
  • Spring 2016 semester - Teach Course 

Course Development Grant Recipients

2014 - 2015

Colin Fisher, Ph.D., History 495: Senior Seminar

2013 - 2014

Michelle Camacho Walter, Ph.D., Sociology 494: Special Topics – Capstone Course
Julia Miller Cantzler, Ph.D., Sociology 315W: Environmental Inequality and Justice
Michelle Jacob, Ph.D., Ethnic Studies 332: American Indian Health and Spirituality
Susannah Stern, Ph.D., Communications 265: Introduction to Research Methods


Emily Edmonds-Poli, Ph.D., Political Science 494W: Latin America
Casey Dominguez, Ph.D., Political Science 494W: American Politics
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Political Science 494W: Africa
Atreyee Phukan, Ph.D., English 380: Literary and Cultural Theory
Florence Gillman, Ph.D., Theology and Religious Studies 388: The World of the Bible
Bradley Bond, Ph.D., Communication Studies 265: Introduction to Communication Research
Adina Batnizsky, Ph.D., Sociology 225: Quantitative Methods
Alejandro Meter, Ph.D., Spanish 458: Jewish Latin America