USD Earns NSF Grant to Fill Void in Research Experiences for College Students

NSF Grant for CURE ResearchThe University of San Diego has been awarded a nearly $600,000 National Science Foundation grant to fund a project to enhance college student learning through course-based research experiences (CURE).

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of San Diego $598,666 to fund a project to enhance college student learning through course-based research experiences (CURE) that provide broader research exposure to more students than current apprenticeship and internship models.

The three-year award will support a team of 15 faculty from 12 institutions, including research intensive universities, undergraduate-focused universities, and community colleges.

The proposal entitled, “An Interdisciplinary Faculty Community Using a Protein-focused Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) to Improve Student Learning,” will be directed by USD Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty members Ellis Bell, PhD; Jessica Bell, PhD; and Joseph Provost, PhD.

“The aim of this project is to transform the impact of teaching laboratories at participating institutions by incorporating quantitative, authentic research into the classroom and curriculum,” said Dr. Ellis Bell.

“This type of high impact teaching has been shown to help students increase their enthusiasm for learning science and earning advanced degrees in the sciences, as well as enhancing of critical thinking skills," said Dr. Provost. 

The project will test two aspects of CURE frameworks to directly affect the learning environment in 56 CUREs courses, involving approximately 1000 students at participating institutions. 

“In addition to creating an active community of faculty who are implementing course-based research experiences for students taking classes in biochemistry, biology and chemistry, we will be able to provide data that will facilitate the efficient and effective creation of new CUREs across fields,” said Dr. Jessica Bell.

The following faculty and institutions are contributing members to the collaborative project:  Ellis Bell, PhD, University of San Diego (principal investigator); Joseph Provost, PhD, USD (co-principal investigator); Jessica Bell, PhD, USD (co-principal investigator); Anthony Bell, PhD, University of San Diego; Kristin Fox, PhD, Union College; Kevin Callahan, PhD, St. John Fisher College; Laura Christian, PhD, West Virginia University; David Hecht, PhD Southwestern Community College; Kate Huisinga, PhD, Malone University; Tamara Mans, PhD, North Hennepin Community College; Amy Parente, PhD, Mercyhurst; Celeste Peterson, PhD, Suffolk University; John Rakus, PhD, Marshall University; Amy Springer, PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Jing Zhang, PhD, University of Nebraska Lincoln.

— Liz Harman

Photo by Nick Abadilla