Embedding research into the undergraduate experience greatly enhances student development. However, amid the excitement and unfamiliarity of entering a college atmosphere, options to conduct research are usually realized late in a student's academic career. Structured and accessible opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research kick-starts that personal development. To provide such a platform, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) together established the WCU's Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI). The purpose of SURI is to give students time away from studies to pursue their academic passions without distraction.
SURI aims to enrich the undergraduate experience and encourages students to grow beyond consumers of information into creators of knowledge. SURI sets the stage for students to pursue scholarship, research, and creative activities that broaden their academic experience and prepares them for active engagement in their chosen field.
The 2016 SURI runs from May 23 to June 24. About a dozen students will receive a stipend of $1,500, on campus housing, meals, and access to research and recreational facilities.
Although students undertake the work, they are not alone for the summer. During the application process, a student applicant selects a faculty mentor who has a mutual interest in a field of study. Students design and conduct their research from the ground up with guidance from the mentor. The faculty mentor is compensated one (1) credit hour of time for Summer Session I to participate in SURI. Faculty mentors work with only one student during SURI.
Weekly workshops offer an opportunity for students to learn more about essential research skills, such as formulating a research question, literature searching, and presentation skills. Other networking activities will also be offered.
Students are provided with an opportunity in the following fall semester to present their work to the rest of the campus. A series of oral presentations and poster sessions showcase research findings and where this experience will take them.
SURI does not exist in a vacuum. As integral members of West Chester University's research culture, SURI participants are encouraged to seek external grant funding through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). The ORSP staff provide customized grant searches and facilitate the acquisition of external funds.
Additionally, two SURI students are elected to serve on the WCU Council on Undergraduate Research for the upcoming year. They work closely with the Council's faculty members to promote student research on campus.