Thursday, January 20, 2011

AAC&U 2011 Summer Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success

Faculty, staff, and administrators interested in developing programs to enhance the undergraduate academic experience might want to attend the AAC&Us Summer Institute on High-Impact Practices.  According to the AAC&U's  High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter, by George D. Kuh (AAC&U, 2008), these include:

  • First Year Seminars and Experiences
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Learning Communities
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning 
  • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects

The Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success—formerly the Greater Expectations Institute—is designed to help campuses develop high-impact practices, activities, and strategies that are engaging to students and effective at improving both persistence and achievement of essential learning outcomes.  Foregrounding the success of students who have historically been underserved, the program is attentive to the nation’s evolving demographic, to diversity, equity, and quality of learning. The curriculum reflects the latest research on practices that help all students to complete their degrees—connecting high-impact learning intentionally to student success. It builds on research suggesting that underserved students benefit even more than do traditionally advantaged students when they participate in high-impact practices.

Location: The University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont)
Dates: June 14-18, 2011
Deadline for registration: March 1, 2011

Call for NEH Summer Seminar Proposals

These grants support faculty development programs in the humanities for school teachers and for college and university teachers. NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes may be as short as two weeks or as long as five weeks. The duration of a program should allow for a rigorous treatment of its topic.

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes:
  • extend and deepen knowledge and understanding of the humanities by focusing on significant topics, texts, and issues;
  • contribute to the intellectual vitality and professional development of participants;
  • build a community of inquiry and provide models of civility and excellent scholarship and teaching; and
  • promote effective links between teaching and research in the humanities.
NEH encourages Summer Seminars and Institutes in the following areas:
  • projects for school teachers or college and university faculty designed to strengthen foreign language instruction at the advanced level through the use of humanistic sources;
  • projects intended primarily for community-college faculty; and
  • projects that respond to NEH's Bridging Cultures initiative. Such projects could focus on cultures internationally, or within the United States. International projects might seek to enlarge Americans’ understanding of other places and times, as well as other perspectives and intellectual traditions. American projects might explore the great variety of cultural influences on, and myriad subcultures within, American society. These projects might also investigate how Americans have approached and attempted to surmount seemingly unbridgeable cultural divides, or examine the ideals of civility and civic discourse that have informed this quest.

Deadline: March 1, 2011 for Summer 2012 (draft proposal can be read if submitted by February 1, 2011)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SURF Gaithersburg

Students are invited to participate in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Gaithersburg, MD Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program for students majoring in science, mathematics and engineering. Note that applications for participation in the SURF program are only accepted from colleges or universities, and not from individual students. Please prepare a single proposal from your institution to the NIST SURF program. This proposal, using the forms provided, will include a portion completed by an institutional representative and a set of materials provided by each student applicant. Students can participate in any one of the six NIST laboratories:
  • Material Measurement Laboratory
  • Physical Measurement Laboratory
  • Engineering Laboratory
  • Information Technology Laboratory
  • Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research
The student application form should indicate in which laboratory he/she is most interested. The applications will be considered by the student's first choice, then second choice and finally by all programs, with consideration of the student's preferences and research interests. Please circulate the information about this program to other appropriate academic departments and administrative staff at your institution.
SURFing is a partnership, supported by NIST, NSF, and the participating colleges/universities. We anticipate providing meaningful research opportunities for approximately 130 students in the Gaithersburg site-wide program. The NIST facilities are located just outside Washington, DC.
Deadline: February 15, 2011

SOARS paid research internships for underrepresented students

SOARS, Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science, is an undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program designed to broaden participation in the atmospheric and related sciences. The program is built around research, mentoring and community. SOARS participants, called protégés, spend up to four summers doing research in atmospheric and related sciences. SOARS offers comprehensive financial support for summer research, as well as undergraduate and graduate school funding. Over 90% of SOARS protégés have gone onto graduate school, and many have entered the workforce with a MS or gone on for their PhD.
Atmospheric Science includes research ranging from processes that are as small as how individual water molecules condense on dust and pollutants suspended in the air to examining how solar flares 2.5 times larger than the earth itself influence the upper atmosphere of the entire planet. Some of the exciting areas of research in our science include understanding a rapidly changing climate and its impact on the Earth and its inhabitants; severe weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods; and the changing chemical composition of the atmosphere.
SOARS invites students from many disciplines--including meteorology, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, ecology, and the social sciences--to apply their expertise to understanding the Earth’s Atmosphere. In particular, SOARS seeks to involve students from groups that are historically under-represented in the sciences, including Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, female, first-generation college students and students with disabilities. SOARS welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students; students who have experienced, and worked to overcome, educational or economic disadvantage and/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers.
Deadline: February 1, 2011

RESESS paid research internships for underrepresented students

The RESESS Internship is a internship program that is dedicated to increasing diversity in the geosciences. RESESS strongly encourages applications from individuals who are members of a group that is historically underrepresented in the Earth sciences, including students who are Black or African American, Native Americans or Pacific Islandesr, and Hispanic Americans or Latinos.

We introduce students to scientific research, prepare students for graduate school, and provide support and encouragement as students build skills and confidence. We provide students with an authentic research experience and encourage them to consider graduate school with an eye to a career in science, whether that is in research, teaching, or industry. Students can participate for up to three years, depending on when they enter the program.

Deadline: February 10, 2011

Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences (UBM)

The goal of the Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics (UBM) activity is to enhance undergraduate education and training at the intersection of the biological and mathematical sciences and to better prepare undergraduate biology or mathematics students to pursue graduate study and careers in fields that integrate the mathematical and biological sciences. The core of the activity is jointly-conducted long-term research experiences for interdisciplinary balanced teams of at least two undergraduates from departments in the biological and mathematical sciences.Projects should focus on research at the intersection of the mathematical and biological sciences. Projects should provide students exposure to contemporary mathematics and biology, addressed with modern research tools and methods. That is, projects must be genuine research experiences rather than rehearsals of research methods. Projects must involve students from both areas in collaborative research experiences and include joint mentorship by faculty in both fields. In addition, it is expected that projects will strengthen the research and education capacity, infrastructure, and culture of the participating institutions. To this end, projects should create models for education in the mathematical and biological sciences and influence the direction of academic programs for a broad range of students. It is expected that project leadership will come from faculty in both the mathematical and biological sciences.

Deadline: February 10, 2011

VT-UCC Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

The primary goal of this program is to engage motivated undergraduates in carefully selected research projects in sub-Sahara Africa towards extending their educational experiences at the global level. The areas of emphasis are ecology, environmental science and conservation biology. Participants will be immersed in the Ghanaian culture to provide them a meaningful experience in a stable West African country with an enormous selection of flora and fauna. Each year, seven students and a high school teacher will be selected to participate in the program.

Deadline: February 11, 2011

Research Experiences for Undergraduates from NSF

I will occasionally post REU opportunities for students here on the blog, but all of the programs, searchable by discipline, are available on the NSF website, and linked to the left.

REUs are usually summer programs, hosted by colleges across the country, in all disciplines supported by NSF (including hard sciences, as well as social sciences). The programs are competitive, and support intensive research experiences for undergraduates.  Students are usually provided with a stipend and housing.

Faculty can apply for REUs, and currently, Mason has one active program in math, run by Padmanabhan Seshaiyer.

Friday, January 14, 2011

QEP in 2011

The Students as Scholars QEP, Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship, has been finalized and is being sent to the printer for distribution to the SACS committee and university community.  It is incredibly exciting to see it (almost) in print.  The final version of the document will be available at in the next couple of weeks.

The SACS committee will be visiting campus at the end of March, and will hopefully approve the QEP (with suggestions for improvement).  We're in the process of planning publicity about the QEP for mid-semester, and preparing to launch OSCAR and the associated programs for the Fall.

Opportunities for student scholarship

Even though the Students as Scholars QEP isn't officially approved until after March, and we won't officially launch the Students as Scholars project through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) until the Fall 2011, there are many opportunities to support student scholarship (at Mason and beyond) that I would like to start sharing with the Mason community now.  I've created this blog as a way to post announcements while we work on the OSCAR website and space.

Posts will fall into two categories.  First, we'll post opportunities that apply to students and faculty, and will try to tag them to make them easier to search.  We'll also post updates on progress of the QEP and OSCAR.

This is my first attempt as using a blog as a way to communicate, so please bear with me as we experiment.

Please feel free to email me opportunities that you would like to share with others, subscribe to the RSS feed for this site, and share with others.

You can contact us through, or email me directly at  I look forward to hearing from you!