Undergraduate Research Portal Launched
Pat Jacoby | October 5, 2009
A new Web portal specifically designed to help undergraduates find research opportunities has been launched at UC San Diego.
The new site provides an entry point for undergraduates into research across the campus. “The portal is instrumental in providing a live communication between the students and the research community at UCSD,” said Paul Yu, associate vice chancellor for Research Initiatives, who co-chaired the Undergraduate Research Portal committee with Warren College Provost Steven Adler. “The future development of the site will allow us to reach out to the large research and development community in San Diego on behalf of our students.”
One of the site’s initial goals is to provide content and tools to help students find or create research projects, and to offer faculty content and tools that allow them to connect with students looking for these opportunities. It also serves to inform students how their research is contributing to the expansion of new knowledge that influences the environment, history and the world’s social fabric.
“Research is a great leveler,” said David Artis, dean of Undergraduate Research Initiatives. “If you’ve got a really good idea, it doesn’t much matter that you’re a first-year student, or a first-generation student whose family didn’t go to college. The quality of your work speaks louder than anything else. If you’re a smart student and doing good research, you’re going to get a lot of affirmation and support.”
In keeping with UC San Diego’s stature as a premier research institution, the portal’s content stresses that research opportunities for undergraduates are not limited to scientific areas but include all academic disciplines. Several sections provide key information to assist students in understanding how to get started. An overview describes research and why it is valuable to an undergraduate; one section on self-assessment tells how to take stock before committing to a specific research area; another describes how to get an undergraduate research project off the ground and offers links to a broad array of campus academic departments and programs offering opportunities for involvement. “End Results” outlines how undertaking such a project can be an invaluable experience during and after students’ undergraduate careers.
After reviewing the new site, UC San Diego student Kate Jacbosen noted, “After reading the pages, ‘Why Should I Do Research’? and ‘Tips for Getting Started’, I became excited to immerse myself in the research field. Another thing I also enjoyed were the examples of UCSD students who had done research in a variety of fields, from biology to performance art.”
In addition to tips and resources for how undergraduates can become involved in research, the new portal highlights student profiles, an events calendar, frequently asked questions, and links to UC San Diego news features and videos. Also available is an interactive “bulletin board,” where students and faculty can post queries about specific project opportunities.
“I felt that the website provided a great first step for an undergraduate to start their search for research experience, “ said UC San Diego freshman Brett Rasmussen. “The FAQs did a good job in not only highlighting some of the main concerns answered in the webpage but also addressing outside concerns that many entering freshmen are bound to have concerning the research process.”
Gabriele Wienhausen, associate dean of Biological Sciences, noted that “This is a research university with big classes, lots of competition, and a huge opportunity for undergraduates to work with cutting-edge researchers who invent the future. If you don’t try to get involved in research, you are missing out on one of the reasons for being here.”
The site was created as a campuswide initiative, with input from a committee comprised of representatives from Academic Affairs, Research Affairs, Student Affairs, and University Communications and Public Affairs in the Chancellor’s Office.