Brad Wuetherick, University of British Columbia
Jenny Olin Shanahan, Bridgewater State University
Jessie L. Moore, Elon University
Undergraduate research has had a long history in the global higher education landscape. We’ve long known that participating in undergraduate research (UR) promotes student persistence, degree-completion, academic and professional skills, academic achievement, and post-baccalaureate success. It is considered one of the high-impact educational practices that can best support student success. These benefits accrue not only because student-researchers gain valuable content knowledge and skills, but rather the benefits of UR depend most on effective mentoring. And while the benefits of mentored UR have the greatest positive impact on racialized, Indigenous, low-income, and first generation students, those underserved students are less likely than their white and higher-income peers to participate, for a range of reasons. Structural inequities, such as tying UR access to narrow definitions of “merit,” GPA, and social and economic capital, as well as explicit and implicit bias, often bar equity-deserving students from accessing and succeeding in UR opportunities.
Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) offer a means of scaling up equitable access to UR, as they don’t depend on individual students’ social and economic capital to participate. CUREs involve every student enrolled in a course in a collaborative and authentic undergraduate research experience. But CUREs often lack the rich relationships and faculty guidance associated with individually mentored UR. Therefore scaling up equitable access is not as simple as integrating UR into the curriculum. Our chapter lays out strategies for mentoring all student-researchers enrolled in CUREs. Particularly relevant for post-pandemic higher education, our chapter also explores strategies for online, mentored UR.