Caltech Accreditation

Undergraduate Research Work Plan

Phase I: October 2006 through March 2007

Review surveys given to incoming freshmen and graduating seniors

  • determine whether we are asking the right questions about undergraduate research
  • if not, develop the questions that will elicit the information we seek
  • work with survey developers to amend questions, if necessary

Review Registrar's data to determine

  • the number of students doing AY research
  • whether students who are doing research are doing it in their majors
  • number of terms students take AY research courses
  • whether students doing multiple terms of AY research are working with same mentor or changing mentor or fie\ ld (exploring other fields)
  • GPAs of research students and non-research students

Seek data from Deans concerning students who have taken leaves of absence, left the Institute, or have had other signs of burnout (data will not, of course, compromise student confidentiality).

Set up six focus groups of (up to 10) students during second term to explore

  • student expectations for having an undergraduate research experience
  • whether expectations have been met
  • whether students who are doing research outside their majors are doing so because there are not opportunities within their majors
  • why students have not done research
    • choice?
    • lack of opportunity?
    • Other

Hold interviews with five faculty in each of the science/engineering divisions about their views of undergraduate research at Caltech.

Contact undergraduate research directors at comparable universities to compare strengths and weaknesses of Caltech's undergraduate research programs (SURF and AY).

  • Develop a set of questions to be asked
  • Identify the appropriate people to contact
  • Conduct initial conversations by phone; may be possible to expand data with a wiki page or through email

Phase II: April through December 2007

Student-Faculty Conference in April

  • Barbara Green has already scheduled a lunch with the SFC committee to begin planning for the conference and the WASC elements of the conference

Discussions with APC, Core Curriculum and Curriculum Committees, IACC, UASH, and FB on data analysis and preliminary findings.