Investigating Pre-College Predictors and Post-Secondary Effects of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences in Texas
Effective Years: 2022-2025
The project aims to serve the national need to develop a diverse workforce in STEM careers. To address this need, institutions have developed course-based undergraduate research experiences in STEM to attract students to STEM careers. These research activities will produce evidence and insights about how course-based undergraduate research experiences in STEM are related to post-graduate workforce outcomes. Additionally, the research will identify pre-college student characteristics that predict student participation in course-based undergraduate STEM research experiences. The project will investigate short- and long-term outcomes of student participation in course-based undergraduate research experiences in STEM, which could provide insights to institutions and policymakers about how course-based undergraduate research experiences in STEM could address STEM workforce needs.
This research efforts from scholars at Texas Tech University aims to conduct longitudinal analyses on the short- and long-term impact of STEM Course-based Undergraduate Research (CUR) on the development of future STEM professionals in Texas. Addressing a gap in the CUR literature, the studies will examine associations between pre-college student characteristics and participation in an undergraduate CURs, as well as the extent to which CUR participation is associated with positive academic outcomes and post-graduate careers in STEM fields. Research analyses will be conducted using existing database information from the University of Houston’s Education Research Center (UH-ERC). Specifically, the Texas Statewide Longitudinal Data System contains data on students from public Kindergarten through higher education to the workforce that will be used in the research. Further, text analysis methods will be used to systematically identify CURs from publicly available syllabi across Texas institutions of higher education. The project team will use multiple, established modelling methods to investigate pre-college student characteristics that predict CUR participation, as well as long-term post-graduate and employment outcomes associated with participation of CURs as an undergraduate student. The project team has prior experience analyzing large data sets and will be guided by an external advisory board with expertise in CURs, large datasets, and program evaluation. Proposed dissemination efforts, which include both research publications and policy briefs, could allow the research to serve as a model for similar analyses in other states. This research is potentially transformative for understanding student populations served by CURs and the role that a CUR may play in STEM employment.
This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. The program supports the accumulation of robust evidence to inform efforts to understand, build theory to explain, and suggest intervention and innovations to address persistent.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.