Undergraduate Research at USF: A Brief History
Undergraduates have participated in research activities at USF since the inception of the first doctoral programs in the early 1970′s. Undergraduate Studies established the first Office of Undergraduate Research in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Stuart Silverman, current Dean of USF’s Honors College. Shortly after its creation, the Office of Undergraduate Research became a unit of the Honors College and Professor Emeritus Michael Angrosino was named its first Director. The first research competition was held in 2000 under the leadership of Dr. Angrosino.
By 2003, under the direction of the second director of the office, Dr. Georg Kleine, current Assistant Dean of the Honors College, the competition became known as the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Celebration. Beginning in 2004, undergraduate research became a key component of the SACS Quality Enhancement Plan and this resulted in increased funding and the formalization of the office within the Honors College. Dr. Naomi Yavneh served as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research from fall 2004 to fall 2011.
In August 2011, oversight of undergraduate research was moved to Undergraduate Studies and the office was renamed the Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR). With funding from the Office of the Provost, the OUR was relocated to the second floor of the Tampa Campus Library. The new office suite provides more visibility and greater accessibility for students, faculty and staff and features a computer lab and classroom to accommodate expanded services and new OUR initiatives.
In addition, the OUR is now part of the library’s “Learning Commons,” which includes the Writing Center, Tutoring and Learning Services, and the library IT help desk. On April 18, 2012, under the direction of the OUR’s new director, Dr. Richard S. Pollenz, and continuing the rich tradition established by previous directors, the OUR hosted Inquiry and Discovery: Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. The highly successful event featured more than 175 diverse and engaging presentations from undergraduate researchers across all disciplines.
Mission Statement and Strategic Goals
The Office For Undergraduate Research (OUR) promotes mentored research across all disciplines by partnering with faculty and staff in all academic programs, administrative units and within the community. The office assists students, faculty, staff, administrators and community leaders in establishing research experiences that are designed to enhance a student’s academic progression and foster deeper immersion in the field. The office elevates the research experience by providing all participants professional development and mentoring workshops, research training, publication and funding opportunities.
The OUR operates through commitment to the following strategic goals:
- Promote undergraduate research at USF and nationally through publication, presentation, professional development and mentoring.
- Vest all programs in the value of undergraduate research and provide mechanisms and resources to assure success for students and faculty.
- Obtain extramural funding that will support access to undergraduate research especially for students from under-represented groups.
- Collaborate with university partners to develop creative initiatives that promote undergraduate research.