Big XII Teaching and Learning Conference: Session XI Description

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6th Annual Big 12 Teaching and Learning Conference
June 13 - 14, 2019 | Austin, Texas

Individual Session Descriptions

The following schedule will be updated until the start of the conference.  Unless otherwise indicated, all events will take place in the Texas Union.

Friday, June 14, 4:30-5:30pm: Session 23 (Eastwoods Room)

"We've Got the CURE to Improve STEM Outcomes: Freshman Research Initiative Roundtable"

Susan Cameron Devitt (University of Texas at Austin)

The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) is the largest CURE (course based undergraduate research experience) in the nation. For thirteen years, the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) has engaged large numbers of lower-division undergraduates (1000+ in 2019)  in multiple semesters of course-based undergraduate research experience early in their college careers, with the goal of increasing the number and diversity of students engaged in research. 

FRI uses an apprenticeship model, integrating large numbers of undergraduate students into 30 research streams, as an alternative to entry-level laboratory courses. FRI combines experiences shown to contribute to student success, including mentoring, tutoring, research experience, cognitive apprenticeship, and learning communities. Ongoing evaluation of this program indicates that participation in FRI significantly improves student outcomes including graduation rates and persistence in STEM careers, as well as increased future earning potential (Walcott et al. 2018).

Come hear five FRI faculty share their experiences leading undergraduate research laboratories; teaching and performing original research with 35+ students each semester. Each faculty member will speak about their specific approach before moving into a facilitated Q and A session. Panelists will share concrete examples of successes and failures. Session attendees are encouraged to participate by asking their own questions during the Q & A.

  • Dr. Tony Gonzalez, Plant Pathways lab course: Discovering the genetics of plant epidermal development and pigment production. 
  • Dr. Ruth Shear, Urban Ecosystem lab course: Combining research approaches in a multidisciplinary environmental science lab
  • Dr. Susan Cameron Devitt, Biodiversity Discovery lab course: Organismal-based discovery in the field and the laboratory
  • Dr. Dennis Mishler, Microbe Hackers lab course: Synthetic Biology and genetic engineering in the 21st century.
  • Dr. Brandon Campitelli (facilitator), Biology of Biofuels lab course: Plant physiological ecology in a changing world.


Registration for the conference opens in late January 2019.

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