News Release

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NSF GRANT FUNDS REFORM OF SCIENCE EDUCATION

09/23/1996

OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami University has received an Institution-Wide Reform of Undergraduate Education award of $200,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for enhancing opportunities for undergraduate research.

Miami is one of 23 colleges and universities across the country and the only one from Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky to receive the grant.

"The award is based on past accomplishments plus proposed curricular enhancements," said John A. Czaja, program director of the grant and associate director of Miami's Office for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching.

Among the programs credited for the NSF award is Miami's Undergraduate Summer Scholars program, now in its third year. The program provides 100 students the opportunity to work for a 10-week summer period on research and other creative activities at the end of their junior year, under the individual guidance of a faculty mentor. Each student receives a $2,000 stipend plus a $300 research allowance.

"Our application for the NSF award outlined the increasing opportunities at Miami for an undergraduate to work under the direct mentorship of a faculty member to design and conduct research or other scholarly projects," said William Rauckhorst, associate provost for scholarship and teaching.

"The selection of Miami for this special recognition is a fitting tribute to the many faculty who mentor Miami undergraduates in independent research and other creative activities," Rauckhorst said.

Other summer program that provide specific support for student summer research projects are funded by external agencies such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the NSF.

Miami also uses alumni contributions to fund academic-year small project grants to approximately 40 undergraduates per year. In addition, more than 500 other students participate in research projects for regular credit or as part of the university honors program.

Some of the NSF grant funds will be used to explore ways to increase these types of opportunities, Czaja said. Under the guidance of Marcia Baxter Magolda, professor of education leadership, a systematic evaluation will focus on the impact the mentored independent research has on students' learning.

A significant number of Miami science graduates pursue advanced degrees. The university is ranked 70th nationally in the NSF's most recent report of the undergraduate origins of doctoral recipients in science.

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