NIH AREA (R15) Description

Revised September 20, 2016

NOTE: In each section, the supplied institutional boilerplate language should be supplemented by and integrated with department- and or lab-specific information relevant to that section.

Profile of the students of the applicant school/academic component

Miami University is a public, 4-year institution with a national reputation for excellence in undergraduate education:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Miami University’s main campus second for undergraduate teaching and 79th overall among national universities in the 2017 edition of its America’s Best Colleges.
  • Forbes magazine has ranked Miami among the 100 best values in public colleges every year since 1998.
  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine included Miami as one of its “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” in 2016, ranking it 50th nationally for in-state students.

These national rankings are supported by Miami’s student-as-scholar model and deeply ingrained culture of inquiry-based learning. Of the 16,000 or so undergraduates enrolled at Miami’s main campus in Oxford, Ohio, each year, more than 2000 work with professors on funded research. By graduation nearly one out of every three students reports having collaborated with a faculty member on a research project.

The 16,387 undergraduate students at Miami’s main campus in Oxford, Ohio, are well-qualified academically. Miami’s typical incoming student graduated in the top 25% of her high school class and scored between 25 and 30 on the ACT.

Averaging around 90%, Miami’s second-year retention rate is among the best in the nation. Its 80% six-year graduation rate ranks in the top 6% of public universities in the U.S. and makes it number two in Ohio. The graduation rate for African-American students is significantly higher at Miami than the national average and is second highest among Ohio public universities.

More than 60% of qualified Miami students who apply to medical school are accepted, compared with 46% nationally. Miami students are also eagerly accepted to veterinary, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other professional programs, as well as to graduate research programs in the health sciences.

Appropriateness of institution for AREA/R15

With just over 16,000 undergraduates, Miami is smaller than many Carnegie RU/H schools, an indication of the value the university places on meritorious research.

In the absence of a medical or other health professions school, Miami’s biomedical research is done in academic departments within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the School of Education, Health, and Society (SEHS); and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). AREA awards have been critical in strengthening the research environment at Miami University by supporting the research of faculty from the departments.

Miami’s commitment to meritorious research extends to its students as well. At Miami, research is integrated across the curriculum, student-led discovery is nurtured, and students are instilled with the belief that they can be the authors of new knowledge.

Since the fall of 2014, this university-wide commitment has been coordinated by the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). The ORU leaves in place existing faculty-led research programs, which are the foundation of Miami’s reputation for excellence in undergraduate research participation, and acts as a hub around which these programs operate and through which they can be marketed to current and prospective students.

At least six additional formal programs support undergraduate research at Miami:

  • Summer internships
  • A first year research experience program
  • Competitive undergraduate research awards
  • A doctoral student-undergraduate mentorship program
  • A program that funds undergraduate travel to attend professional meetings

Because many of these undergraduate research programs rely on the availability of faculty research programs, AREA funds that support faculty research also play a critical role in exposing Miami students to research.

Miami students’ academic qualifications position them to thrive within the incubating environment provided by University funds and AREA awards. The typical undergraduate graduated in the top 25% of her high school class and scored between 24 and 29 on the ACT. Each year, more than 2000 of these undergraduates work with professors on funded research, and 32% of seniors report they have collaborated with a faculty member on a research project at some point in their undergraduate experience. AREA funds have supported these students by paying for student salaries, equipment, and supplies.

Statement of institutional support

Miami offers a number of formal programs that encourage and support student research, including the following:

  • An Office of Research for Undergraduates that commenced operation in fall 2014. This office coordinates research activity by undergraduates across the university and markets programs to current and prospective students.
  • Approximately 100 Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) awards are available each year. These scholarships provide students with a stipend, tuition waiver and a research allowance.
  • The First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program encourages first year students to engage in research and establish early contact with a faculty mentor.
  • The competitive Undergraduate Research Award (URA) program pairs individual students or teams of students with faculty mentors who will guide them in developing grant applications.
  • The Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity Scholarship (DUOS) program pairs an undergraduate student with a doctoral student research mentor.
  • Undergraduate Presentation Awards (UPA) provide travel funds for undergraduates to attend professional meetings.
  • Annual undergraduate and graduate research forums showcase student research and creative work.

The involvement of undergraduates in research is also an important criterion in faculty evaluations for promotion, tenure and pay increases. Faculty appointments in the life sciences are typically 40% dependent on research effort, with the other 60% dependent on teaching (40%) and service (20%).