Why did the Office of Undergraduate Research develop this program?
In faculty surveys about research/creative activity opportunities, time was listed as the primary obstacle to greater participation in student research/creative activity. This system of 291/491/682 courses was developed to support faculty in mentoring student research and creative activity. Faculty accrue credits that can be banked toward course equivalency to be redeemed in their teaching workload.
I supervise students doing independent work, but it’s not exactly original research or creative activity. Are there other options for students to earn credit and for me to be compensated?
The existing 299/499/699 course designations, which have historically been used for independent undergraduate and graduate study, remain in place and are compensated in the same way they’ve always been, with a monetary payment upon conclusion. So if your student is doing background reading in a subject area without applying it to original research or creative activity, for instance, that should be done as an independent study, not as 291/491/682.
Should the research or creative activity in this course be based on faculty research and interests or on a student’s interests?
Either is acceptable; the specific activities are left to the discretion of the faculty member based on his/her discipline. That said, students are expected to participate in meaningful, independent research or creative activity, whether or not it’s connected to a faculty member’s research or creative project.
What about research or creative projects that are conducted in a classroom setting or another course?
The 291/491/682 courses can be used only for research and creative activity that is conducted outside a regular course. Students cannot use the same hours logged in Weekly Progress Reports nor the Deliverable both toward credit for 291/491/682 and toward credit for another course; “Submission of the same term paper or other work to more than one instructor, where no prior approval has been given” is defined by the university as an academic integrity violation. Similarly, research and creative activity registered as 291/491/682 cannot also be paid work, e.g. through student work study.
When should a student submit the form to register for independent research or creative activity credits?
Students should submit the registration form for 291/491/682 when they are registering for their next semester’s courses, and it must be submitted by the 12th week of the semester before the course is taken. That ensures that the proposed course can be reviewed and approved and that the student can be registered in Blackboard in a timely fashion. Starting with Week 1 of the semester, Weekly Progress Reports must be completed in the Blackboard course set up for the 291/491/682 research/creative activity.
What’s the purpose of the Weekly Progress Reports?
Weekly Progress Reports serve two purposes: 1) regular documentation of research or creative tasks and 2) recording of hours spent on research or creative activity toward the total number of hours required for the number of credits for which the student is enrolled. These reports are a useful record for the faculty and student, and they serve to document the university-wide requirement for number of hours of work per credit.
What do I need to do with these Weekly Progress Reports?
Each week, by Monday at 5:00PM, the student uses a template provided in Blackboard to upload a record of dates, tasks, and hours spent on research or creative activity. It is the faculty’s responsibility to review each week’s report in a timely fashion and then record the total number of hours for that week in the Grade Center for that course. Tutorials for both student and faculty to explain this process are available on the Blackboard site associated with 291/491/682 course.
What’s the Deliverable?
The Deliverable is the final course product for the research or creative activity and is evidence of the student’s accomplishment. Depending on the course, the Deliverable might be an article-length paper, a PowerPoint presentation appropriate for a conference, a poster presented at the university’s Student Research Day, images of visual art, or another type of product appropriate to the discipline and iteration of the course. If multiple students are working on the same project, EACH must submit a unique end-ofsemester Deliverable of some sort; collaborative work is fine, as long as EACH student clearly designates his/her unique contribution.
Besides the Weekly Progress Reports and the Deliverable, am I required to do anything else as the instructor of record for this course?
A faculty member must meet individually with the student(s) he or she is supervising for a total of 5 hours per student by the end of the semester. These contact hours are a university-wide requirement for independent study courses, not a policy specific to this program.
How do I know how many credits I’ve accrued through 291/491/682? The Office of Undergraduate Research tracks the accrual of credits for 291/491/682 and coordinates with the Registrar’s Office and the Chancellor’s Office to ensure that both student and faculty credit is recorded accurately. Participating faculty can log into the Blackboard organization for their college to view accrued/banked credits, semester by semester. I’ve accrued 24 credits and would like to reduce my course load in a future semester. What do I do? Once a minimum of 24 credits in 291/491/682 have been accrued by a faculty member, he or she may initiate a request for a reduced course load, in a forthcoming semester. However, no faculty member’s course load may be reduced to zero in any given term through the 291/491/682 system without approval by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. In addition, it is helpful to communicate with your department chair as you accrue these credits so that both of you can plan ahead for possible course load reduction.
The detailed process and form for requesting a course load reduction can be found at the following link. What is the maximum number of credits faculty can accrue?
While there is no limit set by the Office of Undergraduate Research on the number of 291/491/682 credits one can earn over time, only 12 research credits per semester can be accrued/banked towards a course equivalency, and only 6 research credits can be accrued/banked towards a course equivalency per interterm or summer. If mentoring students in excess of these values, the Office of Undergraduate Research recommends asking students to enroll in 299/499/699 credits once reaching the per-semester limit so that faculty can be compensated accordingly.
How many course equivalencies can I use at once?
The maximum number of course equivalencies that can be redeemed per year is two. Faculty should refer to the course load reduction protocol for details on the process of requesting and implementing course load reduction. It is important to communicate with your department chair as you earn these credits and to plan ahead with your chair for using them. Again, no faculty member can reduce his or her course load to zero in a given semester without approval by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
If I use my banked credit for a course load reduction in a given semester, can I still teach my regular course load and get paid overload for it?
Course releases for research/administration are not compatible with teaching overloads. My department thinks these research projects are a good idea for all of our students. Can we change our curriculum to require 291/491/682? Because projects under 291/491/682 are designed as enhancements to traditional learning formats, no degree or minor program can require 291/491/682 for all its students. If your program has large numbers of majors doing projects under this system or one or more faculty members mentoring large numbers of projects, it may want to consider building a major-specific research course into the program or adjusting an existing capstone to accommodate the program's research goals.