What is Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement?
The Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) initiative at Baylor is a campus wide initiative that serves faculty and students from all disciplines. Housed in The Office of Engaged Learning, the goal of URSA is to support, promote, and enhance high-quality undergraduate research and scholarship through grants, Scholars Week, and web-based resources. We encourage all undergraduates, from freshman to senior, to consider maximizing their education through a variety of research and scholarly activities found both within the classroom and beyond.
How will the World of Research Enable you to Enrich your Undergraduate Experience?
- You will engage in critical thinking that connects theories proposed in classes to experience beyond the world of books and lectures.
- Your problem solving skills, creativity and sense of discovery will be engaged in exciting new ways.
- You will learn more about accountability, academic honesty, and self-discipline through research.
- Through laboratory and field experiences, you will become able to utilize instrumentation, follow instructions, design experiments, construct and test hypotheses.
- Long-term participation in research teaches students to plan, to process and analyze data, to seek out primary sources, to synthesize and articulate their ideas, to network with their colleagues, to write and present at a professional level; and to assess outcomes.
Through enriched research experiences, undergraduates collaborate not just with their peers but with faculty and graduate students.
Most importantly, in many cases such experiences allow you to develop a way of life that integrates the work you do for your courses with the larger opportunities available to find your future. For example, a student who took an advanced course in Spanish in her sophomore year realized she loved the literature of Chile. Her professor helped her secure an opportunity to visit Chile and meet several contemporary writers. From that point on, this student was on the road to becoming a young authority on aspects of Chilean literature. She completed an honors thesis on this fascinating area of research and set in motion an expertise that enabled her to enter the ideal graduate program for studying Latin American contemporary literature and earning her Ph.D. in this field.