N.C. A&T Hosts Online Development Workshops for Faculty

By Jamie Crockett / 06/22/2020 Academic Affairs

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 22, 2020) – The Office of Undergraduate Research and the ADVANCE Institutional Transformation (IT) project at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University developed a two-part online workshop series for approximately 25 N.C. A&T and Elizabeth City State University faculty members. The series, “CURE-M: A Novel Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Institute with Culturally Responsive Mentor CRM) Training,” was funded by a UNC System Undergraduate Research Program grant. 

“The CURE-M workshop model serves as a faculty development intervention strategy for increasing the number of students engaging in authentic undergraduate research at two historically black universities in the UNC system,” said Sherrie Allen, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and director of the ADVANCE IT project. “Training faculty to be effective mentors and cultivating learning environments that value culture and lived experiences of their students helps improve retention.”

The first component of the series, the CURE Institute, provided faculty members with a framework to incorporate research projects into their undergraduate courses. Participants defined and refined personal research goals and student goals, developed objectives and assessment measures and provided feedback to peers.

“The group worked together across institutions to think deeply about teaching and how to include and engage students in research who may have competing demands outside of the classroom,” said Erin Dolan, Ph.D., CURE Institute facilitator and professor at the University of Georgia.

Equity and inclusion of underrepresented students in research is the foundation for both the CURE Institute and the CRM component of the series.

“Mentoring is a professional imperative and reaches across differences to connect,” said Etta Ward, CRM training co-facilitator and assistant vice chancellor for research development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). “A mentee drives the relationship, and the relationship must be reciprocal because both parties have something to offer each other.”

Ward and her co-facilitator Randall Roper, Ph.D., an associate professor at IUPUI and director of the Graduate Mentoring Center, set ground rules and acknowledged that just as the training participants come to the table with different identities and backgrounds, so do the students they engage.

Faculty members identified both constructive and destructive behaviors that could improve or hinder mentoring relationships.

“The group was so engaged and passionate, and at one point, we just stepped back and they ran with the conversation,” said Roper. “They really showcased the importance of building trust and showing respect and grace towards each other that we encourage in mentoring relationships.”

Participants completed eight online modules that covered topics including maintaining effective communication, establishing and aligning expectations and articulating mentoring philosophies.

“It was a pleasure collaborating and learning with colleagues from both institutions,” said Mulumebet Worku, Ph.D., principal investigator and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at A&T. “We are here to support and extend opportunities for undergraduate students to become engaged in mentored scholarship and original research, and that starts with trainings like this that help faculty learn and effectively apply new knowledge and skills.”

 To learn more about the ADVANCE IT project, visit the website.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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