With roots in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area, UCO enjoys links to a number of graduate and professional schools with opportunities for its graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Nationally, as in Oklahoma, a call is being made for more students to be taught in STEM disciplines. Undergraduate research is being increasingly explored at leading Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) across the country. In recognition of these advantages to our students, the UCO College of Mathematics and Science has established the Center for Undergraduate Research and Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CURE-STEM) to increase undergraduate retention in STEM disciplines and to expand career goals for our students.
In developing the CURE-STEM concept, the College utilized Elgren's* elements of successful student research practices:
1) faculty development, 2) student learning and 3) the development of new knowledge. CURE-STEM supports this approach to learning through direct support of faculty development (e.g., reassignment time and resources to support student learning) and student-centered projects (through stipends and supplies) with the understanding that both students and faculty will collaborate to pursue original questions with professional outcomes. This will also include innovative curriculum reform that enhances process-oriented education for our students. The activities of CURE-STEM are designed to be synergistic with existing programs that support graduate research and education and conforms to our overall goal of providing Transformative Learning opportunities for students at the University of Central Oklahoma.
*Elgren, T. 2004. Successful collaborative research with undergraduates requires balancing objectives. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly. 25:52