The College of New Jersey will receive the first “Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishment” (AURA) from the Washington, DC-based Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). This annual award recognizes institutions that have devised exemplary programs providing high-quality research experiences to undergraduates.
“The College of New Jersey is honored to be recognized by CUR as a national exemplar in undergraduate research,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “Over the last two decades, we have been committed to making student-faculty engagement and research central to our undergraduate experience. Our success, as reflected in this award, is a testament to the collective effort at TCNJ to integrate high-impact learning practices into the fabric of the institution with faculty who are recognized as teacher-scholars.”
TCNJ is one of just three institutions to receive the award nationally. It is modeled on the organization’s Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research, a document that presents criteria for exceptional undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity programs.
The rich history and strong institutional commitment to undergraduate research at TCNJ dates back to 1997. The college introduced an extensive series of initiatives targeted at promoting and supporting a culture that is grounded in student engagement, undergraduate research, and the teacher-scholar faculty model. In 2003, the college piloted a major shift in the curriculum that would benefit both students and faculty members. Faculty were encouraged to take risks in their research and teaching in ways that directly benefit students.
“By moving undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity from the periphery to the center, our curricula and faculty workload structure were re-defined to incorporate undergraduate research and high-impact practices,” noted Jeffrey M. Osborn, Dean of the School of Science at TCNJ. “TCNJ’s emphasis on undergraduate research and the teacher-scholar model is an innovative exemplar of how to integrate teaching and scholarship in higher education.”
CUR is recognizing outstanding institutions from different Carnegie classification groups. George Mason University was cited as a Research University and Allegheny College as a leading Baccalaureate College. TCNJ exemplifies the teacher-scholar model at a Master’s Level institution.
The awardees will be honored during the Council on Undergraduate Research Executive Board reception on January 22, 2016, at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
—Mark Gola, Director of Media Relations