In April, 2006 the University adopted a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for undergraduate education entitled “Making Critical Connections” (pdf). This plan was reviewed and approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), who are responsible for the University’s accreditation. In 2011, representatives from SACS will return to campus to evaluate the plan outcomes and assessment. As outlined in the Executive Summary (pdf), undergraduate research is one of three major components of the QEP (the others are the new curriculum and internationalization). The QEP seeks to make undergraduate research a seamless part of the culture at UNC-Chapel Hill, so that undergraduate engagement in the University’s research mission becomes a defining feature of the Carolina experience. The plan for undergraduate research includes the following elements:
- Appoint four current UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members to terms as “Distinguished Professors in Research and Undergraduate Education”
- Establish linked courses (“Research Tracks”) across the disciplines to introduce students to unsolved problems, help them understand multiple modes of inquiry, and enable them to conduct original work
- Increase the number of course offerings in which students carry out original research projects using Graduate Research Consultants
- Enhance the opportunities for undergraduate students to be mentored in original research
The “Making Critical Connections” Implementation Committee reports to the Faculty Council and to the Board of Trustees concerning the QEP and its impact. Summaries of these reports are available to anyone interested.