Book Reviews

Book by: Mitchell Malachowski, Jeffrey M. Osborn, Kerry K. Karukstis, and Elizabeth L. Ambos (Eds.)
Review by: Elicia Kimble
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
College of Arts and Sciences, Anthropology Department
University of South Florida

 

Despite its small size, this book mean business! While on the surface this book may look like the typical collection of articles relating to a subject that the editors are self-proclaimed experts in, this book is actually a collection of interrelated, well-researched articles that was edited by a group of people who happen to be well versed in the subject of undergraduate research (UR). The authors formed the National Science Foundation funded Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) in 1978 in order to enhance UR with an approach to “leverage the synergy of higher education systems and consortia to disseminate effective practices for an institutionalizing a culture of UR, utilizing both the amassed organization experience of CUR and the shared expertise of institutions within a given consortium or system” (p. 4). CUR now represents 10,000 individual and 700 institutional members. The size of this book only serves to make this a better read in that it is easily digestible and not riddled with unnecessary information.

This volume was assembled with the goal of addressing many of the hurdles that campuses/individuals face when trying to undertake a functioning system of UR. Each chapter is a synopsis of an institutionalized UR undertaking that was written by a participant in the CUR project. The authors made it a goal to have each chapter address a different pressing topic including: organizational change of systems, student success and underrepresented student groups in UR, connecting UR to statewide economic and workforce development and innovation, maximizing faculty support while enhancing student outcomes, and resources for success. The authors also dedicated time to the issues of student engagement and the need for a change in campus culture when adopting a new system.

Overall I was very happy with this book. Not only did it address the points that I would want to learn more about, but it also addressed points that I had never even thought about. Advisors know that a change in a campus system can sometimes be an uphill battle. I really appreciate that the authors took the time to address the factors beyond training and coaching that affect change. As a former undergraduate student who participated in UR and as a current academic advisor for a social science field, I cannot stress the importance of UR enough. Not only does UR give students an in depth look at their chosen field of study, but it allows them to be mentored by a faculty member and to gain hands on training that translates into skills that are applicable in the workplace. UR can open up many doors and it is important that universities have a system in place that will allow students to participate in this opportunity. As an undergraduate advisor who encourages her students to participate in UR, this book was very beneficial. This book would also be useful to departmental undergraduate directors or even career counselors.
 


Enhancing and Expanding Undergraduate Research: A Systems Approach. (2015). Book by Mitchell Malachowski, Jeffrey M. Osborn, Kerry K. Karukstis, and Elizabeth L. Ambos (Eds.). Review by Elicia Kimble. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 120 pp. Price $29.00, (paperback), ISBN 978-1-119-06136-6

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