Session S14a (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 216)

P86: Teaching through research: Lessons learned from the Freshman Research Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin

Ruth Shear (University of Texas at Austin, USA)

The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at UT-Austin is a faculty-initiated reinvention of our undergraduate research paradigm, recruiting over 600 freshmen each year into an integrated three-semester research-based course sequence that increases the number and diversity of students engaged in research, and significantly impacts student success and engagement in science. The core principle behind FRI is the merging of the educational and research missions of the University to benefit both students and faculty, by creating an environment where teaching is based on authentic research projects of the faculty. We will describe approaches that have led to success, and how we measure that success, strategies to help expand the diversity of our program, and ways we create a small group feel, within the large scale of our program, and the enormous UT-Austin student body. We demonstrate that undergraduate research can work at large scales to recruit and engage students and create innovators.


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