Home‎ > ‎

Existing CRE models

The Ohio State University

Research Experiences to Enhance Learning program goals:

  • "First, to transform the current 1st and 2nd year chemistry courses into a research-intensive program so students will pursue additional scientifically oriented training, appreciate the scientific and ethical nature of research, and adopt the scientific method as a lifelong problem-solving technique;
  • Second, to increase the retention and graduation rates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; and,
  • Third, to generate new knowledge in the chemical sciences through multi-site faculty-student collaborative research projects that pool their results in a common data base."

Hamilton College

Timothy Elgren
Principles of Chemistry in the Context of Health and Environmental Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry Tim Elgren has received a grant from the Noyce Foundation administered by the National Center for Science & Civic Engagement.  The objective of this three-year project is to develop research opportunities for undergraduate science students that couple analytical toxicology with public policy and civic engagement.

Calvin College

Dr. Deanna van Dijk

First-Year Research in Earth Sciences (FYRES): Dunes
The FYRES course has up to 24 spots for first-year students interested in hands-on science. Students will use cutting-edge methods and equipment to investigate current questions about the dunes. Student discoveries will inform the activities of dune managers, scientists, and public outreach efforts.

University of Queensland

Susan L. Rowland

Implementation of a legitimate undergraduate research experience (URE) for large science course cohorts: One of the key priorities at UQ is the introduction of the URE. In this experience, undergraduate students get to design and implement experiments that are part of a real research stream from a working lab. This program complements and largely replaces the more traditional “cook book” laboratory experience for undergraduate classes. Students who would rather complete a more structured set of exercises may still opt to do that, and bypass the URE laboratory. We call this new type of laboratory experience an ALLURE. This project is being implemented in several undergraduate courses run by SCMB, including BIOC2000, which I coordinate. It is a collaboration with Gwen Lawrie, Joanne Blanchfield, Jack Wang, Kirsten Zimbardi, and Paula Myatt. We now have a national leadership grant funded by the OLT to expand this project. 

"Is the undergraduate research experience (URE) always best?: The power of choice in a bifurcated practical stream for a large introductory biochemistry class", Susan L. Rowland, Gwen A. Lawrie, James B. Y. H. Behrendorff†, Elizabeth M. J. Gillam. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 46–62, January/February 2012.

Emory University

I am interested in scientific studies of laboratory teaching. In particular, I am working on the effect of inquiry-based learning in laboratory classes on student understanding of the nature of science and the scientific process. To this end, in collaboration with Dr. Larry Blumer at Morehouse College, we have developed the bean beetle Callosobruchus maculatus as a model system for inquiry-based lab classes in biology.
Bean Beetle CRE model

UnPACK network

UNPAK is a collaboration between researchers and students at the College of Charleston, Barnard College, Hampden-Sydney College, and the University of Georgia.
  • Mike Wolyniak at Hampden-Sydney College
  • Courtney Murren or Matt Rutter at College of Charleston

University of Minnesota

Research-based science education
The College of Biological Sciences is using a $1.5 million grant awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in May 2010 to create an innovative program to improve undergraduate biology education by engaging all undergraduates who take biology courses in hands-on research."
Active learning classrooms are preparing students to think like scientists, find solutions to real-world problems and work together for a real research experience.

Foundations of Biology
The Foundations of Biology course sequence for biological sciences majors takes an active learning approach that challenges students to apply their knowledge and work collaboratively to solve real-world problems.

The goal in Foundations is not to teach biology; it is rather to train biologists. As such, students gain a background not only in the biological content standard for an introductory course -- albeit in a sophisticated and integrated manner -- but also develop the skills (e.g, in communication, collaboration, information management, self-assessment) required for a person to be a successful scientist within the discipline of biology.

University of Georgia


PREP-U approaches CURE from the functions of genes in the plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Students are familiar with the idea that genes help determine characteristics, but usually only visible characteristics such as height or color. Students generate ideas about why a plant with a disabled gene may look completely normal. Students are introduced to the idea that phenotypes may be revealed through the interplay of genes and environment, such that the impact of disabling a gene may be observable only when the plant must respond to changes in its surroundings. Students consider environmental factors that may influence a plant's growth and are challenged to design and conduct their own eight-week long experiments to compare how mutant plants (i.e., plants with a gene disabled) differ from their wild-type counterparts (i.e., no disabled genes) in their response to an environmental change. Students make comparisons between wild-type and mutant plants and between treated and untreated (i.e., control) plants in order to draw conclusions about the impact of disabling genes on the plants' responses. Students end by sharing their results and conclusions with each other and/or with scientists who are studying the genes that the students investigated. Scientists ask questions about students' findings and explain how they see the students' results fitting into what is known in the field.


"This project will create a network of people and programs that are creating course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) in biology as a means of helping students understand core concepts in biology, develop core scientific competencies, and become active, contributing members of the scientific community. The network will create a catalogue of CURE projects and resources. The network will also provide opportunities for participants to discuss issues such as how to document student outcomes such as learning, changes in attitudes toward and interest in science, and changes in engagement in the scientific community, as well as mechanisms for broadening participation in course-based research activities and ethical issues such as who has access to and ownership of CURE-generated data."

University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez

"Enhancing Hispanic Minority Undergraduates’ Botany Laboratory Experiences: Implementation of an Inquiry-Based Plant Tissue Culture Module Exercise", Dimuth Siritunga, Vivian Navas, Nanette Diffoot. International Education Studies; Vol. 5, No. 5; 2012.

University of Pittsburgh

bioquest and biology research using online datasets


Ecological Research as Education Network:  Establishing an ecological research/education network at primarily undergraduate institutions.

Barnard College 



Anne G Rosenwald
Member of GCAT (Genome Consortium for Active Teaching), http://www.bio.davidson.edu/projects/gcat/gcat.html. GCAT seeks to make microarray technology available to all undergraduate students. The consortium will provide microarray chips at minimal cost for a variety of species. Centralized scanners, available at institutions throughout the country, as well as workshops for faculty, make it possible for any faculty member to include this technology into their own curriculum.
Member of GEP (Genomics Education Partnership), link: http://gep.wustl.edu/ . GEP aims to make it possible for faculty to incorporate aspects of genome analysis into undergraduate curriculum. Using GEP’s flexible tools and centralized computer support, faculty can implement aspects of sequence finishing and/or annotation into either current courses or develop new stand-alone courses. The scientific problems are also amenable to development of independent study projects

William and Mary

Geoscience course by Greg Hancock at William and Mary http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/research/projects.html <http://www.wm.edu/as/geology/people/faculty/hancock_g.php>

Emory University

The Piedmont Project:

The Piedmont Project emerged as a grassroots effort on the part of a group of faculty to strengthen Emory's engagement with environmental issues and sustainability. At the heart of the project is a curriculum development effort that seeks to foster an invigorated intellectual community to address global issues and local sustainability challenges.



Washington University

Genomics Education Partnership:

"The goal of the Genomics Education Partnership is to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in genomics research. GEP is a collaboration between a growing number of primarily undergraduate institutions and the Biology Dept and Genome Center of Washington University in St. Louis. Participating undergraduates learn to take raw sequence data to high quality finished sequence, and to annotate genes and other features, leading to analysis of a question in genomics and research publication. GEP organizes research projects and provides training/collaboration workshops for PUI faculty and teaching assistants. Workshops are fully supported, including participant travel."

The Genomics Education Partnership: Successful Integration of Research into Laboratory Classes at a Diverse Group of Undergraduate Institutions, CD Shaffer, et. al., CBE Life Sci Educ. 2010 Spring; 9(1): 55–69. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830162/)
Genomics is not only essential for students to understand biology but also provides unprecedented opportunities for undergraduate research. The goal of the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), a collaboration between a growing number of colleges and universities around the country and the Department of Biology and Genome Center of Washington University in St. Louis, is to provide such research opportunities. Using a versatile curriculum that has been adapted to many different class settings, GEP undergraduates undertake projects to bring draft-quality genomic sequence up to high quality and/or participate in the annotation of these sequences. GEP undergraduates have improved more than 2 million bases of draft genomic sequence from several species of Drosophila and have produced hundreds of gene models using evidence-based manual annotation. Students appreciate their ability to make a contribution to ongoing research, and report increased independence and a more active learning approach after participation in GEP projects. They show knowledge gains on pre- and postcourse quizzes about genes and genomes and in bioinformatic analysis. Participating faculty also report professional gains, increased access to genomics-related technology, and an overall positive experience. We have found that using a genomics research project as the core of a laboratory course is rewarding for both faculty and students.

This article does have some details about the course assessment side of things, syllabus models, all kinds of things of that ilk.

Also, current GEP members have syllabi and course descriptions we should check out.




Boston College

Clare O'Connor  BI 204

Biology 204:

BI 204 introduces students to basic techniques in molecular cell biology, genetics and bioinformatics within the context of a functional genomics project. Student are studying the evolution of genes involved in methionine biosynthesis, using the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as the point of reference. The methionine biosynthetic pathway has been chosen for this project, because it involves multiple enzymatic steps, each of which can be studied by a group of 2-3 students. S. cerevisiae has been chosen as the reference point because it is a well-studied model organism that is easily cultured by undergraduate students at low cost and because of the extensive online and clone resources available to researchers.

Gonzaga University

Phage lab

We recently revised our biology curriculum based on the AAAS Vision and Change document. Part of that reform was modifying the phage lab so that it could be taught to all students taking introductory biology (300+ students per year). There is one phage lab in the introductory sequence, accompanying BIOL 105: Information Flow in Biological Systems and BIOL 106: Energy flow in Biological Systems. There was interest at our HHMI PDs meeting in our sharing our strategy for doing this with other schools. We also had a faculty development piece--training faculty over the summer to be able to teach the phage lab.


(http://www.hhmi.org/news/ucla20100520.html) http://www.mimg.ucla.edu/initiatives/

The University of Texas at Austin

Research Stream Program:

"Rather than placing individual students with individual faculty, or integrating parts of research into traditional laboratory courses, the FRI revolves around the "Research Stream,"a fully functional research laboratory in which students do cutting edge research supplemented by weekly lectures that are organized around the work being done in the lab." There are posted examples of research streams in many disciplines.

Grinnell College

Biology 150 Biological Inquiry

The intro bio courses are described briefly on their website:
with specific course sections described here:

Northern Arizona University 

The Ponderosa Project:

"The Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is an interdisciplinary faculty group effort to incorporate environmental sustainability issues into university courses with the ultimate goal of providing future citizens the education and skills necessary to achieve sustainable communities and societies. Environmental sustainability is defined as the wise and just use of natural resources to maintain Earth's natural cycles while meeting human basic needs and protecting resources for future generations."

University of Delaware

The computer science course may be helpful to broaden disciplines

University of Delaware folks are very active in Problem Based Learning. "In problem-based learning (PBL), complex, real-world problems are used to motivate contextual learning in a need-to-know basis, rather than as checks of understanding following delivery of content by lecture or other means. Students in small groups work towards problem resolution by asking and their own and peers' questions, using their collective skill at acquiring, analyzing, and communicating information." A summary of their program is posted on the Pkal website:

Purdue University

The Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education (CASPiE) is a multi institutional collaboration designed to increase authentic research in undergraduate chemistry classrooms.

Southeast Missouri State University and Beloit College

Investigative Case-Based Learning (ICBL) is a variant of Problem Based Learning that encourages students to develop questions that can be explored further by reasonable investigative approaches. Students then gather data and information for testing their hypotheses. They produce materials which can be used to persuade others of their findings. Students employ a variety of methods and resources, including traditional laboratory and field techniques, software simulations and models, data sets, internet-based tools and information retrieval methods. (Bioquest)


Problem-solving section of Genes Evolution,and Development. This would be interesting to hear about--the blurb says it serves to "level the playing field" so all students will be well prepared for the tackling problems in other classes. BIOL 126: Energy Flow in Biological Systems
Follows the pathways through which energy and matter are acquired, stored, and utilized within cells, organisms, and ecosystems. The focus moves among the different levels of organization from protein function to nutrient movement through ecosystems. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter;

Earlham College

Earlham offers inquiry based lab for Cell Pysiology and for the intro class Cells, Genes, and Inheritance.


Tadashi Fukami, Berkeley - Biology Kloser MJ, Brownell SE, Chiariello NR, Fukami T (2011) Integrating Teaching and Research in Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Education. PLoS Biol 9(11): e1001174. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001174

Univ. Of Louisiana at Monroe

Do not have the details of this program, can't find my notes, but recall it was introductory course. This school, has a very diverse, first generation educated population of students, thus I think a template for a successful program for this demographic of students would be useful. I have given Ann a call, but she has not gotten back to me.