CLA Dean's Freshman Research and Creative Scholars

Now accepting faculty proposals for spring 2018!

CLA Faculty interested in including a talented freshman in your scholarly work for spring semester, please submit your proposal by completing the Dean’s Freshman Research and Creative Scholars Faculty Questionnaire Form (form requires University of Minnesota email sign-in).

Fostering research for the next generation

Research opportunities are key experiences for undergraduate students; however, most research programs focus on sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Through the Dean's Freshman Research and Creative Scholars program—the first of its kind among Big Ten Academic Alliance (formerly CIC) institutions—the College of Liberal Arts has taken the lead in engaging outstanding first-year students with faculty scholars.

The program has 3 goals: 
  1. to recruit outstanding students to the college
  2. to create an early opportunity for students to interact with faculty members at a premier university
  3. to highlight faculty scholarship that engages undergraduate students
Each fall we invite faculty—tenured or tenure-track—to submit research or creative project proposals that can benefit from the assistance of one or more of our talented first-year students. This program is a collegiate program awarded to students through the admissions process as part of their scholarship package and is based on their College of Liberal Arts scholarship application, test scores, and GPA. This is not a program that students are able to apply for participation on their own.

A signature program

While there are similar programs (like UROP) that aim at sophomores, juniors, and seniors doing a traditional research project with faculty, we've been able to show that this can be extended to first-year students in a powerful way. There are five ways in which this program is unique and important to our college:
  1. The awards help recruit highly talented first-year students to the college.
  2. Students must take an active part in research or a creative project, so there is some thoughtful co-curricular engagement and activity in the liberal arts by the freshmen who receive funding.
  3. Faculty-student interaction is a core component of the program. This type of 'touchstone' is an important element to help keep students invested and motivated in their college careers.
  4. Undergraduates in the program experience research and creative work first-hand with our most talented faculty members. As the only liberal arts college in Minnesota with a research-intensive mission, this is a unique experience for students and speaks directly to our core mission.
  5. The program's flexibility works well across the social sciences, arts, and humanities. All faculty and students can find some point of intersection around research and creative work.


Barbara Schwab
Director of Administration, Scholarships, and Awards

115 Johnston Hall

Jadah Green
Program/Project Specialist