What makes a community? Our local communities may be geographical, but we know other qualities bind us in different types of community. Is it a common set of interests or beliefs? Similarities in personal or professional identities? Or maybe a felt sense of fellowship based in these common interests, beliefs, and identities. However you define it, community is built, sustained by the participation of members who care about the growth and common good of the community and who actively invite others into their midst to expand the sense of fellowship. And building community is exactly what we intend to do here.
Welcome to the community home of Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (PURM), our new blog, Current Questions. PURM is an exciting new online, peer-reviewed journal focusing on the process and challenges of undergraduate research and the mentoring that accompanies this work rather than the products of the research. The journal provides a space for students, faculty mentors, and administrators to share and value dialogues about the undergraduate research process while opening conversations across disciplines and universities. The inaugural issue of PURM will launch in just a few short weeks, and we hope you are looking forward to the first issue as much as we are looking forward to sharing it with you.
When planning PURM, we knew we wanted a journal that encouraged members from all aspects of the undergraduate research community to share their experiences and to engage in active conversations about this inspiring trend in higher education. Yet we also realized that community requires tending and regular interaction between members for it to flourish and grow. The Current Questions blog provides that necessary space to extend the community’s conversations beyond the issues of the journal and encourages voices to contribute in different ways – by responding to published journal articles, guest blogging, and engaging the conversations started by guest bloggers.
What can you expect from Current Questions? You can expect teasers about upcoming issues of PURM and new articles, as you see later in this post. We’ll feature our authors and our peer reviewers discussing their experiences with undergraduate research. Guest bloggers will pose insightful questions about all aspects of undergraduate research and mentoring and encourage you to share your insights as well (interested in guest blogging? Email us!). We will highlight interesting programs around the country and around the world (interested in being featured? Email us!). We’ll review interesting articles, books, and studies related to undergraduate research. In short, Current Questions belongs to the undergraduate research community as a space to chat, raise questions, and create linkages across disciplines and universities. We hope you will be an active member in the community.
To start the discussion off right, we’d like to know what you are anticipating most about the first issue of PURM. Our authors cover a wide variety of topics under our initial theme of “Supporting Quality Undergraduate Research: Challenges and Rewards.” Here’s just a taste of what you will find:
- U.K. Scholarship of Teaching and learning (SoTL) trailblazers Alan Jenkins and Mick Healey explore the question of accessibility to undergraduate research in higher education (or the lack thereof).
- A developmental psychologist and three of her former students discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing a cognitive apprenticeship model in a research program.
- Students and faculty in the Public Sociology program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington share their experiences in developing, participating in, and conducting research at a Community Campus location in a public housing development local to their university.
- A faculty and student research team report on a comprehensive faculty survey at one university exploring the beliefs and attitudes of an understudied population in the undergraduate research equation: faculty.
What about PURM interests you, and what do you hope to find in the first issue? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Check back to the PURM blog Current Questions regularly over the weeks leading up to the launch of the first issue. We’ll be featuring teasers from our authors about their upcoming articles that you won’t want to miss. Thank you for supporting PURM and the undergraduate research community. We hope you’ll be a regular here.
Dr. Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Managing Editor, PURM