Letter from the Editors, PURM 3.1

Mat Gendle, Elon University, U.S.
Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Elon University, U.S.

In early October at the ISSoTL13 conference in Raleigh, NC, we had the pleasure of leading a panel of other faculty and students representing the best undergraduate research journals available today. We were joined by Dr. James Butler, co-Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities; Jeff Chen, Chief Executive Officer and former student editor of Journal of Young Investigators; and Deanna Cox, student Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Excellence. These journals publish the products of undergraduate research efforts across disciplines and have thoughtful and careful review processes to ensure good research and student work is being disseminated.

Perhaps the most impressive aspects of the panel for us were the professionalism and enthusiasm both the editors and the attendees brought to the discussion. For example, Jeff and Deanna spoke eloquently about their journals, their unique editing structures, and the deep involvement of students as both authors and those behind the scenes driving the journal. The panel attendees asked excellent questions about international differences between UR journal goals, copyright issues, the value of publishing null results, and ways to encourage undergraduate researchers to both think about publishing their own work as well as working with journals to publish the work of others. After the panel, we felt excited and energized about the role of undergraduate research, mentoring, and publishing today.

With that enthusiasm in mind, we are happy to introduce the first issue in the third volume of Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (PURM). Coming off the heels of our special issue focused on undergraduate research in the arts and humanities, PURM 3.1 offers a combination of articles representing different disciplines and interesting ideas. We start with a short research article by Rebecca Jordan and Wesley Brooks from Rutgers University exploring the role of an academic program supporting graduate students who are mentoring undergraduate research projects. We continue with our signature Dialogue articles:

Evan Enquist and his colleagues at Drake University in Iowa present the perspectives of students, faculty, and staff working on undergraduate research projects with human subjects in an exercise science lab

Lilian Mina and her students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania discuss how research can be used in the first year writing classroom to teach valuable research skills while potentially setting the tone for future undergraduate research projects

Karolyn Jimenez along with her fellow students and faculty advisor Sunil Bhaskaran share a case study of their geospatial science and technology work at the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York and the benefits of this type of work.

These articles all offer insight and unique advice that might be useful in your own undergraduate research mentoring activities.

Lastly we have a Call for Applications and a note about some new PURM features to look out for including our newly updated resources page, upcoming changes to our Current Questions blog, and new Facebook presence.

We hope after reading this issue you will be as encouraged as we were as we put it together and thought about the issue in the context of our ISSoTL panel experience. As undergraduate research programs touch more people, we hope to encourage the ongoing conversation about research and mentoring in a variety of different venues and hope you will join us. As always, please enjoy the issue, comment on it, and contact us if you have any questions about submitting an article for an upcoming issue.

Mat and Rebecca

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