College of Education creates research and teaching opportunities for undergrads

Caitlyn Oliver

The College of Education is starting a program called Research to Practice: COE Undergraduate Research Initiative to create research and teaching opportunities for undergraduate students.

Usually this kind of opportunity is reserved for graduate students, making the Research to Practice program the first of its kind within the college.

The project started in 2012, using six undergraduate students in their senior year to test the idea. It partnered with school districts and local schools to focus on in-depth data collection and outline special education barriers in the classroom.

“Field-based experience is perceived by early career teachers to be the most valuable experience within teacher preparation programs,” Meca Williams-Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Education, said. “While some feel this experience is critical to their preparation, rarely are pre-service teachers using these experiences to conduct valuable research to support them in their development.”

The College of Education will make the program available to students at the start of their junior year and year’s program will start with 18 students in the spring.