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College aims to focus undergraduate research

Oct 22, 2014   |   by Michael Qian   |   The Dartmouth

Two new programs — Stamps Scholars and First Year Research in Engineering — aim to boost the number of student research opportunities. Around 600 students conduct research in connection with the undergraduate advising and research office each year, director Margaret Funnell said, adding that she had no way of knowing how many students do research through other avenues like theses and independent studies.

At a Steering Committee of the General Faculty meeting earlier this month, participants cited improving undergraduate research infrastructure and supporting more initiatives as a major priority, noting a need to track how much research is done each year.

When it comes to research, Dartmouth occupies a unique niche, Funnell said, falling in between a large research university and a small liberal arts school. She said that although faculty members at the former likely conduct cutting-edge research, they have fewer interactions with students. Meanwhile, at very small institutions, there is likely more student-faculty collaboration, but not necessarily the same caliber of research activity.

Beyond independently seeking out one-on-one research opportunities with faculty, students can participate in programs like presidential scholars, sophomore science scholarships, senior fellowships and the Women in Science Project. Students also conduct research at the College’s graduate schools, Funnell said.

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