RMBL Philosophy for the Undergraduate Research Program
(last edited September 2021)
Our philosophy for this program is established on the following approaches/principles.
- Actively engage students with research. While not all projects will necessarily be publishable, we expect all projects to be a significant research effort. If this is happening, every year some projects should be publishable.
- Help students become internally motivated. We should help every student move towards working independently for reasons of their own. While we understand that some students need a grade for credit, grades are de-emphasized. Further, students are given a range of opportunities, but we minimize the number of things we require them to do. Additionally, students should have both the time and headspace to create their own opportunities to grow, including shadowing different research programs.
- Undergraduate research should work in synergy with research programs. Some student projects should lead to peer-reviewed publications and funded research programs that benefit scientists. We provide staff support to focus the time investment of PI’s on relationship building and science, and to minimize how much time they have to spend on logistics. This helps us recruit great scientists for mentors.
- We take a place-based approach. Our goal is to help students develop the basic tools for doing place-based research, including experimental design with an emphasis on field studies, mapping and geodatabase skills, natural history expertise and observational skills, and opportunities to engage in long-term studies.
- We encourage students to begin to identify themselves as scientists. We do this by providing an immersive, residential program. We also provide students the opportunities to see and engage with scientists as people leading full lives. Finally, we also provide a diverse range of role models to help students from a range of identities and cultural backgrounds see themselves as scientists.
- The program should be having an impact on students. We recruit and admit students on the basis on finding students on whom our program will have an outsized impact. We are not looking to simply find the best students and put a stamp of approval on them. We want a range and diversity of students on whom a RMBL experience will be life-changing.