The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has just released a 62-page report on the “Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research,” or COEUR. Taken from the French for “heart,” the COEUR report can be read as a call to action for U.S. baccalaureate programs, which face growing demands that they show students how classwork and research experiences combine to support their career goals.
The U.S. research enterprise was once the exclusive domain of elite research universities, postdoctoral institutions, and federal and industry laboratories. Over the last 20 years or so, however, there has been a growing awareness that research doesn’t start at the end of a student’s postsecondary career, but at its beginning. This shifting focus has drawn attention to the high-quality research that contributes to a comprehensive undergraduate experience.
It has always been taken for granted that the role of undergraduate education was to produce functionally literate workers who could manage and lead our nation’s core industries. With its COEUR report, CUR has articulated in the clearest possible terms that research can now be seen as a core competency goal for undergraduate institutions. AASCU provosts will hear more about the COEUR report at AASCU’s 2013 Academic Affairs Winter Meeting in Point Clear, AL.