R.E.A.L Inquiry: Research Experience for Aspiring Leaders, the undergraduate research initiative Longwood University has developed as its Quality Enhancement Plan, uses the development of research skills and the practice of research as a vehicle for improving students' critical thinking, information literacy, and communication skills.
Chosen as the QEP topic in an institution-wide process, student research is a key issue at Longwood University. It embodies the university's mission, advances institutional priorities reflected in the Academic Strategic Plan, responds to institutional assessment represented by the National Survey of Student Engagement and core competency testing, and corresponds to the competencies employers prize and our society needs.
Download / View the R.E.A.L Inquiry PowerPoint Presentation (March 18, 2014)
The goals of R.E.A.L Inquiry are three; specific actions, consonant with the literature and sound practices in the field, will be implemented to promote each goal:
Goal 1: To improve students’ learning by promoting their discovery of new knowledge through research.
1.1. Identify or develop courses to be enhanced for research skills development and prepare faculty through development grants and workshops to offer these courses
1.2. Make available a faculty-guided summer undergraduate research program in all disciplines
Goal 2: To improve students’ learning by facilitating student-faculty collaboration in research.
2.1. Establish Office of Student Research (OSR)
2.2. Establish competitive funding for recognizing excellence in faculty mentoring of undergraduate research
2.3. Use electronic portal to draw attention to possibilities for student research and completed student research, to track students’ research skills development, and to assess core competencies addressed in the QEP
Goal 3: To improve students’ learning by advancing an understanding of the importance of disseminating the results of research in academic and civic communities.
3.1. Link undergraduate research and community engagement
3.2. Provide grants for undergraduate research and/or presentations at conferences
3.3. Organize annual student research showcase day for Longwood students
3.4. Highlight senior honors research program and other student research—presence on online "student research portal"
Resources in the form of funding, personnel, and space will be provided in support of the plan.
The initiative identifies both student learning outcomes and outcomes related to the environment for student learning that will be assessed over the course of the five-year plan.