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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

New undergraduate research to arrive spring 2021

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Texas State File Photo.

A new Quality Enhancement Plan is set to take action spring 2022 to implement a new undergraduate research program.
Every 10 years Texas State initiates a new QEP to enrich the college experience by improving the overall learning environment for its undergraduate students. The previous QEP was the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration Center, a program with specialized advising for undergraduate students of all majors that remains a facet of the undergraduate experience.
The newest project is the implementation of an undergraduate research program. While many STEM majors have ample opportunities to interact in research programs, most other majors do not participate in research.
Many research opportunities are typically reserved for those in graduate programs and are not easily accessible to those who wish to research as an undergraduate.
Graduate research programs are guided by faculty and are mainly independent, giving a majority of the responsibility to the student. Undergraduate research will be modified so the intensity of the program will be under closer guidance by faculty.
French professor Peter Golato, co-chair of the undergraduate research QEP, said enabling undergraduate students to participate in research earlier will further prepare them for graduate school.
“There are some numbers somewhere about how many students arrive at Texas State wanting to work with faculty on research,” Golato said. “By the time they graduate, the percentage of students who were interested in researching with a faculty member was lower in comparison to those who were actually able to participate in research.”
Professor Alejandra Soto, co-chair of the undergraduate research QEP, said implementing undergraduate research will only positively impact the university and could result in Texas State furthering its overall research status to an R1, or major research university.
“Both faculty and students can increase their productivity, that means more grants and funding for the university and an improvement for the entire learning experience for both faculty and students,” Soto said. “The university is looking to increase all the indicators that lead toward becoming an R1 institution.”
The undergraduate research program will be available to every major regardless of the research interests of prospective students. Students of all academic disciplines will be able to ask questions and get the opportunity to perform research.
Camille Barkhuizen, agriculture freshman, said students might be more inclined to research about their major through increasingly accessible research opportunities.
“As an agriculture major, I can see many of my classmates doing research on soil or cattle,” Barkhuizen said. “This is a great opportunity for students who want to research within their major and have a really niche idea.”
Marketing for the QEP project will begin this summer and will be fully approved and put into action by spring 2021. The QEP will be implemented both the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses by spring 2022. There is a proposed space within Alkek Library to house the undergraduate research program.
For more information on the QEP process, visit https://www.sacscoc-qep.txstate.edu/.

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