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Value and Structure of Research Experiences for Undergraduate Wildlife Students

Joshua J. Millspaugh and Kelly F. Millenbah
Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006)
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 2004), pp. 1185-1194
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784757
Page Count: 10
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Value and Structure of Research Experiences for Undergraduate Wildlife Students
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Abstract

Many colleges and universities are encouraging faculty to provide more undergraduate research experiences (URE). Proponents of URE describe many benefits for students and faculty mentors. In addition to developing important research skills (e.g., problem solving, communication), students learn the process of science, and the recruitment and retention of highly qualified students are increased. Mentors often gain assistance in meeting their long-term research goals while helping shape careers of future scientists. The call for increasing URE requires a basic understanding of goals, responsibilities, and priorities from student and mentor perspectives. Our intent is to discuss merits of URE and offer advice for structuring and developing URE. We provide an overview of student and faculty perspectives of URE, outline various structures for URE with an emphasis on the student colleague model, and describe how to incorporate URE in mentor research programs. Also, we supply a list of internet resources for publishing and funding undergraduate research projects. We contend that URE might help overcome some of the shortcomings of undergraduate education recently identified by wildlife educators and employers, as students develop many key career skills and acquire relevant experience important to later success in the profession. However, students and faculty must carefully assess and consider whether URE help meet future goals, given other commitments.

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