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UC Students are at the Center of Two New Centers Opening This Fall

Supported by UC2019 funding, both centers will explore innovations to prepare tomorrow’s workforce.

Date: 8/20/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   Funding from the UC2019 Strategic Plan is supporting two new centers this fall that expand on UC’s well-known reputation for real-world education and innovations in education, research and outreach. The new centers enhance UC’s reputation as a top research university as well as the university’s reputation for its opportunities for undergraduate research and hands-on experiences. Both centers will open later this fall.

A new Center for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Practice will provide a central location for supporting and growing UC’s undergraduate research possibilities. Gigi Escoe, vice provost for Assessment and Student Learning, adds that prospects for undergraduate research will expand considerably as a result of semester conversion.

“Our students possess not only the ambition to take part in meaningful research experiences, but also the expectation that UC will provide them with the opportunities to do so,” says Escoe. She adds that the center will also support:

  • Major and career selection
  • Student retention
  • Student/faculty mentoring partnerships
  • Team-building
  • Presentation and writing skills
  • Support for graduate school applications

The office will also pursue support for underrepresented and first-generation students, as well as promote local and national competitions related to undergraduate research.

Also opening later this fall is an office for UC Forward, the university’s new teaching and learning initiative that brings together students, faculty and an array of businesses and agencies to solve real-world problems. The studio approach used in UC Forward coursework could result in significant contributions to the social needs and economic development of the local, regional and global communities.

The Office of the Provost reports that more than 400 students participated in UC Forward courses and experiences in a pilot program during the 2011-12 academic year. Over the current academic year, the Office of the Provost will be awarding up to $100,000 in competitive faculty grants to support 13 new interdisciplinary projects.

Innovative learning experiences under UC Forward can involve studio collaborations, field experiences, labs and emerging technologies including social media, as students tackle the world’s challenges by blending their strengths from their different fields of study.

Current examples of the UC Forward initiative include UC’s Niehoff Urban Studio, which examines issues that affect the quality of life in Cincinnati, and the Live Well Collaborative, dedicated to developing products and services for consumers aged 50 and older.

The UC2019 Academic Master Plan sets a goal for 100 percent of UC’s graduates to participate in experiential learning.  Both centers are steps in working toward that goal.

Escoe says the director and program coordinator for the centers will be announced later this fall. The centers are established under the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and will work closely with the Office of Research as well as the University Research Council.