~A Letter from the Advisors~

In a significant and sometimes critical commentary on the American research university, the recent report by the Boyer Commission approvingly quotes John Dewey: “Learning is based on discovery guided by mentoring, rather than on the transmission of information.”

We share Dewey’s view and the powerfully argued position of the Boyer Commission regarding the central value of inquiry-based learning in the education of undergraduates. Given the shape of knowledge and work as we enter the 21st century, it is essential that our students have skills and intellectual initiative that go beyond what is typically nurtured in conventional classroom learning. We believe that involvement with leading-edge research helps students to gain experience in the continuous and self-directed learning that will be core qualities of those individuals most successful in knowledge creation, diffusion and utilization.

The rapid rise of the University of California, Irvine to the select group of world-class research universities is attributable, inter alia, to our top-quality faculty, facilities, and environment of knowledge creation. Our undergraduates have long been integral participants in the research that is the hallmark of UCI’s distinction. Faculty-mentored research, in which students themselves develop and complete projects, is one of the most significant modes of such participation. At UCI’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, more than 200 undergraduates present their work in a professional conference setting. In addition, many of UCI’s schools and departments have their own arenas for the presentation of students’ research and creative activities.

We have established The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal to provide another medium through which the best of undergraduate research can be showcased and shared with a broader audience. We hope that you will find the research in this Journal to be engaging, and that this sampler of our undergraduates’ research will offer some insights regarding the variety of work being undertaken by UCI students. Should you wish to explore our activities more extensively, one place to begin is at the Website for our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (http://www.urop.uci.edu).

The Journal owes its existence to many people, but some merit special recognition. First, we acknowledge the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors. Their collaborations and relationships led directly to the completion of the research included in this Journal. Secondly, we thank the UROP Student Editorial Board who not only created the guidelines for this inaugural volume, but also were central in the review, editorial, and design processes through which the Journal was produced. This Journal is very much a student-based product. Third, we are grateful to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided final evaluation of the papers selected for publication. And fourth, we acknowledge the hundreds of UCI students and faculty who collaborate each year in undergraduate research projects. It is from this extensive and diverse array of research activities that we offer a small sample in this Journal issue. We welcome your comments on this initial volume of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal.

 

 

James N. Danziger
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP


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