Undergraduate research program engages humanities students

UO English professor Paul Peppis, director of the Oregon Humanities Center

The UO is launching a new program that will bring mentored research opportunities in the humanities to undergraduate students .

Funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation, the Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship is an academic-year research experience created in partnership with the Oregon Humanities Center, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

“Undergraduate research is one of the better examples of a high-impact learning activity for students,” said Brad Shelton, interim vice president for research and innovation. “When we surveyed the availability of funded research opportunities for UO undergraduates it became clear that experiences for students in the humanities were needed.”

As the sole interdisciplinary umbrella organization for the humanities at the University of Oregon, the Oregon Humanities Center was a natural partner for the development of a fellowship program. A crucial part of the Oregon Humanities Center’s mission has always been to advance humanities research on campus, explains the center’s director, English professor Paul Peppis.

“The HURF program allows us for the first time to significantly extend that mission to include undergraduate research,” Peppis said of the fellowship program. “We are delighted to join with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and the Division of Undergraduate Studies to make the HURF program available to the many talented undergrads working in the humanities at UO.”

The fellowship program will fund up to eight UO students to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty mentor for 16 weeks during the winter and spring terms. Students will receive a $2,500 research stipend and faculty mentors will receive $500 in research funds for their vital mentorship role during the research project.

The program is open to all full-time UO undergraduate students who have a proposal to conduct research in the humanities, have a minimum 3.5 GPA in humanities courses and have a faculty mentor who will supervise their research project. 

As part of the program, fellows will meet once per month during the research period to share their progress and engage in discussions on a variety of topics, including responsible conduct of research, abstract writing, effectively communicating research, career development and applying for graduate school and distinguished scholarships. The program will culminate with fellows submitting a final paper, presenting their research as part of a panel presentation at the 2016 UO Undergraduate Symposium and participating in an end-of-program celebration.

Students involved in research and creative scholarship see improvement in their ability to write, solve problems, and communicate clearly. They are more resilient in the face of obstacles and experience professional gains in time management and project management skills.

Additionally, undergraduates involved in research see gains in self-confidence and independence, gain clarity of their academic and personal goals, develop necessary skills for graduate school and employment, and sharpen their critical thinking capabilities

“What’s tremendous about undergraduate research is that not only does it enrich the academic experience for students, but it also provides them with significant professional training and skill development that translates seamlessly to most fields and industries,” said Karl Reasoner, program manager of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. “The skills and competencies that graduate schools and employers are looking for in graduates are precisely those that a research experience provides.”

The application for the humanities fellowship program is available now and is due on Nov. 1. For application materials and more information on the program, visit the program website.

Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation