LTU received a $293K grant for developing innovative educational programs that will embed actual information science research in its undergraduate programs. The undergraduate research will be interdisciplinary, and in the first stage will combine computer science research with art, biology, and psychology. The unique education programs aims at changing core courses such that instead of focusing on lectures, assignments, and exams, the students will have the opportunity to learn the foundations of these disciplines by conducting actual research using computational and information science tools.
Previous studies, including the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PACT), show that participation in research is a primary contributor to student engagement and student satisfaction, and consequently to student retention in STEM disciplines. It is therefore expected that research-based education will gradually offer an alternative to the traditional lecture-based education. The new LTU programs will utilize the power of undergraduate research experience and will make research accessible to a broad population of students as part of their formal education. According to the program computer science students and students from other disciplines will team up to tackle scientific questions using computer methodologies that have not been applied before to these problems with the goal of making new discoveries in the field.
In addition to research experience, the new programs will provide knowledge and experience in information science also to non-computer science students. That experience will improve computer literacy and enhance the computer skills of students who do not have computer science as their major, but their efficacy as professionals in their discipline can be substantially improved by having strong computer skills and ability to solve problems using computational tools.
LTU was one of 14 colleges and universities selected by AACU (Association of American Colleges and Universities) as recipient of the grant from almost 200 academic institutes that participated in the competition.
Official AACU press release