Inspired by the need to connect virtually during COVID-19 operations, a community of practice for facilitators of undergraduate research experiences was initiated at our university. Weekly virtual meetings quickly expanded to fill an unmet need for cross-campus support of research experiences more generally, including clarification of liability concerns, best practices for crafting inclusive application materials, culturally competent mentorship, and the abrupt transition to online research experiences. The resulting synergy of ideas also yielded significant new initiatives including an anti-racist research curriculum, federal grant proposals, and campus-wide outreach activities. The community of practice has continued to evolve with a sustainability focus, utilizing the model of a dedicated meeting facilitator and regular meeting times, coupled with responsiveness to pressing issues articulated by participants. Regular participants report improved outcomes for their students as a result of the community of practice discussions, as well as a space for personal and professional support and networking.
Pierszalowski, Sophie; James, Gabs; Fetherstonhaugh, Grace; Cheung, Itchung; Chappell, Patrick; Engels, Jennifer; Plaza, Dwaine; Ramos, Stephanie; and López-Cevallos, Daniel
"Communities of Practice in Academic Administration: An Example from Managing Undergraduate Research at a Research-Intensive University,"
Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Vol. 4
, Article 12.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/elthe/vol4/iss1/12