Volume 36, Issue S1
Physiology
Free Access

The Research-Intensive Community Model has the Necessary Properties for Successful Propagation at Research-Extensive Universities

Christopher M. Quick

Christopher M. Quick

Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

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Andrew C. McNeely

Andrew C. McNeely

Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

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Sarah N. Gatson

Sarah N. Gatson

Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

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Abstract

Novel research education models often fail to propagate widely because they typically only include two of four necessary properties to successfully propagate and maintain their impacts: scalability, adaptability, sustainability, and inclusivity. Furthermore, research education models typically address the unmet needs of one stakeholder at a time. First, undergraduates need greater access to limited research opportunities at research-extensive universities. Second, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars need mentoring and management experience to prepare for leadership roles in the next stage of their careers. Third, faculty need to maximize research productivity and recruit future graduate students with sufficient preparation. Fourth, administrators need to stretch their limited resources to support the competing institutional missions of research and education. The Research-Intensive Community (RIC) model developed at Texas A&M University has the properties that are both necessary and sufficient to propagate broadly at research-extensive universities because it turns the competing needs of diverse stakeholders into opportunities. Briefly, instead of a traditional 1-on-1 research apprenticeship, research is performed by a diverse undergraduate research team led by a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar. Research teams are productive because they leverage each undergraduate’s unique assets (talents, skills, perspectives, and experiences) to advance the research of the graduate student or postdoctoral scholar. Team leaders meet monthly to discuss best practices for leadership and mentoring that increase their own research productivity through effective team management. Because team leaders are empowered to run their team by their faculty mentors, economies of scale are leveraged to efficiently centralize program marketing, participant registration, project advertisement, and program evaluation. Since 2016, the Aggie Research Program (ARP) has implemented the RIC model to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships to meet the diverse needs of diverse stakeholders. As the ARP has grown, team leader meetings have become a nexus for specific research leadership programs that are either interdisciplinary or focused on specific life science disciplines. The ARP exhibits the necessary and sufficient properties for successful propagation: 1) Scalability: participation has grown 30% each of the first 5 years to currently serve over 800 participants/year 2) Adaptability: research teams are distributed across diverse disciplines in 12 colleges. 3) Sustainability: administrative costs are limited to $50,000/year. 4) Inclusivity: 41% of participants belong to underrepresented groups (financially disadvantaged, first-generation, disabled and underrepresented minorities), which matches the demographics of the undergraduate student population at Texas A&M University.

This is the full abstract presented at the Experimental Biology meeting and is only available in HTML format. There are no additional versions or additional content available for this abstract.