Special Viewpoints

Undergraduate Research, Graduate Mentoring, and the University's Mission

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Science  31 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5535, pp. 1624-1626
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062714

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Undergraduate research and graduate mentoring have received a great deal of attention in recent times. What do these activities have in common? They both speak to the primary mission of the research university, which is not merely carrying out research but training students to do research. The knowledge-based global economy, with its wealth of information and opportunities, has increased undergraduate students' need for research skills as well as graduate students' desire for personal guidance. As the research university matures, the boundaries between graduate and undergraduate education are blurring. Indeed, if we focus on the learning process, we find not two but five levels of learning at the research university: lower division, upper division, master's, doctoral, and postdoctoral. All five levels form a continuum, a series of gradual steps. The mission of the university is to introduce students to research, to inspire in them a passion for discovery at each of these levels.

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