What do UNC Asheville Alumni Think About Their Undergraduate Research Experiences?

Emily Petra Diaz-Loar

Abstract


Many universities offer undergraduate research (UR) opportunities for students across disciplines. Nationwide, 33% of undergraduates complete research projects. UR experiences can be improved by understanding alumni perceptions of their undergraduate research. UNC Asheville is nationally recognized for opportunities in UR, yet alumni perceptions of research have not been previously studied. This study reports on a 2014 survey of UNC Asheville alumni that prompted them to describe their UR experiences and the overall perceptions of their undergraduate education. The data were analyzed in aggregate and by academic division (Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities) in order to determine whether there are distinct differences in alumni perceptions across academic disciplines. Overall, alumni responses were positive amongst the divisional cohorts. Identifying how alumni view their research experiences could aid in distinguishing what the strengths and weaknesses of UR are at UNC Asheville. By determining the perceived benefits of UR at UNC Asheville, the university can improve how research is conducted to provide students with more beneficial research opportunities that encourage further engagement in educational activities during, and after, their undergraduate careers.


Keywords


Undergraduate Research; University of North Carolina Asheville; Alumni

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