During the conference, attendees discussed the question below at their tables, and prepared responses. Each table provided two responses. The summary response was limited to 25 words, and a corresponding detailed response was given with a 250 word limit. Click on each summary response below to view the detailed responses. At the bottom of the page, you will find a word cloud representing all responses to the question.

How should we best connect research and discovery with teaching?


Table 1 - We need to give students practice in changing the world.
  • Importance of courses for non-majors (Professor Richards-Kortum's story was very powerful and how she said yes to Sheldon asking her to teach the course); resisting disciplinary silos and thinking about how you would teach students outside your area.
  • We need to give students practice in changing the world - and practice is interdisciplinary.
  • There needs to be deliverable at the end of projects.
  • We need to work on problems that are really cool and engaging - we need a hub of problems where faculty can go to find problems they might apply their own discipline and expertise - and make that knowledge accessible across disciplines - and reduce constraints to this.
  • There needs to be incentives and resources from administrators which empowers faculty to put research at the center of their teaching.
  • We have a good start: FIG, Bridging Disciplines, and UGS Signature Course - these are all things we have developed to go in the right direction without breaking the structure of the departments or the degree requirement (silos)
  • Should majors become more interdisciplinary? The gems of the University - faculty - so how do we expose students to faculty? UT has unique resources - every student has to be part of a team that is working on a research project - a team model that is a multi-disciplinary team - our group noted that representatives from the library, HRC, Blanton need to be included in the campus conversation
Table 2 - UT must commit resources to facilitate learning by doing (e.g., course release, stipends, TAs, course credit)
  • Incentivize faculty to adopt experiential models of learning that build bridges between research and learning (e.g., course release, stipends, remuneration for departments)
  • Create a "domestic" study abroad program to take advantage of nearby opportunities (e.g., international communities in Austin)
  • Create a community of faculty dedicated to integrating research and teaching similar to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers
  • Extend the UGS flag system to promote the integration of teaching and research (e.g., individual inquiry flag or research flag)
  • Adapt Michigan State's Translational Scholars Program (interdisciplinary groups of grad students) to UT undergraduate students
Table 3 - Practical learning is everywhere. How do we bring it to early years? Compilation of successful experiences would be very helpful

Lots of "practicum" like experiences in later years undergraduates and graduate level. Texas City Lab, Master of Business Analytics, Nursing school... challenge is how to bring that to the early stages of undergraduate education. Connecting the courses is very important here. "Facts" courses become more meaningful if students understand how they fit in the applied experience. Maybe teams of faculty thinking about courses together.

Flipping is successful. Sharing ideas and best practices amongst faculty that are experimenting with it can be very helpful. Resource page

Break the students expectations of a linear path to an A. Discovery learning is uncomfortable and need to be encouraged in the early years.

Table 4 - Students should have experiences creating concepts, raising questions, applying research and theory to real world or conceptual world realities and learning from their mistakes.

We focused on efforts that could be integrated into virtually every class on the UT campus as a low effort way to affect change, with our major goal to model the inquiry process.

Idea 1: Empower students to identify problems in the community or elsewhere which they could address suing the skills they learn in their current course.

Idea 2: Involve guided inquiry problems and activities into existing classes. These could include those identified by students via idea 1, but also, for instance: case studies in Pharmacy, shorter design projects in engineering, application of theories, incorporating their own research into courses and so forth.

An outstanding question is how to inform instructors and excite them about making these changes. Our best idea bottom-up idea was that learning about successful implementation of these strategies (like the talks at this symposium) are highly motivating for instructors. A top-down option is for Colleges to directly provide information about these types of activities. . Often instructors may already be doing these and need help recognizing it.

Table 5 - We need more opportunities and incentives for interdisciplinary collaborations between faculty and students

We talked about not over-emphasizing the utliarian aspects of education; also aeshetic and humanistic. And we especially talked about interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities--teaming up students in different majors into mentorship groups paired with groups of faculty from different colleges (eg teams of three from business, neuroscience, and humanities). Students could get clear sense of what research looks like in different fields but also perhaps get an interdisciplinary research experience. Discussed existing projects like Texas Cities Project in Architecture and Urban Planning; and Neuroscience Boot Camp in Neuroscience and how these could be extended and also bring in students/faculty from other fields. Social work already does a lot of this--could easily bring in humanities people, business, scientists, etc. to build program. Using undergraduate studies as a forum for these kinds of collaborations, perhaps co-teaching signature classes as well. Let's not forget opportunities for lateral learning between students.

Table 6 - Faculty want to involve students in research andbut we also have a lot of concerns about the resources available to carry out projects.

It is already the case that there are a lot of individual efforts to do research projects with students around campus. At present, budget cuts have made it difficult to expand these efforts, despite faculty interest/ideas to include students. We discussed a lot the importance of resources, invcentives, and clear message about the value of including students in research. Faculty need to know that they are getting "credit" or the time-intensive efforts of working so closely with students. We also need to do a better job of designing these efforts through collaboration with tenured faculty, non TT faculty, and graduate students. Faculty cannot simply step out of the process, but also--with current system of incentives--cannot expect tenured faculty to lead these efforts without substantial financial and human resources. We also noted that we need to know more about what efforts already exist on campus, sharing knowledge and ideas. Other major issue was thinking about need to change campus culture, faculty sense of loyalty. How to get faculty to see themselves as part of UT Austin as a whole and not just working in a sub-discipline or department.

Table 7 - Drive towards implementing and scaling university-wide freshman research experience (with room for variation across disciplines).

Proposal: University Freshman Research Experience with funding and support staff, with clear communication about the value of research for students' education and solving problems. Perhaps this could be a way of re-specifying and requiring inquiry flag. Pilot over 2-3 years with plan of scaling culture of freshman research over 5 years. Upper division students participate as mentors, graders, learning assistants

If you're not integrating your research/discovery/creation into your teaching, then what are you doing? Important to have people in power who see real-world engagement as a critical, even essential part of what faculty are doing. Multiple participants noted that sometimes told that creating and leading these kinds of innovative experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates was waste of time. They have to do this off own grants, on own time.Some courses, disciplines seem to be more open. Best teachers, even junior faculty, naturally want to do this integration of research and teaching. Need to create more opportunities and be willing to fund. However, are opportunities funded by external clients/ partners, and projects that aren't expensive. Low hanging fruit: exposing students to research of the faculty member and others in the department. Highlight publications by faculty and students. Technologies play important role to facilitate peer interaction.

What if successful? How changes demands for/expectations from subsequent courses? How many faculty need to participate? Should all programs provide upper division research experiences at least as option

Table 8 - Skills versus transmission of content: difference between disciplines that need content for students to succeed, though there are still opportunities to teach that content actively.

All of my notes just disappeared, so I can't give too detailed an account, but we had a long conversation about ways in which active learning can be achieved in a variety of contexts -- from individuals with research assistants, to teaching TAs to run discussion sections, to incorporating online resources in gaming and problem solving.

We began by wondering how the Humanities could participate in a project like Rebecca Richards-Kortum's and talked about how the critical thinking and communication skills that are at the core of all Humanities would be valuable for any group. There was also some discussion of how certain disciplines might be difficult to find do-able projects for undergraduates (eg, microbiology), but that those disciplines might provide the content knowledge for projects like RR-K's.

We ended, though, with a discussion of taking seriously the student question, "What do I need to do to get an A in this course?" The answer to that question, we agreed, shows a teacher's real concern for active learning and skill building vs. learning content.

Table 9 - Teaching needs to focus on how to ask questions; where disciplinary knowledge comes from. All departments => FRI and how to adapt to discipline. Perhaps common
Table 10 - Freshman research initiative, incentivize faculty and student participation

Get students involved in research and independent learning (freshman research initiative) involve upper classman and graduate student as project mentors

Provide faculty incentives to engage students in research projects (salary, cola undergraduate research mentorship program), release time; the freshman research initiative has had an increase in retention in the stem course. Students are mentored in "streams" of 25 and groups of 4-5 on a project in active learning. This would be a MAJOR transformation and curriculum revision

Expose students to experiences such as the Harry research center, the Blanton, on-line search methods, Natural History Mus., where can have resources access

Help students mentor each other and build leadership skills, not just graduate students, undergrad mentorship

Field experience is transformative, but it does not need to be abroad. Take them into the field, or look at the stars for astronomy class involves them in the faculty research. Provide unstructured environment that allows a student to excel get opportunity to see success.

A happier enriched student experience carries through into adult life, so providing a diverse experience, get students out of their comfort zone, provide stem student opportunities to integrate the arts into the class

Table 11 - We need to integrate faculty and students into cross-disciplinary research clusters and teams.
  1. Need creative ways to locate money resources to incentivize student research.
  2. Smart (non-traditional) classrooms to do collaborative projects.
  3. Collaborative, cross-disciplinary project coordination among faculty.
Table 12 - It starts with orientation. Neither students or faculty should be where they don't want to be. Collaboration is between faculty and students.
  • Flexibility and exploration are key
  • are we satisfied with what we teach from the standpoint of research?
  • students need to meet milestones but at the same time get them involved in cutting edge, what has come out in the last 6 months?
  • show students this lecture is not something i developed twenty years ago
  • take advantage of FIG environment
  • get students used to failing, you grow through your failure
  • aspiration, get students to realize the univ is not just a bunch of courses or classrooms, it is the willingness to explore, to be wrong, to fail
  • teaching students how to do project-based experiential learning
  • breaking down barriers to your particular field, it is dynamic
  • flipped classrooms that propel students back to the videos you have created so they can be more engaged in the next actual class
Table 13 - Teaching Discovery by posing global questions for students where no clear solution exists, complementing that with deep foundational learning. Freshmen, inter-disciplinary, gateway to more research.

We are both a major research and a major teaching university. We must embrace both. We need to emphasize teaching discovery -- working as faculty and students together to unpack and examine global problems where no clear solution currently exists. This is designed to excite students about the process of discovery and the joys of interrogating difficult problems. This should be done in an interdisciplinary manner for freshman. At the same time, we need foundational learning in existing disciplines. The teaching discovery courses and foundational courses, both taught early in a student's career, should be integrated in upper-level work. The global perspective should address excessive American chauvinism. We should encourage students to take basic foundational courses at UT -- that should be emphasized outside student majors.

Table 14 - "Just in time" learning: Buffet-style “get it when you need it” education Informed by process of discovery. Note importance of mentoring and team work

Importance of experiential learning

How do we find "clients"? Importance of working with them on framing problems

Teams of undergrads graduate through series of technologies and knowledge-areas, become mentors/tutors for next cohort, are part of faculty research program

How do you structure these experiences without constraining student creativity?

How do we scale up these programs? Importance of mentoring and follow-up

Open lab notebooks - making the process of research much more visible. Traditionally argue that this is about visibility to other scientists (for reproducibility, quality, alignment.)

But our students are also an audience of our research work in progress.

Hans: "Give me 5 students for four years and at the end I'll give you well-trained humans with a well-rounded education"

Buffet-style “get it when you need it” education Informed by process of discovery, ideally with emphasis on team work

"Get recognition for skills you learn anywhere" see http://www.openbadges.org

Table 15 - Build capacity to create relationships across disciplines, ranks, and spaces to fully engage university comunity in team learning.

Building capacity in the context of connecting research with teaching means:

  1. Flexible teaching space & pedagogical training to support evidence based teaching practices.
  2. Career expectations/incentives to increase marriage of reasearch and teaching.
  3. Institutional support of team teaching practice.
  4. Institutional support for teaming between faculty and students as the learning model - the team is the teacher and the student.

Recognizing the importance of process based and dialogic pedogogy in addition to outcome based pedogogies.

Table 16 - Courses that allow students to critically evaluate and synthesize information in a field with different experiences and perspectives that allow for discovery

We need to work to broaden beyond the discipline to expand the idea of research and discovery.

Teaches course with multiple perspectives and teams. "Discovery" class that takes the lens of research from different perspectives
Learning the language of different disciplines

Address as a goal what do we want the students to come away with. The class needs to be current. Make room in the "content" for "discovery"

Make it easy for faculty to change. Provide examples and templates

Table 17 - Make research relevant to middle of the distribution, use the incredible potential here, but be cognizant of the need for incentives for faculty and students
  • we need to incentivize faculty and students
  • needs to be done at the department level
  • UT administrators need to do a better job of making it clear what we do well already
  • our cutting-edge faculty are a real asset; but how do we leverage that?
  • collaboration and creative thinking are key, and need to happen early in their careers
  • this is bigger than getting students to check a box for a resume
  • we have to focus on students at all levels, particularly those that are not going on to be researchers
  • rethink how freshman seminars might be used to achieve this goal
  • small liberal arts colleges often produce higher caliber, research-ready graduate students!
Table 18 - Create space for innovation in teaching, reexamine system for evaluating learning, account for differences in humanities/sciences, use research to generate questions and curiosity
Table 19 - Blow-up semester credit hour; professors teach in research/expertise area; short teaching modules; intro to research methods--FRI; value/impact of research experience--for students/society

We acknowledged the problems (e.g., large classes, different forms of research by discipline, the investment of undergrads or lack of being equipped for research, etc.) warrant a more natural progression of degree plans OR dropping majors all together and creating more interdisciplinary, personalized tracks similar to BDP. However, we need to move from independent research projects to team based (especially in the humanities) which result in many erroneous and lost projects. We see the Freshman Research Initiative as a prototype for more structured research opportunities. It is critical that faculty have the opportunity to teach in their area of research, but with a more flexible structure (e.g., guest appearances, short modules, etc.) We feel overly constrained by teaching within the semester credit hour. We acknowledge that the vast majority of our students will NOT go into the research field. Therefore it is incumbent upon us that we should showcase research in the real world, how it is applied, interdisciplinary, and relevant. We can identify things they get out of the research process including: confidence, entrepreneurship, hard skills, information literacy, team work/communication, cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity, social connectedness, and seeing the value of university research.

Table 20 - Students need to understand knowledge is always changing. They can be part of creating new knowledge. Disseminate best practices for doing this across campus.

There can be a problem in conflating research and relevance when we talk about this.

Undergraduate education isn't about delivering information, it's about inspiration. We want to teach students that they can be creators of new knowledge.

People on campus are already doing a good job with this. How can we do a better job disseminating knowledge and best practices across campus and faculty?

To many people, scholarship and teaching might not be aligned.