Observational Astronomy Research at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution
Over the past two decades there has been explosive growth in the number of undergraduate students participating in research across a variety of disciplines and at a range of institutions from community colleges to research universities. The benefits of undergraduate research to the student have been well documented, and include gains in learning, such as concept mastery and problem solving skills, increased retention in the major field, and greater interest in and preparation for graduate study. Faculty and their institutions also benefit from the increased role of undergraduate research through increased faculty satisfaction, curricular innovation, and recruitment of motivated and engaged students (Russell et al. 2007). Indeed, tenure and promotion decisions for faculty are increasingly dependent upon evidence of involving undergraduates in meaningful research.