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Expanding Opportunities for Huron Students

CURL at a Glance: Celebrating 2 Years at Huron University College 
Expanding Opportunities for Huron Students
The Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning started as a grassroots idea to facilitate research learning at Huron

“The Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning started as a grassroots idea to facilitate research learning at Huron,” says Dr. Christine Tsang, Faculty Director of CURL since its inception in 2016. “We’ve worked hard to create new student opportunities for research collaboration with faculty and community partners.”

 

Research learning is a hands-on method of education that, through student-led research endeavours, emphasizes inquisitiveness, critical thinking, student autonomy, and practical application. CURL’s approach places students in the driver’s seat of major research projects, allowing them to conduct interviews, create documentaries, and even liaise with local organizations. These kinds of opportunities foster students’ confidence in academic environments, but they can be difficult to find at the undergraduate level.  CURL is looking to change that. 


Research Fellowships are a mainstay of the program, offering select students $1500 and faculty mentorship in support of independent research projects.  CURL also hosts a series of conferences and writing workshops right at Huron, and for students eager to expand their CVs even further, $500 Travel Bursaries fund trips to conferences and workshops out of town.


In its two years, CURL has grown from a small group of professors brainstorming after class to a significant component of the student experience at Huron, and Dr. Tsang is thrilled with CURL’s success. “It has been immensely rewarding to see Huron students really embrace CURL over these past two years. They’re undertaking amazing research projects examining a wide range of topics from musical theatre in Southern Ontario, to environmental effects on Indigenous basket weaving practices, and the effect of Facebook on romantic relationships.” 


What’s in the future for CURL? Dr. Tsang notes that a dedicated space in the library was recently established for students to research, collaborate, and receive mentorship, and that other ideas are in the works. “We are continuing to develop new transformative research learning opportunities for Huron students .”


CURL’s 2017-2018 Year at a Glance:

  • 24 Faculty Associates
  • 8 Student Research Fellowships (3 during the academic year, 5 during the summer)
  • 4 Student Travel Bursaries
  • 5 CURL RAships and 2 CURL Internships
  • 2 research conferences:
    • CURL Exhibition 2017: Half-day fall conference with 30 student presenters
    • CURL Conference 2018: Full-day spring conference with 45 student presenters
  • 1 CURL Workshop on proposal writing
  • Cohosted “Huron1Read” discussion panel with Rhodes Scholar Levi Hord
  • Published first issue of the CURL Magazine featuring work and reflections from 6 CURL student researchers
  • Received a SSHRC Institutional Grant used to fund 3 faculty-driven projects featuring hands-on training for undergraduate students