Implementing a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) into an IE Curriculum

Potter, Leslie
Potter, Leslie
Stone, Richard
Fyock, Audrey
Stone, Richard
Popejoy-Sheriff, Devna
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Since 2013, the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE) Department at Iowa State University (ISU) has provided high-impact education experiences to as many as 35 students/semester (~6% of its student body) through undergraduate research assistantships (URAs). These experiences support ISU’s strategic goal of ensuring that students receive an exceptional education, with sub-goals of improving the ISU Experience for underrepresented students, increasing retention and graduation rates for all students, and growing the impact and scope of graduate programs [1], [2]. The number of students who can benefit from this experience in the IMSE Department has plateaued, however, because of faculty time constraints. To significantly increase the number of students having this kind of experience, we are implementing a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE), where students address research problems in the context of a class. CUREs benefit students in numerous ways; we are focusing on increasing retention in STEM fields and interest in graduate study. ASEE data from 2016 show that currently 31.8% of industrial engineering bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women [3]; an increase in this number would be an example of a positive outcome of a CURE. To assess the effectiveness of CUREs as both a retention tool and graduate school pipeline, the IMSE Department has implemented a pilot CURE in the Spring 2018 semester in one 40-student section of a required, 3-credit, second-year applied ergonomic and work design course. At the end of the semester, data will be compared between two sections of this course: the CURE section and the non-CURE (traditional lecture) section. This project will measure increases in the number of students who have undergraduate research experiences, retention rates within the department, and the number of students who enroll in STEM-related graduate school. This work-in-progress paper describes the methods used to develop the CURE pedagogy, including the research activities and assignments that are being incorporated into the course, along with planned assessments. Baseline data and longitudinal data collection plans are described.


This proceeding is published as Potter, Leslie, Richard Stone, Audrey Fyock, and Devna Fay Popejoy-Sheriff. "Implementing a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) into an IE Curriculum." Paper ID #21715. 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, UT. Posted with permission.