Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

NTC CURE Program

The NTC Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Program supports faculty in designing a learning experience in which the purpose of the course is to address a research question or problem with unknown outcomes or solutions. The knowledge generated should be novel to the students, faculty members, and the research community in general. Faculty members from all five NTC schools are encouraged to propose a CURE course.

The proposed course may be a reimagining of a current course or a new course altogether, however, the course would be included in the faculty member’s regular teaching load. The CURE Program will award a $4,000 grant per professor for selected CUREs. Faculty members may also apply for an additional $1,000 for materials related to selected CUREs.

Application Process

The CURE Program is administered by Newcomb-Tulane College’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). Faculty members may submit their proposals via the application form to NTC’s Program Manager of Undergraduate Research. The proposal should include:

  • A brief but precise description of the course and how it qualifies as a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience
    - The proposal must include a clear description of the research project, research activities,
       possible research outcomes, and student learning outcomes
    - This can include a sample syllabus but a finished syllabus is not required
  • Information regarding course fees, if applicable
  • Information regarding required pre-requisites or other student restrictions, if applicable

The applicant’s department chair is required to approve their participation in the program to ensure that it is consistent with regular departmental activity.

Application Timeline

  • Late October: Call for proposals sent out to faculty and faculty chairs
  • December 21: CURE application deadline
  • Mid-January: CURE application decision deadline
  • Early February: Course scheduled for the upcoming fall semester

Terms and Conditions of Appointment

Each CURE professor will be awarded a $4,000 grant to acknowledge the time and effort involved in such a course’s unique instructional requirements. Four faculty members may receive grant funding from OUR to teach one CURE each per academic year. CURE professors are selected by the dean of Newcomb-Tulane College and members of the NTC Executive Committee. 

CUREs may be offered in the fall and/or spring semesters. A CURE may be a standard course offering imagined in a new, inquiry-based manner, or a special topics course that falls outside the regular curriculum. To permit the latter option, CURE professors may use some of their grants to secure partial release from departmental teaching duties, if they so choose, but the NTC OUR cannot offer any funding outside of the regular CURE stipend. CURE professors are encouraged to offer courses that can be incorporated into regular departmental offerings so that they may fulfill major requirements. The NTC Office of Undergraduate Research will assess the students in the class and require access to end-of-semester evaluations. 

Program Details

The CURE Program offers a $4,000 grant per professor to teach a standard or novel course in a manner that affords “students opportunities to make discoveries that are of interest to the broader scientific community or other stakeholders outside the classroom”—a hallmark of the successful CURE. Two grants are available per academic year and the grant is funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Dr. Karlem “Ducky” Riess Endowment for Undergraduate Honors Curriculum. 

To assess the program, a version of The Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment  (URSSA) will be administered to students at the end of the course. The faculty member will be debriefed qualitatively as well.

Exemplars

An established exemplar is at Purdue University, where Dr. Rafael Lang developed a CURE in collaboration with the university’s office of undergraduate research that involved students in the search for dark matter particles in the universe. The students enrolled “in real research and data science analysis, [that] may, one day, help find the true nature of dark matter.” In addition to analyzing and comparing datasets with their fellow peers, the students are still learning the concepts taught in any other physics and astronomy course—the difference being that the students get to use these concepts in real-time to do authentic, real-time research that contributes to the present understanding of dark matter.

A possible version of a CURE based on current NTC courses could involve Dr. Jordan Karubian and his work in analyzing the mating behavior of white-bearded manakins into a CURE. In this proposed CURE, students would learn the same concepts they would in any other intermediate-level ecology and evolutionary biology course while also developing real research questions and answers. As a component of the course, students would use, “camera trap videos to quantify certain display behaviors to determine the behavioral components that drive female preference and predict male mating success.” This would have the dual benefit of aiding Dr. Karubian in his research and welcoming more students into the research currently happening at Tulane University.