How campuses keep research going during the COVID summer

Hope College is bringing students back to campus while other schools continue research online

The continuing coronavirus outbreak has not shut down all undergraduate summer research on campus—Hope College in Michigan is one example.

The college is bringing back 120 students and 115 faculty members this month for its Summer Hope Academic Research Program, or SHARP.

“We have worked hard to support and implement on-campus research this summer because our undergraduates are not visitors to the laboratory—they are the critical, essential personnel in conducting research activity here at Hope,” Associate Provost Dr. Gerald Griffin says on the college’s website.

Students began the summer conducting their research and meeting with faculty virtually, which including learning how to use some new software platforms.

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Students are researching alternative batteries and how to teach chemistry online, among other topics.

“There’s been a big push to recognize that our research may not be as productive as usual, meaning we might not get those papers out, we might not get those publications done,” Justin Shorb, an assistant professor of chemistry, says on Hope’s website. “But this is still one of three summers for our research students in their undergraduate career.”

Undergraduates adjust to remote research

St. Olaf College’s in Minnesota has moved its Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry program online this summer.

Some 77 students and 27 faculty members are participating in the program, conducting research in the humanities, arts and sciences.

“Our goals this summer remain the same: we want teams of students and faculty to pursue meaningful research projects relying on robust methods and practices as appropriate for their field,” program director Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak, an associate professor of political science and Asian studies, says on St. Olaf’s website.

The shift online has forced some students to adjust to analyzing prior data rather than conducting novel lab or field experiments.

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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