Community College Undergraduate Research Inititiave

The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) uses an inquiry-based teaching model where students are exposed to real world science through a case study in an introductory course followed by a hands-on research experience resulting from questions about or related to the case.  CCURI is provides resources for our 38 institutional partners, including introductory workshops or conferences that build regional and national collaborations, start-up supplies and a wide variety of faculty development opportunities.

The Tulsa Community College CCURI team includes Dr. Julie Marino and Dr. Kent Teague from Oklahoma University, Dr. Kath Curtis from Oklahoma State University and Dr. Ric Baser from TCC.  The professors from TCC involved in the project include Bryan Coppedge, Patty Smith, Dusti Sloan, and project manager, Diana Spencer.  The Tulsa Community College BURET Institute is approaching the growth of undergraduate research through Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE), Course Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE), faculty development, and inter-institutional research articulations.   The departments involved are Biology and Biotechnology, with faculty participants from the TCC Science and Mathematics Division on the west and southeast campuses. Much history in undergrad research at TCC and student internship development through the team members includes two CUR weekend training sessions, the development of the URSA TCC team, and the TCC STEM Strategic Plan:  The Student Partnership Hub.  “Research is Teaching” is the driving force for focus.  Continued development of authentic research experiences through the CCURI team association is providing quantitative student achievement data for the purpose of providing feedback to improve courses and increase student success.  College goals supporting this endeavor include Achieving the Dream and Complete College America.  The recognized collaborations are between TCC and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and Oklahoma University Tulsa.

During the summer of 2012, a new credit-bearing summer research course “Lab Sprints” was developed with Dr. Diana Spencer instructing under the SURE goal.  The course includes an introductory 16-hour intense lab methods section (one hour credit).  Students participating will complete the initial study and then have four options for research.  The students will have the opportunity to: (i) develop an individual research project within the TCC biotechnology labs  for two hour credit called "Lab Sprints Plus";  (ii) participate in the Tulsa Area Bioscience and Educators Research Consortium (TABERC) internship,  during which students will travel to their assigned labs and complete their projects (two hour credit); (iii) complete the TCC course Biotechnology Apprenticeship credit within an area research lab; (iv) continue research with another instructor through another research program.  TCC has committed funding for course coordination following the CCURI project years, provided adequate enrollment numbers are maintained.

Faculty members have committed and begun work in facilitating research investigations and subsequent case study development within the CURE goal.  Courses included within this option for investigation are: Cell Culture, Molecular Biology and Techniques, Zoology, Botany, Conservation Biology, and Plant Conservation.  The case studies will be presented within the investigation courses and additional courses of Biology for Majors and Biology for Non-Majors.  Topics of investigation will include: PCR specifics, beetle host identification, rodent identification, effects of land fill chemical contaminated water on mammalian cells, biosurveys of the native cross timbers and prairies, and native plant propagation.

The Bioscience Undergraduate Research Experience in Tulsa (BURET) Institute