2020 CURE Training Institute

Information on this year's CURE cohort will be posted soon.

This effort will build the institution’s capacity for providing scaled research experiences within the curriculum in a variety of disciplines. Funds will provide initial incentives and training to support instructors in designing course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) as first-year or second-year seminar courses. For more information, please contact Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, kjsc@arizona.edu

A link to a recording of the workshop described below is available upon request.

Please contact Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, kjsc@arizona.edu

You’re invited to attend an introductory workshop to learn more about CUREs. Please RSVP by Feb. 25, 2020.

Date:         Friday, March 6, 2020

Location:   Student Union, Santa Rita Room


11:45        Check in and pick up boxed lunch

12:00        Introductions, Why CUREs, and Example CURE

12:45        Break

1:00          Research and Instructional Goals

2:30          Workshop ends

  • Learn what is an authentic CURE, the variety of approaches to designing CUREs, faculty feedback on the benefits, the advantages of CUREs at the first-year level, pitfalls, and developing your goals for a CURE.
  • See examples of CUREs at: https://serc.carleton.edu/curenet/collection.html


Dr. Sara Brownell
Dr. Sara Brownell, Facilitator

Sara Brownell is an Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.  She received a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University, a M.S. in Biology from The Scripps Research Institute, and a M.A. in Education and a Ph.D. in Biology, both from Stanford University.   Sara is a neuroscientist turned discipline-based education researcher whose research focuses on how we can make undergraduate biology more accessible, diverse, and inclusive. Her research areas are broad and include assessing the impact of course-based undergraduate research experiences, exploring the experiences of students with covert identities in active learning classrooms, and helping to reduce students' perceived conflict between religion and evolution.  Sara's work has been highlighted in numerous news outlets including The New York Times, Scientific American, and CNN.  She is the proud recipient of the 2020 LGBTQ+ Educator of the Year award from the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals.  

“CUREs offer several advantages over research internships - they can enroll many more students and they are accessible to all students who enroll, not just the few who stand out in class, who are confident enough to approach faculty directly, or who have personal or programmatic connections that help them get access to research.” – CUREnet

Early undergraduate research experience (URE) in social sciences and humanities leads to significant gains in analytical and critical thinking skills for first- and second year students, especially for first generation students (Ishiyama, 2002). UREs, particularly during the academic year, lead to increased interest and persistence in STEM, especially for underrepresented minorities (Gregerman, 2017; Hurtado, 2009; Lopatto, 2004; Russell, 2007; Schultz et al., 2011; Rodenbusch et al., 2016). However, the traditional 1-on-1 apprenticeship model prevalent at UA limits the number of students with these experiences to a select few. CUREs have been emerging as an innovative approach to incorporating authentic research into entry-level courses (Auchincloss et al., 2014).

From CUREnet website: CURE vs. Inquiry

Inquiry instruction involves many of the features of CUREs. Similar to CUREs, inquiry instruction involves students in asking and answering scientific questions, analyzing relevant data, and making and defending arguments. Both forms of instruction aim to develop students' scientific expertise, especially their ability to engage in scientific practices. In inquiry courses, students' work may be novel, but a stakeholder outside the classroom is unlikely to be interested in the results. CUREs are distinctive in offering students opportunities to make discoveries that are of interest to stakeholders outside the classroom. CURE students have been coauthors on papers, have contributed results to research repositories, and have generated data used as preliminary results in grant proposals (see the resources below for details and examples). Because CUREs are usually integrated with a faculty member's ongoing research, CUREs are also limited in offering students complete freedom to ask and answer their own questions, as students may be able to do in an inquiry project.


  • Gentile et al. (2017). Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM. Link
  • Dolan (2017). Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences: Current knowledge and future directions Link
  • Auchincloss et al. (2014). Assessment of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences: A Meeting Report. Link

CURE Institutes have been offered across the country by CUREnet2. Co-PI of CUREnet2, Dr. Sara Brownell, will be facilitating the University of Arizona’s CURE Training Institute.

This opportunity for University of Arizona instructors is funded by a Provost Investment Fund. It provides initial incentives and training to support instructors in designing CUREs for first-year students. A cohort of six selected instructors or instructor teams will attend the University of Arizona CURE Training Institute in late summer or early fall of 2020.

During the 2 ½ day Institute, participants will learn about and use evidence-based instructional strategies to develop plans, instructional materials, and assessment tools for integrating a research project into a CURE course.

Facilitator: Dr. Sara Brownell, Associate Professor at ASU and Co-PI for CUREnet2, is facilitating both the introductory workshop and the CURE Training Institute. See bio under introductory workshop description.

  • July 6, 2020 – Deadline to submit application
  • July 13, 2020 (tentative) – The 2020 Cohort will be notified of their selection.
  • Late Summer 2020 - Meeting with evaluator before the CURE Training Institute; complete pre-survey
  • Late Summer/Early fall 2020 – CURE Training Institute will take place over 2.5 days. Dates will be determined by the availability of the 2020 CURE Cohort and the facilitator. Complete post-survey.
  • August - December 2020 – Develop CURE
  • Spring 2021 semester – Teach the CURE course; evaluator conducts two in-class observations
  • Spring semester – Three maximum learning community meetings
  • Spring 2021 – Application opens for the 2021 Cohort
  • Summer 2021 – Serve as mentor for 2021 CURE Cohort and earn $1000 (limited to three individuals)

Each team will receive the following:

  • $1000 to attend the CURE Training Institute in late summer/early Fall
  • $2500 to develop the CURE syllabus over the fall
  •  $3500 to teach the course during spring 2021
  • Funding for an undergraduate assistant to provide development support and feedback during the summer/fall and during the delivery of the course

Half day assistance per team from the CURE consultant during course development  

  • Teams of University of Arizona instructors are encouraged to apply together.
  • If instructors apply as a team, the award would be split amongst the team members.
  • Instructors at any level, including faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and staff can apply.
  • Application will require a signature from the department head. Graduate student applicants will require the signature of a faculty mentor or advisor.
  • Instructors who are new to CURE instruction and who plan to teach a first-year or second-year CURE course will be prioritized.
  • A few team slots will be reserved for those who can offer the CURE as an online experience. 

The Institute’s Leadership Team will select the six teams for the 2020 CURE Cohort. The Leadership team consists of: 

  • Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, STEM Learning Center
  • Abra McAndrew, Student Engagement and Career Development
  • John O'Neil, Research, Innovation, and Impact
  • Lisa Elfring, Office of Instruction and Assessment
  • Pete Reiners, College of Science
  • Rebecca Gomez, College of Science
  • Jen Fields, Office of Societal Impacts
  • BEFORE: Complete a pre-survey.
  • DURING: Actively participate in all sessions, draft a CURE project entry on the CUREnet site (each session will include time to do this), and complete a brief end-of-Institute evaluation form.
  • AFTER: Teach the CURE course and enter your CURE project entry on the CUREnet site within one year of completing the Institute.

Submission Deadline: Monday, July 6, 11:59 pm

To complete the application process, you will need to prepare your responses to the application questions ahead of time and have the CURE Training Institute Approval Form ready to upload. A description of the application process is below.

Up to two instructors may be included in the project. Faculty mentors or advisors for graduate students are not included in this limit.

Feel free to explore existing CUREs for project ideas. CUREnet suggests the following sources:

A. Complete the online application. – Be prepared to:

  • Include contact information on up to two instructors within the project team.
  • Graduate students – Be prepared to list a faculty member to advise you on the project.
  • Include a brief bio for each instructor.  (Max 1000 characters)
  • Briefly describe your or your team’s motivation for applying and a short description of the idea for a CURE course in such a way that those outside your discipline will understand what you plan to accomplish. Describe your or your team’s idea for the research project you plan to incorporate into a CURE course, the intended learning outcomes, and the audience for which the course will be offered. Describe how you or your team envision students being able to make discoveries relevant to stakeholders and describe which stakeholders. The project should be based on a real need with genuine stakeholders who will be interested in the results. (Max 2500 characters)
  • A tentative outline of the course. (Max 1000 characters)
  • A description on whether this course could be offered online or whether it needs to be an in-person experience. 

B. Upload the following document:

  1. The CURE Training Institute Approval Form – Download this form and secure signatures from each department head corresponding to each team member to acknowledge planned participation in the project, if selected. Only one form per department is needed.
  2. Graduate students: An additional signature from your faculty advisor is required on the form, or if not applicable, a faculty mentor who will advise on the project.
  3. Postdoctoral researchers and staff instructors: An additional signature from your supervisor is required on the form.

The Application is now open.

Application >>