Undergraduate Research for the Common Good

CURE Courses Offered
CURE Courses Offered

Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences engage students in authentic research and inquiry through a common research problem and question related to the content of the course. CUREs are great opportunities to build research skills and confidence in students with little to no research experience and to prepare students for independent, faculty-mentored research later in their academic experience. CUREs are characterized by:

  • Discovery – the outcome of the research is not known
  • Relevance – the research builds on existing knowledge and has the capacity to have an impact beyond the class
  • Collaboration – students develop skills to work together and receive feedback from each other
  • Iteration – the work can be repeated to address problems encountered in the research and can build upon the work of previous students
Course Descriptions

 


 

 

APST 4996 Special Topics in Appalachian Studies – In this CURE, students collaborate with the City of Young Harris and students from multiple programs and disciplines (Art; Biology; Environmental Science), to complete a project through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Appalachian Teaching Project that focuses on cultural and natural legacy assets of Appalachia. Specifically, students will engage with Cupid Falls Park through a project entitled: “An Interpretive Trail to Highlight the Natural and Cultural Significance of Cupid Falls.” This will result in an interpretive trail that incorporates place-based and culturally relevant artwork and signage to depict natural and cultural heritage assets. Students meet with the Mayor of the City of Young Harris and its city council to determine acceptable project outcomes, present a final design, and conduct installation of interpretive pieces. 

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ARTS 3301 Concept Studio - Students conduct research on artists and artwork from art historical time periods to the contemporary period to complete three individual projects. Each project is designed to help students identify and establish their own individual area of investigation in the areas of subject matter, content, media, technical skills and formal considerations. The research informs students to develop meaningful artwork based on inquiry. Students collaborate throughout the process exercising written and oral communication skills in the studio and critique sessions.

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ARTS 4996 Special Topics: Inspired by Appalachia - Students perform research and collaborate with each other, students from other courses, faculty, and members of the community to create designs, artwork, infographics, posters, prototypes and presentations for an interpretive trail at a local city park. The creative work produced is based on the biological, cultural, and historical diversity of “Appalachia” and in particular, that of the Cupids Falls area located near the YHC campus. Outcomes of the project may positive impact the local community by celebrating local biodiversity and cultural heritage and creating a visually stimulating displays for local visitors and tourists.

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BIOL 3401 Dendrology – Using identification skills and botanical methods from the course, students will conduct an inventory of tree species in a local city park and develop a collective dataset. This CURE is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration with courses in other disciplines such as ENVS, ARTS and ORDS to develop an interpretive nature trail for the park that highlight’s the parks cultural heritage and its ecological diversity. Students develop a protocol for surveying trees in the park, and then implement that procedure to produce biodiversity data that can be repeated as part of ongoing monitoring of park biodiversity.

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BIOL 3705 Ichthyology – Students pursue a novel research question using local streams as their laboratory. North Georgia and Western North Carolina contains a rich diversity of fishes that are understudied and sensitive to changes in water quality form certain land uses. Students inventory native fish species and conduct research related to habitat use by individual species and temporal and longitudinal changes in the fish community. Field trips to streams for sampling are a major component of the course.

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BIOL 3805 Invertebrate Zoology - This CURE engages students in a research experience that is question-driven around a specific topic of student choosing and is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration with courses in ENVS, ARTS and ORDS to develop an interpretive nature trail for a local city park. Field collection of invertebrates is conducted in the city park with research questions arising from data collection. This question will be driven by student interests in climate change, human disturbance, biogeography, physiology, ecosystem dynamics, or another subdiscipline of their choosing. Students become proficient in invertebrate identification, sweep nets, D-frame kicknets, Berlese funnels, and invertebrate pinning.

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COMM 3020 Empirical Research Methods in Communication - The class is designed to teach students how to use several empirical methodologies (e.g., survey, content analysis, quasi-experiment, interview, focus group), and assignments require development of research questions and designing methods by which to address those questions. Students will collaborate on several projects (methods) addressing the same research question(s) and present findings and data as well as the efficacy of methods to address the question(s).

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COMM 4300 Senior Capstone Experience – Seniors in the Communication Studies major apply their knowledge through a novel research project of their own construction. Students develop research questions and then accumulate all the relevant literature by analyzing media texts, artifacts, and discourses through theories and methods prominent in the field. The analyses, as projects that build from a critical perspective, intend to impact the world in positive ways. Students then conduct a formal research project, applying theory and method to their artifacts or discourses in new ways, and author a manuscript that satisfies the requirements of prominent journals in the field of Communication Studies. Projects augment critical thinking skills, media literacy, and logical processes of students. 

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ENGL 4997 African American Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century – This course evaluates a distinctive African American literacy and print culture from the 19th century. Students analyze a print culture artifact produced by an African American writer and conduct original archival research, making use of digital archival databases. Students situate their historical artifact amid debates regarding the development of an African American nineteenth-century print culture, writing about archival pieces that have not been previously examined.

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ENVS 2101 Environmental Science Methods – This course instructs students in sampling methods, experimental design, data collection and handling, and scientific communication related to environmental problems. Students accomplish the objectives of this course by analyzing a large dataset of water quality data and land use data from local watersheds to evaluate the impact of land use practices on local water quality. The outcome is the development of recommendations for improving water quality in impacted streams that are presented to a local watershed organization.

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HONR 2101 Folk Legends in Georgia - Students propose and research a local folklore topic of their choice that requires both critical research within Folklore Studies and field research, including, but not limited to, the audio recording of interviews or storytelling within the culture of a particular folk group. Folk groups may include family groups, social groups on the YHC campus, or groups within the Young Harris community and beyond. As a result, students will develop a broader way of thinking about folk storytelling and other folk practices and learn more about the folklore present in their daily lives and within their communities.

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MATH 2000 Elementary Statistics - As a course that introduces many students to statistics and the power of data, the course is broken down into three main parts (collect, analyze, predict/test), which students are trained in through the CURE. Students in this course locate a large dataset from an online repository, develop a relevant research question that is authentic and who answer is unknown.  Students use statistical methods to analyze the data and answer the research question. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other and develop questions of interest to them and their specific discipline.

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MRKT 3300 Marketing Research and Analysis - Market research is a core function of insight gathering for marketing and for a host of non-business disciplines. Students conduct a multi-phased study of young adult athletic shoe brand preference and usage. The students are organized into three teams to do the research, with each team representing an adult athletic shoe brand. The process begins with secondary research of the major US brands and category sizing and trends, proceeds into survey design, collects a convenience sample. Students conduct data analysis using descriptive statistics and interpret the results. Measures like brand awareness, preference, and frequency of young adult athletic shoe usage can emerge from the survey data.

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MUSI 3301 History of Western Music I – In this projects, students research historical and biographical information of musical compositions, which provides insight into the performance practices of the period and encourages student to explore historical music and discover composers that are unfamiliar to them. Students create a mock recital program complete with a program list and program notes for each individual music composition. The program notes provide note-worthy biographical/historical information related to each composition, and the music is related to their applied instrument, giving students a direct historical connection to the course material, and providing new ideas for interpreting the music they perform. Inspired by their research, students perform at least one piece from their program.

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MUSI 3371 Elementary Music Methods – This course focuses on developing a clear understanding of teaching and curriculum standards for the state of Georgia. Students in this course research the K-5 Georgia Performance Standards used in Georgia Public Schools to guide their research into the Orff-Schulwerk Methodology on child centered music learning. Students work together to create a recital performance to showcase if utilizing this method could satisfy all or many of the Georgia Performance Standards. Currently, there is no alignment of state standards to the Orff Method, and future opportunities are available in analyzing national standards.

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PHYS 1111 College Physics I - Students investigate the nature of air resistance for a falling object to understand how air drag affects the motion of a projectile. Air resistance depends on various factors, and students specifically study the dependence on velocity and shape of the object. Students learn and review various drag models to develop a hypothesis for the dependence of drag force on velocity and shape. Through computational modeling, they then model the fall of an object through the air by using an appropriate model for the drag force. Data analysis is used to match the model to experimental data and refine the model if necessary. Students are encouraged to analyze and model any physical phenomena of their choice, such as the actions or movements of an athlete for example.

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