Team Experiences and Mentoring Strategies for Undergraduate Research (TEaMS-UR)

Heather Vance-Chalcraft
East Carolina University

Need: Science is conducted in teams to advance scientific innovation and if we give students the strategies to work effectively in teams then they will be prepared for success in a modern scientific workforce. But the undergraduate education experience does not emphasize developing skills necessary for effective teams. Therefore, we are providing strategies for teams in Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) that foster the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for successful teamwork in science. Guiding Question: How does team science training impact team functioning for mentors and participants across the range of undergraduate research experiences? To answer this question team science training has been implemented in CUREs at a regional, R2 university across four disciplines: biology, chemistry, geology, and engineering. Outcomes: We are using a multi-model approach that includes a team science survey, team observations, communication plans, research plans, student presentations, and research products. The survey design, validation and student response data will be presented as well as for communication plan and research plans scoring rubrics. Preliminary analyses indicate that the communication and research plans increase the effectiveness of the science research teams. Survey results found significant gains in student team science competency following participation in the CUREs led by GTAs and faculty trained in team science. Broader Impact: Team Science workshops are provided to graduate teaching assistants (TAs) throughout each semester. These workshops introduce team science and related research, tools used to promote team competencies, and strategies for conflict resolution within teams. Since 2020, we have trained 25 faculty and 25 graduate teaching assistants in team science strategies for implementation into over 40 course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), impacting close to 400 undergraduate students. Team science is needed to facilitate work across academic and societal boundaries, including community outreach, citizen science, and collaborative work with diverse partners to address real-world environmental and societal issues.


Joi P. Walker, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC