The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program: Scalable Undergraduate Research

Edward Coyle
Georgia Tech

While undergraduate research is a high-impact experience associated with greater learning gains, higher graduation rates, and compensatory gains for marginalized students, minoritized students participate in undergraduate research at lower rates than their peers, and undergraduate research is difficult to scale-up to serve all students. The low faculty-to student ratio in traditional apprentice-style programs is not scalable, and paid research experiences are cost limiting. Course-based undergraduate research experiences are scalable, but they require substantial investments in course development and instruction. The _____ workshop will give participants tools to expand undergraduate research through the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) model, which was designed to serve all students. The VIP model embeds large-scale, long-term, multidisciplinary student teams in ongoing faculty research. The model has proven cost-effective, sustainable, scalable, and adaptable to varied institutions, as it has been implemented at 44 institutions of varying sizes, settings and missions (25 in the US, 19 abroad). Scalability has been demonstrated in existing programs which continue to expand, with 83 VIP teams in the largest and 32 to 45 teams in the next three largest. To center the workshop within the contexts in which participants work, the 75-minute session will involve discussions of current practices at attendees’ institutions, identification of obstacles and potential supporters/resources, and development of actionable plans. The steps involved in establishing a VIP Program are not linear, and lessons learned from a myriad of institutions will be shared.


Julia Sonnenberg-Klein