Institutional collaborations to support undergraduate research as experiential learning

Changing a campus culture to have experiential learning become essential to the student experience requires extensive buy-in and support from the campus community (Stowe & O'Connell, 2022). The Office of Experiential Learning at the University of Calgary supports experiential learning institutionally, with a bold target of all students having at least two high-quality experiential learning opportunities during their academic studies (Kaipainen et al., 2020). At UCalgary, a large, research-intensive institution, undergraduate research is a signature form of experiential learning where students engage in hands-on research in collaboration with researchers. There are numerous benefits to students participating in research (for example, see Lopatto et al., 2020); however, a lack of incentives and training can limit faculty members' willingness to engage in pedagogical change (Brownell and Tanner 2017). In this panel discussion, we will describe the landscape and context of undergraduate research at UCalgary, programming that has supported more than 3500 students engaging in research initiatives over the last three years, and institutional-level collaborations that have facilitated a culture shift, increasing undergraduate research in curricular and co-curricular experiences. As a vital part of our work, we will describe extensive research to understand barriers to accessing experiential learning opportunities for deserving equity groups and ameliorative actions we have taken as a campus to increase accessibility (Stowe et al., 2022). Finally, we will discuss the challenges and successes faced in expanding undergraduate research and experiential learning opportunities in our context institutionally and explore with participants how our experiences may translate to other institutional contexts.
Conference Panel Presentation, ISSOTL Conference, Nov 8-11, 2023, Utrecht, Netherlands.