Experiential learning is a cornerstone of UC San Diego’s education initiative, which is putting undergraduate learning under a microscope as part of the university’s strategic planning process. Real-world preparedness, transferable skills, and career competencies are under discussion, and undergraduate research can benefit all three.
A new undergraduate research portal, created in academic year 2012–13, is a one-stop shop for students, faculty, and external providers of research opportunities. Students can post their résumés or CVs, and employers can post their intern requests on a single website, which showcases various research programs. A searchable database containing research opportunities includes volunteering, internships, part-time positions, and even entrepreneurial projects.
Some programs have a global flavor. In summer 2013, eight UC San Diego students and eight students from a Taiwanese university traveled abroad to participate in a research exchange program. Future exchanges will likely include China, Korea, India, and other nations that are strategically important to UC San Diego’s global partnering agenda.
With roughly one thousand faculty members and twenty-six thousand undergraduates, the university increasingly relies on external partners to supplement research options. Prime targets are companies within a five-mile radius of the campus. For an enterprise, internships are a welcome source of free labor and future employees.
The Regents Scholarship, based on academic excellence, is the most prestigious scholarship awarded to University of California undergraduates. The Regents Scholars Research Initiative (RSRI), which guarantees talented incoming students an undergraduate research experience from day one, accommodated fifty-nine UC San Diego freshmen and seven transfer students in 2013.