Dean's First-Year Research & Creative Scholars

Jadah Green
DFRACS Coordinator
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The Dean’s First-Year Research and Creative Scholars Program (DFRACS) is a scholarship experience offered to exceptional CLA first-year students, freshmen and transfers, to provide them an opportunity to engage in a CLA professor's research or creative project.

A DFRACS scholarship is awarded to students based on their admissions application for scholarship consideration. This is not a program that receives applications; rather participation is by invitation only. Students who accept their DFRACS placement will be matched with a CLA professor to work on an aspect of their research or creative work during the spring semester. Additionally, students will receive a scholarship of $2,000 and college credit.

The College of Liberal Arts believes that the undergraduate experience is greatly enriched by attaining a research opportunity. The goal of the DFRACS program is to provide an opportunity for first-year students to experience the high impact benefits of participating in undergraduate research.

Student Benefits for Participating in Undergraduate Research

  • Transferable Skills: Undergraduate research strengthens written and oral communication, analytical and critical thinking, technical skills, and information literacy.
  • Confidence: Undergraduate research builds confidence in student’s abilities within a discipline, and improves overall perception of the discipline.
  • Community: Undergraduate research provides opportunities to build a learning community with faculty and fellow students. Students can develop strong relationships with faculty members who may serve as references for them.
  • Career Goals: Undergraduate research can help clarify choice of degree program, career interests, and improved preparedness or desire for graduate study.
  • Increased Academic Achievement: Studies show that students who participate in undergraduate research are more likely to persist to degree completion in their chosen field.

As a liberal arts college with a research-intensive mission, this program offers select CLA students a highly valuable  and unique opportunity. Students experience and contribute firsthand to research or creative work, while actively developing their Core Career Competencies, and being mentored by a CLA professor.

How the Program Works

  • Each fall we invite faculty, tenured or tenure-track, to submit research or creative project proposals that would benefit from the assistance of one or more of talented first-year students.
  • The Office for Undergraduate Education (UGE) will match confirmed student participants with a CLA professor who is offering a research opportunity.
  • Students will be informed of their assigned professor during the fall semester. The research or creative opportunity will happen during spring semester.
  • At the end of the fall semester, students will meet with their assigned professor to review the research opportunity, agree on the project work, and submit the Research Contract.
  • During the spring semester, students will devote 6-10 hours per week to their research project, gaining insights into a new body of knowledge and experiencing firsthand the value of research or creative work.
  • Students will receive an award of $2,000 for the spring semester for participating in the assigned research or creative opportunity. They will earn 2 or 3 credits and will register for CLA 1052.
  • A RATE assignment and a final project are due at the end of the spring semester.

The research and creative opportunities available in the program vary widely in nature, reflecting the richness of disciplines and scholarly work being pursued in CLA. The UGE office makes every effort to pair students with a professor whose field will match their interests. However, this experience is worthwhile even in the event that a student is matched with a research opportunity that is outside their direct interests.

“This program allowed me to develop skills and become accustomed to what researching in the real-world is actually like. This opportunity has helped shaped my professional career goals and confirm my passion. This once in a lifetime opportunity has made me truly appreciate attending a prestigious research University with award winning faculty."

Student Participant