The purpose of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) supports the mission of the University of Michigan (U-M) by engaging undergraduate students in research, scholarly, and creative inquiry. UROP encourages students towards a life-long appreciation for discovery and social benefits of diversity, for building understanding across differences, and critically examining information in the world around them. By providing opportunities for students to work on research and creative projects with University of Michigan researchers and community partners in all academic disciplines, UROP creates conditions for an equitable, inclusive, and supportive educational environment where every person feels valued and has an opportunity to add value.
Our vision is a world where every student, regardless of personal circumstance, is able to learn and succeed in a research setting. As part of a top tier research institution, UROP has the responsibility and ability to train educational leaders and develop the innovative practices inclusive of equity and access that will help realize this vision. We rely on the following guiding values and distinctive characteristics to achieve our goals.
UROP values collaborations with research mentors, departments, programs, and external partners and institutions in support of student learning. UROP works towards our mission guided by the following set of values which will be imperative to sustaining and improving our educational practices.
1. Commitment to Diversity: Meeting our mission means believing all people can learn regardless of personal circumstance. UROP also believes in a diverse scholarly community (race, class, gender, social class, sexual orientation, disability or ability status, among others) in which multiple points of view are encouraged.
2. Intellectual Risk-Taking: Engaging students in an adaptive learning context where failure and error challenge individual learning practices, problem solving, and behavioral patterns. This provides students with space to think, speak, and be respectfully challenged.
3. Ethics and Integrity: Engaging in academic inquiry and research dissemination should be morally responsible and honest.
4. Collaborative Inquiry: Educational challenges are multifaceted; therefore, they must be addressed from a variety of perspectives; using the expertise of interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners from the academy, community, private sector, and the narratives of individual-lived experiences.
5. Innovation: Excellence in research means thinking outside of common problems/solution identification. We are committed to creative approaches and developing multiple solutions that often emerge outside of traditional structures and cultures of knowledge production.
6. Student Learning: Opportunities for students to engage in research, inquiry, and discovery are deep learning experiences. UROP promotes the understanding of basic concepts and complex materials through their application to real world problems. We recognize undergraduate researchers as partners in uncovering new knowledge, rather than as the recipients of what the research mentor already knows. In doing so, we value each student’s individual path, personal growth and development of long term educational and career goals.
7. Research Mentors: Mentoring should inform teaching and research practices. By working with undergraduate students, mentors benefit from fresh perspectives that may reveal new ways of seeing accepted ideas while advancing their research. As such, UROP enables mentors to communicate their passion, disciplinary expertise, and attract diverse students to their fields.
8. Results Oriented: Achieving excellence means maintaining a shared culture of high expectations for ourselves and for our students; a culture in which attaining specific goals and benchmarks must be the starting point for identifying new ones.
The development and success of UROP reflects the contributions of our participants and strategic partners, establishing a network of cooperation that extends beyond the realm of academia. UROP values the opportunity for all our participants to interact in this network to further individual goals and the development of the entire cooperative.