students experimenting with autonomous robot

The Research or Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU) Program

Program Description and General Overview

The purpose of the UAH RCEU program is:

  • To support research or creative work experiences for undergraduate students in all fields of study
  • To foster cooperation between students and researchers in a research or creative endeavor, and to expose the student to academic scholarly work via active participation in a research, creative, or scholarly project
  • To assist in furthering UAH’s research activities by helping to provide opportunities for new and ongoing areas of study and creative work
Time Commitment

Students undertake activities within a research or creative work project typically lasting for 10 to 12 weeks in the summer and under the direct supervision of a UAH full-time faculty member or researcher (including tenure-earning and tenured faculty, lecturers, and research staff with term faculty appointments).

The work hours correspond to a full-time job (approx. 32-40 hours per week), so participants are strongly discouraged from having secondary employment outside of their RCEU project. At the very least, students should not have a job that interferes with the research project, professional development sessions or the final poster session. RCEU students receive a taxable fellowship of $3,200. Students applying for this opportunity are responsible for checking how this taxable fellowship may impact their financial aid or other financial standings.

Room & Board

Housing will be available in University housing at the usual rates for summer occupancy. Meals will be available for purchase on campus. Students may use the stipend for meals and housing, but no additional funds will be available. The taxable fellowship will be made in two payments. Half at the beginning of the program, and half at the midterm.

Enrollment Requirements

To participate in the program, students must be enrolled as a UAH undergraduate student for either the summer or fall semester of 2018. While previous RCEU student participants can apply, preference will be given to new student applicants. Women and minority students will be encouraged to apply. Proposing faculty and researchers are requested to encourage female and minority student applicants.

Activities

A non-exclusive list of possible activities includes laboratory experiments, musical compositions, field studies, clinical projects, engineering experiments and projects, theoretical work, human behavior studies, writing projects, and visual art projects.

Students are required to attend professional development sessions in the summer as part of the RCEU program. Students should avoid taking classes during the RCEU, but may take one course during one of the five-week sessions OR one course during the ten-week session with the permission of the sponsor. At the end of the program, students are expected to present their work in one or more public forums and strongly encouraged to submit a manuscript for consideration to Perpetua, the UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research. The mentor is expected to complete a survey and write a review of the student’s performance and the educational benefit received by the student. This survey and review assists in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Acknowledgements

The program is funded through the office of the President, the office of the Provost, and the office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at UAH, as well as through the College of Science, the College of Business, the College of Nursing, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, the Alabama Space Grant Consortium and other sources as they become available. The Faculty Senate Finance and Resources Committee reviews RCEU proposals and makes individual awards. We anticipate that approximately 35 proposals will be accepted, limited by the availability of funds. The committee strives to provide an equitable distribution of awards between colleges and departments.

Contact

Any questions about the RCEU Program, broadly, should be directed to Professor Jeffrey Weimer at weimerj@uah.edu   


Student Application Process

Faculty and researchers have submitted project descriptions, which may be found at the 2019 Project Descriptions by Faculty/College.

Students should review the projects at the Google site, and are invited to apply to one or more of the faculty or researcher proposed research projects through Charger Path. Student can log in using their single sign on credentials like that used for my.uah.edu or Canvas.  Please contact the faculty or researcher responsible for proposing the project description for additional information.

To find the proposals, students can use filters on the jobs page. All of the RCEU proposals are listed under The University of Alabama in Huntsville as the Employer. The job type is "Experiential Learning." Students are also able to search the name of the proposal to find them, and proposals can also be found by searching "RCEU" as a key word.

A Charger Path account is created for all students during their first semester of enrollment. Applying students that have never accessed Charger Path previously will have to answer a few profile/account security questions before accessing any sections of the system. A student cannot apply to projects without an account on Charger Path. Applying students will need to upload an updated resume, unofficial transcript and a cover letter to apply for projects.

It is anticipated that applicants will be notified of the status of their application(s) by relevant proposing faculty by January of the program year.

Proposing faculty will evaluate student applications and choose one student applicant for their project. Proposing faculty, then, will send forward their proposal, appended with the student applicant’s own application materials, to the UAH Faculty Senate Finance and Resources Committee. The Finance and Resources Committee will evaluate and rank all submitted proposals. Available funding will be awarded based on these rankings.

The Finance and Resources Committee will issue offers of funding by February of program year.

Final RCEU proposals, comprising the faculty proposal with the appended application of the selected student, will be evaluated by the Faculty Senate’s Finance and Resources Committee based, in part, on the following selection criteria (student applicants should note, in particular, item 4).

Criterion:

  1. Degree of benefit to the student: tasks the student will perform; the student’s overall educational experience
  2. Quality of mentor supervision: the extent of collaboration between student and mentor; the extent of educational interaction between student and mentor; method and frequency of feedback from mentor to student
  3. Quality of the student’s contribution: the manner by which the student will contribute to the project, the amount of time for the student to learn instrumentation and technique versus actual experimentation or creative work
  4. Student’s qualifications (including GPA) and personal statement of interest/benefit: student’s explanation of interest in project and perceived benefits of working on project