2020 WisCUR Annual Meeting Minutes

WisCUR 2020 Annual Meeting


July 28, 2020 8:30-11:30 AM via Zoom


  • Cheri Barta (UW Madison)
  • Earl Blodgett (UWRF)
  • David Specht Boardman (UW System)
  • Ana Caballero Mengibar (UWW)
  • Catherine Chan (Exec Comm, Planning Comm, UWEC)
  • Scott Cooper (UWL, Exec Comm)
  • Julie Dresen (Concordia, Exec Comm)
  • Kyla Esguerra (UWM)
  • Carl Fox (UWW)
  • Will Hoyer (UWPlatte)
  • Stephen Kercher (UWO)
  • John Kirk (Carthage)
  • Tamara Long (UWM)
  • Julie O’Leary (Pres, UWS)
  • Jalal Nawash (UWW, Exec Comm)
  • Faye Peng (UWPlatte-Richland))
  • John Pruit (UWW-Rock County)
  • Lissa Schneider-Rebozo (UWRF, Exec Comm, Planning Comm, note taker for the meeting)
  • Nigel Rothfels (UWM, Exec Comm)
  • Jessica Schuld (UWM)
  • Wufeng Tian (UWEC Barron County)
  • Roger Wareham (UWGB)
  1. Campus Updates:

John Kirk: Carthage (formerly Stout): funding levels staying flat, summer program up and running, operating remotely—data analysis in genetics etc. One program externally funded by NASA is running on campus. Concern: what will participation look like during Fall due to COVID19?

Julie Dresen: Concordia: no students on campus, “very very” limited participation from student researchers, principal activity–data analysis; UR office used the time to develop undergraduate research certification and online course, online poster session. Half student researchers did present. Students returning to campus 8.1.2020. Concern: how to reengage students in the year ahead?

Catherine Chan: UW Eau Claire: UWEC main campus summer research program not affected, most people able to pivot from in-person to remote, a few withdrawals, insignificant in terms of number. Research continuity guidance document. The challenge ahead: most campus research funding comes from differential tuition; any reduction in enrollment will impact funding, especially travel funding –however due to travel restrictions most travel cannot occur anyway. CC also summarizes for Barron County branch campus: work in progress integrating Barron Co students into UR. Pockets of excellence: Wufeng won a mentoring award, and is playing a key role on the 2-year campus.

Roger Wareham: UW Green Bay: UWGB undergraduate research programming in flux last four years. Moving toward more constant support, ongoing conversations still on who “owns” UR on campus. . . different colleges support in different ways.

Scott Cooper: UW La Crosse: Symposium on-line, decreased attendance but still significant numbers. UR travel money swept so the office is down about 40K for grants in 2020. The loss may be balanced by the decision not to attend NCUR for next two years (2021 and 2022).  Program matching students with faculty mentors is a challenge – working to train faculty on how to work remotely on their own research and on how to mentor student research.

Cheri Barta (UW Madison): Cheri is housed in the Chemistry department and she can give us landscape of that department only. Chemistry student poster session attended by half the researchers. In summer most students able to pivot to remote research; however, participation was down by half.  Concern: how to build up for Fall. Students losing engagement with online research. Challenge in showing the value of UR to students.

Kyla Esguerra: (UW Milwaukee): Summer SURF program did run and students did work remotely. Summer bridge program for incoming freshman did not take place in 2020, but they plan to run it in Fall instead. It will look a lot different, and she is working out how to engage students virtually with this different experience. Running a small but successful professional development series this summer. Funding impacts will be partially offset by the decision not to bring students to NCUR 2021; they may make the same number of awards.

Stephen Kercher: (UW Oshkosh): Loss of a staff editor for the Oshkosh Scholar (journal). Will manage the loss by increasing the duties of another editor. Very few applications for summer grants. “Stay cool, be positive, be flexible” – no budget yet for Fall but that is normal for their annual process.

Will Hoyer: (UW Platteville): Spring Symposium successfully pivoted to online with over 90 student participants. Summer Scholars program ongoing, with only one student who deferred to summer 2021. On-line professional development workshops went well. UR budget also tied to differential tuition. Able to carry over Spring UR student travel monies to Fall. Concern: the uncertainty ahead due to ongoing impact of the COVID 19 virus: faculty may remain focused on teaching and drop mentorship in their priority list.

Earl Blodgett: (UW River Falls): 1/3 of summer proposals could not be supported due to inability to run remote research, no student travel for Fall 2020 and differential tuition travel fund swept. Travel in Spring 21 up in the air, but student attendance at virtual conferences will be supported. 18 students participated in Spring UR Symposium.

Julie O’Leary: (UW Superior): Summer program running with good participation – most students could work remotely. The summer researchers always present at a symposium in the Fall, and there will be a Fall symposium in some format. Concerns: summer program funding is secure, but other program funding may be at risk, engagement problems with research students and research mentors.

Jalal Nawash: (UW Whitewater). UW System Symposium cancelled in Spring 2020. The campus virtual symposium was pretty successful – had 36 students present at short notice. 10 students in summer program. Only one student declined the grant (for a reason other than COVID 19). One student deferred research due to travel restrictions.

Discussion: A) It was mentioned that we should request some of the monies dedicated to supporting Teaching and Learning to go toward HIPS/UR: UR is considered a teaching activity on most campuses, and we should request some CARES funding to support remote UR activities and mentorship. B)  Discussion on various aspects of how to quantify the value of UR in remote learning during COVID 19 and beyond. C) Carl Fox and UWW are working on a report for UW System to quantify the economic impact of research on the campuses. It included a faculty survey, now completed (some had seen it, many had not). A UR survey to gather similar data, including impact of COVID 19 is still ahead. Carl: We need to “tell the story” of the importance of research on our campuses. Several attendees requested discussion/information about the survey and stressed importance of consistency in data to be gathered from across the campuses, consistency in reporting. D) David Boardman is working with DOA to allocate money directly back to our campuses. Money to be used to offset COVID-related costs that have been or will be incurred: $19 million total to be distributed to campuses. Another $110 million requested for testing and PPE. Timeline to be aware of: System will submit the biannual budget requests to the state in August to the Board of Regents. On the Federal side: HEALS Act: Senate Republicans released end of day yesterday: details still emerging. Includes $29 billion for higher ed (compared to CARES Act monies for public institutions.) Another $5 billion to the governors that can be allocated to higher ed or K12 etc.  By comparison CARES Act gave the governors $3 billion. 85% will be distributed directly to Pell eligible students. The HEALS Act would allocate money by FTE as opposed to head count, which is good for UW System. All are encouraged to talk with Chancellors and Provosts about funding to be included in legislation.

Action item: Julie O’Leary will discuss with Carl Fox the contents of the survey and bring that information to the Exec Committee.


  1. Research in the Rotunda: David Boardman. requested immediate feedback on date, format, how to make changes to benefit students. Permit has been approved for 4.14.2021. Dates in March are already booked so that is not an option. UW Symposium is 4.23.2021 so not a direct conflict. If no objections or concerns he suggested we put the 14th on our calendars. RiR is planned as face to face but alternate online platform will be created as a contingency and might be used. He requested feedback on best practices, platforms. Interest in including multimedia presentations. Request for feedback and support: Lissa, Nigel, Stephen, Scott volunteered. Importance of training students and mentors to collect materials early. David said he would follow up with some of the volunteers to further discuss multimedia formats at RIR.


  1. Presentations on best practices/platforms for conducting student research symposium/presentations via remote channels: Will Hoyer on CANVAS, Nigel Rothfels on WordPress; Cheri Barta on Kaltura:

Will Hoyer on CANVAS: he reported that he is not faculty and had to learn to use CANVAS quickly. They had 90-100 posters; about half of what they would usually see.  Titles, authors, faculty mentors, abstracts and posters included for each presentation. Some also included a short video talk by the student researcher. Attendees/visitors to the event could post questions and comments and have conversation via a Google document. The symposium link remained active for a full week: people had time to engage with more presentations. UWEC and UWL indicated they used a similar format. UWL students submitted posters as “assignments’ in CANVAS, then the office added them to each students’ page. “To use the off-campus site you have to migrate to a UW System Campus Canvas link.” UWEC: “The UW System CANVAS license is through their Continuation of Education. Log in is easy.” Additional comments on alternate format and structures.

Nigel Rothfels on WordPress: intends to use this platform again at their campus symposium in Spring 21 regardless of whether they are face to face or not: they will have WordPress interface going forward. It handles large amounts of data well and can be kept as an archive. You can type in a department for example, and it will deliver all the artifacts that were presented/developed through that department. Students provided abstracts early on. In some cases students did not have time to create an artifact. They recruited judges and offered presentation awards as per prior years and the ribbons for award-winning presentations were set up to appear on the site along with the artifacts. They had one challenge with size limits on files/artifacts which created issues for video especially so they created a YouTube channel to show the videos and large files. Tamara also weighed in: they used embed codes to upload YouTube videos to the WordPress site. Tamara spoke to the challenges of helping students with the tech and with uploading all this to WordPress. Comments that this is a really good learning process for students. One person noted that when poster is uploaded in WordPress, if you click to expand the poster upload, the resolution not high rez. UWM talked about work arounds for getting better resolutions. Discussion about event being open vs closed to UWM community: avoiding bots etc. Discussion about ungenerous comments being the distant exception and part of the experience when it happens. Creating a notification system so students get notified when they get a comment on their artifact. Fully asynchronous event for UWM. Discussion of other campuses whose students had a dedicated hour when they were available for comments and questions in an otherwise asynchronous week-long event. UWM noted that WordPress is UWM’s website platform and it did take significant resources to get the site up and running – this may not be an option for all campuses.

Cheri Barta on Kaltura: Undergraduate Symposium only for Chemistry Department. Asynchronous presentations, easy interface, public access, ability to post and respond to comments. It is more rudimentary than what UWM and UWP were doing with WordPress and Canvas, but an easy click and play format. They created a Kaltura channel, similar to a YouTube channel. Privacy settings closed until all students loaded their work and then they opened it up. Chemistry Undergraduate Poster Symposium: each student gave a 3 minute video presentation, 16 posters, 6 judges. Poster session ran 2 days. Each poster viewed multiple times: 24 views was the least any poster received. Posters only. UWM commented that they may switch from YouTube for their videos and consider creating a Kaltura channel.

Action item: Julie O’Leary said she would follow up with all annual meeting participants and share in writing their specific processes, pros and cons so that we can publish more information about best practices, platforms for online student research symposiums.


  1. UW System Symposium 2021: Jalal Nawash . Option A: If limited face to face: will reserve more rooms with 5-6 posters in each room, keep 6-foot social distance. Students can have option to create a video and show that video to guests/attendees. Box lunches with multiple stations for food options to prevent cross contamination. UWM mentioned that they are not allowing any events over 50 people – can UWW make this work? UWW would limit numbers of people in any one room at a time. Option B: Fully online: Canvas or Google Drive is the option UWW prefers. Including other colleges and universities outside of UW System would preclude universal access to Canvas. UWO notes that we may not be able to find a universal platform that we are all using, but constituent parts that will be uploaded to whichever platforms would work well. Discussion of the importance of identifying a system that would work for everyone from the different campuses if this format is selected so that the event can be a success.


Action item: Julie asked for volunteers to work with Jalal to develop options for an on-line virtual UW System symposium and report back to the Exec Committee: Nigel, Julie D, Stephen, and Ana volunteered.


  1. WisCUR Engagement with non-UW-System Schools: Discussion about past efforts to connect with the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU). The conclusion of those involved was that one-on-one outreach may be more successful than working through the organization. Many individuals in WisCUR have reached out in the past and there is continued support for a systematic intentional outreach by WisCUR members to individual WAICU connections.

Discussion:  The comment was made that we may be the only one of the original CUR system consortiums who have created and maintained an ongoing, successful statewide consortium of undergraduate research programs.  Pennsylvania, Cal State, and other later consortium participants have not maintained a statewide undergraduate research organization. Our longtime interest in working with WI private campuses is also unique. The 2021 Symposium will provide a good opportunity to expand the network.

Action Item: Individuals offered to reach out to private schools in their vicinity/with whom they have existing relationships to gauge interest in participating in WisCUR. Please follow-up: Nigel – Alverno and Marquette; Stephen – Lawrence and Beloit; Julie D – Carroll University, WAICU; Jalal – Milwaukee School of Engineering; Julie O – Northland; Scott -Viterbo; Catherine – Chippewa Valley Technical College


  1. Potential workshop topics for WISCUR: Lissa Schneider-Rebozo and Scott Cooper. WisCUR has a tradition of annual workshops. With this tradition in mind, is there interest in a workshop this year, one specifically focused on how to support UR during COVID 19 given concerns about bandwidth and energy in challenging rapid transition to remote or hybrid learning environments. One possible topic: keeping programs going in an online environment: brain storming what works in different disciplines, how to we help mentors involve students in their scholarship in an online environment. Lissa and Scott willing to facilitate. There was also a discussion of workshop on equity, diversity, and inclusion and inclusive mentoring; it was suggested that the two ideas could be woven together for a tightly focused, limited workshop discussion. It was suggested that we ask CUR for a workshop leader/facilitator – there is an EDI task force within CUR– others suggested we use internal talent.  Questions: 1) How do we keep students and mentors engaged? 2) How do we maintain diversity in UR? —never more important than during COVID 19. The issue of audience is important: are we directing the workshop toward UR program directors so they can support faculty; faculty participants are welcome. Timing (SOON) is also important so as not to miss the window of opportunity.  Support for facilitating mentoring relationships and facilitating diversity in remote learning environments.  Structure: Perhaps five or six 15-minute sessions, each dedicated to different disciplinary issues (STEM, AG, Humanities, Education, Arts, Social Sciences, etc). Date and time set for August 18, 830-1030 CST.


Action item: Scott and Lissa will take the lead on developing a workshop, Julie D, Cheri, and Ana volunteered to help.