University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts Office of Undergraduate Programs

College of Liberal Arts Office of Undergraduate Programs

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Contact Information

Barbara Schwab
Director of Administration, Scholarships, and Awards

115 Johnston Hall
101 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Program Overview

The CLA Dean's Freshman Research and Creative Scholars Program is a unique recruitment program among peer institutions in its focus on early mentored experiences for first-year students.

The program offers a stipend for highly talented new freshman to work directly with a faculty member in the college on a research or creative project. Matches are made between faculty members and freshman participants based on the available faculty projects, the requirements of the research opportunity, and the interests and abilities of the students.

We recognize that research and creative opportunities will vary widely in nature, reflecting the richness of disciplines and faculty interests in CLA, and we welcome that variety.

Program goals

  • To showcase CLA's wide range of scholarship and highlight exceptional faculty members
  • To expand opportunities for talented first-year students to engage with faculty members
  • To recruit highly talented and diverse students to the liberal arts

The goal is not necessarily for freshmen to pursue individual research under the guidance of faculty but rather for faculty to share the sense of discovery, scholarly passion, and intellectual challenges they experience through research and creative work.

We want students to experience the excitement of creative scholarly inquiry; we want to inspire and engage them by providing an opportunity to join in the work that inspires and engages our faculty.

How the program works

  1. The Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will match up to 150 outstanding admitted students in the incoming freshman class with CLA faculty. This program is a collegiate program awarded to students through the admissions process as part of their scholarship package and is based on their College of Liberal Arts scholarship application, test scores, and GPA. This is not a program that students are able to apply for participation on their own.
  2. Students participate in the research or creative opportunity during the spring semester of their freshman year.
  3. Students receive a stipend of $2,000 to be paid during that semester. Faculty members will receive up to $250 for related expenses.
  4. Students should expect to devote 6-10 hours each week in the research or creative experience.
  5. Students are required to submit a poster presentation, short report (3 pages), or another agreed-upon project to the faculty member (with a copy to the Office of Undergraduate Education) at the end of the semester.
  6. The standard course that students register for is CLA 1051 for 0 credits. However, students may register for 1-2 credits by engaging in more extensive research activities and completing a more substantial final project. Faculty members cannot require that students engage in additional work or register for credit. If a faculty member agrees to a student registering for credit (which will appear on the student's transcript), the faculty member is responsible for relevant and timely grading, etc. of the student work as for any other student registration.

Learning outcomes for students

  • Exposure to methods of identifying, defining, and solving problems
  • Experience in gathering and critically evaluating information
  • Introduction to a new body of knowledge and a mode of intellectual and creative inquiry
  • Insight into the role of innovation and discovery in a particular discipline
  • Experience communicating results through poster or paper presentation

Dean's Freshman Research and Creative Scholars Description (pdf)

2016-2017 Program Guidelines (pdf)

Dean's Freshman Research Scholarship Student/Faculty Contract (doc)