A blue-gloved hand works on a lab bench inserting materials in a beaker.

Undergraduate Research Boosted With Move to Academic Affairs

A room of people viewed from above as they examine research poster presentations.
The UA Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference is one of the many signature programs overseen by the Office for Undergraduate Research.

To enhance the campus culture for undergraduate students involved in research and scholarly endeavors, the Office for Undergraduate Research is moving under the umbrella of the Capstone Center for Student Success.

Part of the Office for Academic Affairs, the student-focused CCSS, led by Dr. Amy Salazar, is uniquely equipped to provide the undergraduate support and services necessary to increase the number of undergraduates engaged in research and creative activities.

The organizational move out of the Office for Research and Economic Development became effective Aug. 15 and is part of ORED’s five-year strategic plan and Academic Affairs and CCSS’s goals to support significant expansion of undergraduate research, scholarship and creative opportunities.

“The University of Alabama seeks to provide a research opportunity for every interested student. We hope to make the undergraduate research experience at UA distinctive and unlike any other at peer comprehensive research-intensive institutions,” said Dr. Russell J. Mumper, vice president for research and economic development. “We believe that research opportunities provide students with highly valued and differentiated experiences and skills which will directly contribute to their success and, in turn, create career opportunities. ORED is thrilled to partner with the Capstone Center for Student Success to move closer to our ambitious goal.”

This move comes at a time of profound growth and strategic positioning of ORED’s resources. Under the new structure, ORED will continue to provide support of the annual spring Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Conference and its corresponding awards ceremony and the annual fall Faculty Research Showcase, as well as additional resources to enrich the program and provide opportunities to students.

“Undergraduate research is an incredible opportunity for students to engage with faculty, research staff, and graduate students outside the classroom,” said Dr. James Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “And Dr. Salazar and our CCSS staff are the ideal mentors to connect students with our faculty.”

Salazar, executive director of the capstone center for student success, said, “The Capstone Center for Student Success is the on-campus hub for academic engagement and enhancement. Our goal is to meet students where they are and help them maximize their experience at UA. As such, we are thrilled to add Undergraduate Research to our portfolio of opportunities and expand the number of those engaging in this transformative experience.

“We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the Office for Research and Economic Development and the Office for Academic Affairs as we work collaboratively to facilitate innovation in research, scholarship, and creative activities for our campus community,” she said.

Campus leadership has stressed the mutual value of undergraduate research to students and faculty and seeks to foster a unique environment on UA’s campus. In collaboration with the Division of Advancement’s Rising Tide capital campaign, ORED, OAA and CCSS seek to provide research opportunities for interested students through the Vanguard Initiative for Undergraduate Research at UA.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu