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Monday, February 04, 2013 - New academic center devoted to undergraduate research opportunities
By Katie Land, news editor

The new Center for Undergraduate Research and Leadership is based in OU's Honors College.
Part of a university’s role is to provide students with an opportunity to conduct research on a broad scale. To support student research, Oakland University has established the Center for Undergraduate Research and Leadership (CURL).

The center launched this January and is aimed at supporting and developing undergraduate research, along with promoting leadership, excellence, creativity, innovation and social and public enterprise among the Oakland undergraduate community.

Based in The Honors College, CURL advances the idea that strong undergraduate research helps to power universities and the public and private sectors. The Center considers research to involve all types of empirical, theoretical and applied investigation, including those involving creative practice or community endeavors.

"Oakland has some of the strongest undergraduate researchers imaginable,” said Dr. Graeme Harper, director of The Honors College. “Our students are already doing world-class work, they are already presenting at international peer-reviewed conferences, and they are already publishing."

Plans for CURL were announced last November, following a two year investigation of current undergraduate research initiatives across the U.S. and worldwide. The center will make use of international research development strategies and build the valuable skills and experiences that will set students apart after graduation.

Dr. Harper, director of The Honors College
The Honors College is already working on new plans and initiatives. After the launch of the center, the college hosted a "Challenges Forum" that encouraged students to begin to develop ideas, which they might present at a Global Citizens event this spring, organized and led by Oakland students.

Students participated in three sessions that were devoted to “humanity, culture and environment,” “business, politics and civil society,” and “creative arts, the world, cultural exchange.”

“One or two people for each session of the Challenges Forum kicked things off with a few thoughts, and then the students, sometimes working with faculty, took the discussion forward. It was entirely interactive and entirely wondrous,” Dr. Harper continued.

Next up is the forum, “What is the Purpose of Education,” set for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Oakland Center Gold Rooms. The keynote speaker will is Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, assistant director of Policy and Research at the Education Trust (Midwest).

The event will feature several sessions, including “Ranking Universities and Colleges: Ideals, Issues, Opportunities,” “Ethics, Labor and Education: Present and Future,” and “Technology, Education Habitats/Places of Education: Present and Future.” Oakland faculty will provide insights and current information in lectures and break out sessions.

For more information about programs and events in The Honors College, view the website at To learn more about CURL, view the website