On 1st February 2023 ACUR presented an Exchange Colloquium Creating Career-Ready Graduates: The Role of Undergraduate Research

The 2nd Exchange Colloquium was an opportunity for members and friends to come together to explore how undergraduate research dovetailed with other higher education activities and initiatives. Forty-five participants gathered in the spacious hall of the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia.  A key rationale for the colloquium was the idea that new approaches to undergraduate education could come about through cross fertilisation of ideas and networks. Initiatives such as industry-based projects, work-integrated learning, and students as partners represent a range of intersecting practices with their own advocates and communities. So the Colloquium considered how these dovetailed with undergraduate research.

Key questions addressed were:

  • How do research experiences prepare undergraduates for their future careers?

  • How does undergraduate research help strengthen university partnerships with industry?

  • How can undergraduate research experiences enhance work-integrated learning?

  • What is the role of undergraduate research in creating students as partners?

Brief Synopsis

The Colloquium first considered the skills and capabilities that students needed for Employability, and the extra things that undergraduates get by engaging in research. Different kinds of university-industry arrangements and the opportunities they create for students learning were then considered. This stressed the importance of the kinds of relationships that students have and the partnerships that are established. A panel session with past ACUR conference presenters explored their varied undergraduate research experiences, their challenges and what they learnt.

In the afternoon, the links between work – integrated learning (WIL) and undergraduate research were explored. WIL is an umbrella curriculum concept that describes an educational partnership with industry and community. In the future there is a need to rethink information and to rethink what matters in society. WIL and undergraduate research in this sense, share the same context, purpose and context. An example  of work-integrated learning was then explored. The Kungullanji research programme at Griffith University, a summer research experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The program enhanced Indigenous students’ participation and outcomes.  The final session looked at ‘students as partners’. Participants considered metaphors to express the idea. Students as partners asks us to be aware of relationships between students and staff. Working in partnership with students in this way, which is how much undergraduate research proceeds, achieves changed relationships. Higher education should be preparing work-ready graduates with the relational skillsets and mindsets to connect and collaborate.

You can:
Download the program
Watch the presentations on video [member-only resource].  

If you are not yet a member, first check whether your institution is a member. Our institutional members can be found on our home page.  If it is, email admin@acur.org.au, for access. 
If you are not part of a member institution, join as an individual here.
View the speakers and panellists
View Colloquium photos


The Colloquium was sponsored by: