J Jacob Kirksey


What is TURTLE?

Tracking Undergraduate Research in Texas and Long-Term Effects

This project focuses on Texas public high school graduates who attended Texas public 4-year institutions of higher education and attained a job in-state following graduation. Leveraging the power of the University of Houston Education Research Center, TURTLE is a large-scale, longitudinal study divided into two phases.

Phase One:

Phase 1 focuses on identifying what pre-college characteristics predict participation in course-based undergraduate research in STEM and the extent to which participation in course-based undergraduate research is linked to academic, postgraduate, and workforce outcomes in STEM and STEM-related fields.

Phase Two:

Phase 2 will shift focus to generating products aimed at disseminating findings and supporting institutional improvement.

Intellectual Merit

TURTLE seeks to identify short- and long-term academic and workforce relationships tied with participation in course-based undergraduate research. Although significant positive impacts have been observed from course-based undergraduate research, this project is the first statewide, longitudinal investigation of the effects of CUR, connecting pre-college experiences of high school graduates to postsecondary to the labor market. Our large-scale, longitudinal approach will establish a quantitative foundation to inform educational policy and discourse across Texas and the Nation.

Broader Impacts

TURTLE employs a combination of traditional scholarly dissemination strategies (e.g. policy briefs, conference presentations, and peer-reviewed journal articles) with an innovative cadre of programmatic efforts designed to support Texas public universities in making immediate improvements in how they are supporting their STEM and STEM-related undergraduate majors. Keep an on this website for updates including a state-wide heatmap summarizing the distribution of course-based undergraduate research opportunities around Texas and opportunities to collaborate on institution-specific resources such as university snapshots.