Research-Intensive Course Designation

Next Designation Deadline:
Friday, September 10th

The University of Central Florida defines a Research-Intensive (RI) course as one that provides curriculum-based active engagement in a line of inquiry that is guided by a content expert, adheres to aspects of the academic research or scholarship process, and includes a research deliverable.

Through RI-designated courses, faculty mentors have the opportunity to enrich the student experience through sharing insights from their own knowledge and experience as their students actively engage in the research process. Students are able to explore their interests and begin to develop their niche as they prepare to move onto the next stage of their education and careers.

Through RI courses, students learn critical thinking skills, formal academic communication skills through both written and oral formats, and about the research process itself within their discipline. Moreover, RI courses position students to gain a competitive advantage over their peers through participating in research training, having a research deliverable to build their portfolio, and possibly even presenting in research symposiums and/or publishing in academic journals.

The HIP Courses Designations (Research Intensive, Service Learning, and Integrative Experience) can all be obtained at either the instructor or course level. Below is a brief explanation of the differences.

Instructor-Level Designation

This type of designation follows the instructor who has submitted their course section for designation. If there are multiple faculty teaching this course, only the faculty member’s course with an instructor level designation will have the Research Intensive course attribute.

Course-Level Designation

Departments may submit courses to be designated at the course level. This means that all instructors for the course, whether there is one or multiple instructors, will teach the course in accordance with the Research Intensive designation requirements.

Course-level designation means that all sections have common learning outcomes, final outcomes, and similar assessment practices that meet all required components of the RI Rubric. Additionally, course-level designations require that all sections are taught and graded by a content expert in the field with a terminal degree and/or permanent faculty appointment.  

To earn a course-level designation, courses must be either submitted by the chair or include this Course-Level Research Intensive Designation MOU. If there are multiple instructors, but everyone uses the same syllabus, then only that syllabus needs to be submitted. If the content varies, sample syllabi must be submitted with the application.

Example: If a research methods course contains the same learning outcomes and end-of-term deliverable (e.g. research paper or 15 minute presentation), but each instructor teaches those outcomes using content from their personal research area, sample syllabi are needed.

  • To document research experiences taking place in the undergraduate classroom
  • To distinguish between engaging in ‘original’ research and learning about the research process
  • To support UCF strategic goals for undergraduate research and HIP learning experiences
  • To ensure that research experiences in the classroom are held to a meaningful standard of practice

The basic criteria for designating an existing course as a Research-Intensive (RI) course at UCF is that through the course students will satisfy all or most of the following:

  • Demonstrate a command of relevant content knowledge, core principles, and practices.
  • Obtain, critically evaluate, and synthesize scholarly literature and relevant data.
  • Formulate an original research question(s) that integrates fundamental principles and knowledge in a manner appropriate to the discipline.
  • Develop and implement an appropriate methodology or systemic approach to address the research question(s) or problem.
  • Gain communication skills through the dissemination of the research (process and product) in appropriate formats and venues.

See full details on rubric.

Schedule a one-on-one appointment with OUR to discuss your course and the application process here.

Division of Teaching and Learning

Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL)

FCTL provides programming and instructional resources in support of faculty excellence in teaching and learning.

UCF Libraries Resources

UCF Libraries support faculty and students with physical and online resources to learn about and engage in undergraduate research.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The IRB is a committee established to protect the rights and welfare of human participants involved in research.

  • Cover memo (no more than 2 pages, double-spaced)
    1. Short overview of the course and RI components (narrative
    2. Supplemental information to include in overview:
      • Number of students in any one course section (and total enrollment) at maximum capacity
      • What deliverable (rubric item 3.2) will be required as part of this course?  
      • Will students work in groups, individually, or both on the final deliverable?
      • Are there opportunities for peer-to-peer review and feedback during the semester? What will the faculty feedback look like in the course?
      • Will Graduate Assistants be grading the research components of this course? If so, what training have they received to facilitate this component?
  • Annotated Syllabus (please highlight text and add the rubric item)
    1. Highlights aspects of course directly related to evaluation rubric
    2. Rubric criteria directly referenced in syllabus via numeration and highlight (e.g., add text “(Rubric item 2.3)” into your syllabus where you wish to point it out). Please avoid using Word’s ‘Comments’ feature, where possible.
  • Optional: Supporting documents, such as assignment guidelines or rubrics, as appropriate (keep these simple, it won’t be a requirement for committee members to review these)

Optional: We recommend working with your subject librarian while preparing for designation.

Additional Steps for Course Level Designations:

All course-level designations must have chair approval before submission. There are 2 ways to show this:

  1. Submit a copy of this completed Course-Level Research Intensive Designation MOU, signed by the department chair as a supplemental document.
  2. OR have the department chair submit the course for review

For courses with multiple instructors:

  • If everyone uses the same syllabus, then only that syllabus needs to be submitted.
  • If the content varies, sample syllabi must be submitted with the application
    • More information on this can be found above in “Designation Levels: Course v. Section Level”

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