Our approach to learning puts students in the driver seat of their own education. Students will be able to apply the process of research and discovery they learn in the Source Project throughout their undergraduate career and into their professional, personal, and civic lives. Through the Source Project, we aspire to the ideals of a strong liberal education at a top tier, public research university, to foster intellectually curious, self-motivated, and socially responsible human beings. We do this by following a research skills development framework and grounding our two-course research curriculum in the following practices:
Be Inspired and Rewarded for Curiosity
The Source Project provides students the unique opportunity to learn about new topics by delving into the research process alongside experienced faculty researchers. Students will be encouraged to develop and follow true interests. Students will hone their abilities to ask questions, weigh and evaluate sources of information, and derive independent conclusions about the human experience. In the fall semester course, students are led through the process; in the spring semester, students lead and the instructor guides. Source Project students transition from consumers of information to producers of knowledge in a space that expects uncertainty, embraces ambiguity and supports iteration of the research process to make true discoveries.
Develop Crucial Academic Skills
The Source Project will enable students to gain academic skills that will be the foundation of their undergraduate education and their life in general. By moving through the research process, students will be guided towards higher-order cognitive skills, from remembering and understanding facts and concepts to analyzing and evaluating ideas so that students will know how to form a well-supported position or argument. They will read critically, improving their writing through revision, and practice speaking about their ideas both formally and informally. They will engage in civil discourse by asking questions of their peers, and by giving and receiving feedback.
Gain Impactful Knowledge
The course topics investigated through the Source Project are broad, interdisciplinary concepts in the social sciences and humanities that are central to the human experience. Exploring questions like: what does it mean to be human? How do we sustain ourselves and our environments? What are human rights and where do they come from? will not simply provide you with answers, they will provide you with the means to think critically, interrogate concepts, and develop a sense of social responsibility that is critical to moving yourself and others forward.
Participate in Active, Experiential Classrooms
We aim to match the rigor and engagement of a small liberal arts college experience with the resources of a large research university. Source Project students will work closely together, alongside their instructor-guides, in small seminar style courses of no more than 25 students. Classes are held in our most innovative, high-technology learning spaces to foster the spirit of peer-mentorship, collaboration and collectivity. Class guests and field trips provide an expansive set of experiences and interactions. Professors work one-on-one with students, addressing their individual abilities. This learning style is meant to give students an experience that they might typically not have until they advance in their studies.
Hone Communication Skills and Build Professional Networks
Taking Source Project courses is not simply for one’s own education, it is to draw new meanings about the world and share it with others. The products of our students’ work are outward facing, to be shared with audiences additional to class members. Our students present at Binghamton’s annual spring conference, Research Days, and have the opportunity to publish in Binghamton University’s Undergraduate Journal and other venues. Students will make connections to professionals inside and outside of the academy in the fields that they are researching to build their own professional networks. And by participating in the Source Project, students will share their own educational experience with Project leaders in order to continually improve future research streams and to disseminate our program results to other universities across the nation.