Projects ranging from eating patterns in social environments, to phosphates in the Lake Macatawa watershed, to the 16th-century missionary Francis Xavier, to teaching dance to learners with autism will be highlighted during the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope College on Friday, April 12, from 2:30 p.m. to 5: 30 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The event will feature more than 220 projects conducted by hundreds of Hope students and their faculty mentors. The presentations will feature posters illustrating the projects, with many of the students on-hand to discuss their work.

The students and their projects will represent all of the college’s academic divisions: the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope, a teaching model used at the college for several decades.  Students throughout the college conduct original research and creative projects in collaboration with faculty mentors during both the school year and summer, including more than 160 students--from Hope and other institutions--in the natural and applied sciences division full-time for eight to 10 weeks each summer.

Learning through research has been a teaching philosophy at the college for more than half a century.  The late Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl, who taught chemistry at the college from 1923 to 1964, is widely recognized for developing research-based learning at Hope in its modern sense.  More than 100 years ago, biologist Dr. Samuel O. Mast had designed research laboratory space for the college’s Van Raalte Hall, which opened in 1903. 

Hope has received recognition in a variety of ways through the years for its success in teaching through collaborative faculty-student research, and for the high quality of the research itself.

For the past 11 years, since the category debuted, the “America’s Best Colleges” guide published by “U.S. News and World Report” has included Hope on its listing of institutions that are exceptional for their emphasis on undergraduate research and creative projects. Hope ranked fourth in the nation when the category debuted in 2003; the institutions are no longer ranked, but only 33 are on the list in the 2013 edition. The guide also includes Hope among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Among other recognitions historically, in 1998 Hope was one of only 10 liberal arts institutions in the nation to be recognized for innovation and excellence in science instruction by the NSF with an “Award for the Integration of Research and Education” (AIRE), and in 1994 Project Kaleidoscope named the program in the natural applied sciences a “Whole Program That Works”--a model for other institutions to emulate.   Based on the college’s proven history of excellence, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) chose Hope to present the national webinar “Transformational Learning through Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance” in April 2011.

The Undergraduate Research Celebration is being held in conjunction with a Junior Day scheduled by the college’s admissions office.  Approximately 225 prospective students and their parents are anticipated for the Junior Day.

The fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., at Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets.