Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

UNCW Partners with Community Colleges on CCURE Research Initiative

Friday, May 07, 2021

A partnership between UNCW and Cape Fear, Craven and Lenoir Community Colleges provided unique research opportunities this spring for undergraduate students planning to transfer to a 4-year institution. Twenty-two students participated in the Community College Undergraduate Research Experience (CCURE) pilot.

Administrators from the participating colleges were all part of the inaugural council for the UNCW/3C Collaborative, a university-community college partnership created in 2019 to develop strong future leaders for North Carolina’s community colleges.

During the program, students enrolled in a section of Honors 191, taught by Community College instructors partnered with first-year research experience (FYRE) instructors from UNCW. The students are pursuing an array of career fields including biology, business, English, nursing and psychology, and each of the colleges took a different approach to the research projects.

A cohort of four students at Lenoir Community College worked with LCC’s Natural Sciences program chair Dr. Jarrett Whelan on lab-based research that involved testing soil samples. The goal of the research was to isolate and identify antibiotic producing soil microbes with the hopes of discovering novel therapeutics. 

At Craven Community College, 13 students conducted research on ethical leadership in a wide range of industries including biology and marine biology in a course taught by Craven CC history instructor Kathyrn Amerson. At Cape Fear Community College, five students engaged in individualized research projects based on their personal interests under the direction of CFCC English instructor John Metzger.

“This partnership has opened doors for our students to experience an in-depth research project with a qualified LCC instructor, while also receiving college credit with a four-year institution,” said Dr. Timothy Maddox, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Lenoir Community College. “Being dually enrolled as both an LCC and UNCW student has provided this group of students with an opportunity of a lifetime.”

James DeVita, Denise Henning and Kristi Wiley coordinated the pilot with support from UNCW’s Office of Applied Learning, UNCW/3C, Honors College, CSURF, Admissions, and the Registrar’s Office. DeVita is interim director of Applied Learning at UNCW, Henning is director of UNCW/3C and Kristi Wiley is a doctoral intern and English and Communications Instructor at Lenoir Community College.

The program culminated in a virtual student research showcase and celebration on May 5.

“CCURE would not have been possible without the willingness of our community college partners – and a strong network of offices and individuals across campus – to collaboratively join us as we worked to develop an idea,” DeVita said. “We hope the experience will open pathways for students as they pursue their future careers. At the research showcase, it was exciting to hear that CCURE has already opened doors to internships and other learning opportunities for some of the participants. We look forward to continuing this unique collaboration in the future.”

For more information about CCURE and to view student research posters visit the CCURE website.

Media Coverage