Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Office of Undergraduate Research Now Part of University Libraries; Innovative Partnership Enhances Resources for Undergraduates’ Research Needs

September 13th, 2018

Purdue University Office of Undergraduate ResearchThe Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at Purdue University is now part of the Purdue Libraries, creating a partnership between two vital resource areas for undergraduate students, faculty, and staff at Purdue.

Now located in the Hicks Undergraduate Library, the OUR is easily accessible and continues to serve as a central resource to promote and expand experiential learning for undergraduate students through research experiences, creative endeavors, and scholarship with skilled mentors.

Amy Childress, Ph.D., Director of Purdue University's Office of Undergraduate Research
Amy Childress,Director of Purdue University’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR)

“The partnership between OUR and Purdue Libraries creates an ideal foundation for undergraduate research across our University,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity Jay Akridge. “This is the next step in the development and expansion of undergraduate research experiences at Purdue, and it will build on the successful launch of OUR by integrating the resources of Purdue Libraries into OUR programming and support.”

According to OUR Director Amy Childress, OUR connects students with opportunities to learn beyond traditional classroom activities and gain skills applicable to both research and non-research careers. Studies show that undergraduate students who engage in research are twice as likely to graduate, five times more likely to go on to graduate school, and have more successful careers after graduation.

“This increased collaboration with Libraries faculty and staff, who provide students with the research tools necessary for so many disciplines and publish the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research, complements the work of the OUR to deliver research support to students,” Childress explained. “It will expand upon the biweekly research seminars that have been sponsored by the OUR and Libraries for the past three semesters. The collective activities of the OUR and Libraries faculty strengthen the University’s commitment to providing high-quality experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates and encouraging mentorship from Purdue’s broad range of researchers and scholars.”

JJ Sadler, Associate Director of Purdue University's Office of Undergraduate Research
JJ Sadler, Associate Director of Purdue University’s OUR

Dean of the Purdue Honors College and Interim Dean of Libraries Rhonda Phillips noted that linking OUR, which is a newer unit at Purdue, with Libraries will facilitate enhanced access to information and skills for knowledge building across the spectrum of inquiry.

“The Libraries faculty and staff are experts in information literacy, and this new partnership will benefit both by connecting vital capacities in information literacy and research-skill development with OUR’s programming and service to students, faculty, and staff across campus,” Phillips said.

“The purpose of the OUR is to foster strong faculty-student mentorships, which aids in student retention, helps students to clarify their career goals, reduces the amount of time it takes for them to earn their degrees, enhances their interest in graduate school, and further develops critical-thinking skills necessary for lifelong success,” Childress added.

Angie Welsheimer, Administrative Assistant, Purdue University Office of Undergraduate Research
Angie Welsheimer, Administrative Assistant, Purdue University’s OUR

According to Purdue Libraries Head of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Business (HSSEB) Division Erla Heyns, the faculty and staff of the Libraries have a long history and a strong commitment to supporting undergraduate inquiry.

“With the merger of OUR and the Libraries, Purdue University will be able to play a vital role in furthering the education of students as researchers. The Hicks Undergraduate Library, where the OUR is now located, has been identified as the focal point for supporting undergraduate research,” Heyns noted. “To support this collaboration between the OUR and Libraries, Associate Professor Clarence Maybee is spearheading a Libraries’ initiative to create space in Hicks for undergraduate researchers to engage in specialized consultations and interactions with Libraries faculty and staff, as well as a place for students and faculty mentors to come together as a community. He will teach a for-credit course devoted to undergraduate research and the consultation space will play a critical role in supporting this initiative.”

More About the Office of Undergraduate Research

The OUR was launched in July 2017 and serves as a central resource for faculty and staff to coordinate and promote undergraduate research experiences (UREs). By providing this programmatic assistance, faculty, and administrators can better focus their time on more effective URE efforts and priorities. This infrastructure includes a portal for researcher and student recruitment through OURConnect, wraparound educational support in the form of online courses for current and prospective undergraduate researchers, promotion of research-based best practices, and development of a campus-wide community of practice for faculty and staff.

The OUR staff oversees multiple initiatives designed to recognize student research and scholarly achievements, including the annual OUR Scholarship, fall and spring undergraduate research conferences held each semester, a summer poster symposium, and research and travel grants.

For more information and to register for the OUR newsletter, visit or contact Childress at