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Although the Boyer Commission (1998) lamented the lack of research opportunities for all undergraduates at research-extensive universities, it did not provide a feasible solution consistent with the mandate for faculty to maintain sustainable physiology research programs. The costs associated with one-on-one mentoring, and the lack of a sufficient number of faculty members to give intensive attention to undergraduate researchers, make one-on-one mentoring impractical. We therefore developed and implemented the "research-intensive community" model with the aim of aligning diverse goals of participants while simultaneously optimizing research productivity. The fundamental organizational unit is a team consisting of one graduate student and three undergraduates from different majors, supervised by a faculty member. Undergraduate workshops, Graduate Leadership Forums, and computer-mediated communication provide an infrastructure to optimize programmatic efficiency and sustain a multilevel, interdisciplinary community of scholars dedicated to research. While the model radically increases the number of undergraduates that can be supported by a single faculty member, the inherent resilience and scalability of the resulting complex adaptive system enables a research-intensive community program to evolve and grow.
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