Since 2014, the University of Saskatchewan has been leading the way in innovative undergraduate research with FYRE - First Year Research Experience.
Professors embed a research project or research experience right into the course, at the first year level. Student receive extra support on the project from a research coach, usually a senior/experienced student who understands the research process and can help navigate the path.
A FYRE course will set students up for upper year success -- students gain experience in finding and analyzing data, communication, and over 80% report increased confidence in conducting research.
Through FYRE, first-year students learn and practice critical research skills via the research cycle.
- Develop a question
- Investigate a question (using the tools of the discipline)
- Share the findings with a wider audience (beyond the professor)
FYRE projects in courses build specific research skills:
- accepting unpredictability
- 'just-in-time' learning - finding what you need, when you need it
- working with others
- giving and receiving constructive feedback
- going back and making necessary changes and revisions
- tenacity and grit to continue
- ownership of your own project
- the ability to explain your ideas to others
University of Saskatchewan faculty researchers working with FYRE have discovered that the best researchers aren't always the top students in the class.
The best researchers have grit and tenacity, the ability to think laterally, imagination and are willing to put in the hard work. These skills matter just as much as marks and test scores. You might be a great researcher - don't let marks stop you!
Check the course catalogue for classes containing undergraduate research or other experiential learning opportunities at and beyond the 100-level and for upcoming terms. Search for 'undergraduate research' or related terms.
Within the Registration channel in PAWS, select the term you want to register for, click 'Advanced Search', select your subject of interest and search for 'undergraduate research' under the 'Attribute' category.
Past FYRE courses at USask have been in AgBio, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, Astronomy, Education, ISAP, Pharmacy and Nutrition, Kinesiology, Womens and Gender Studies, Political Studies, Edwards School of Business, English, and many more! You're most likely to be in a FYRE class if you're taking first year Geography or WGST, but they can be anywhere!
FYRE Student Resources
Taking a FYRE course opens the doors to your future learning. We're here to help you navigate. Our best advice: this is your opportunity to teach yourself what you need to know, when you need to know it. That's the best way to learn.
If you're interested in research, consider joining the SURE: Student Undergraduate Research Experience program, which hosts webinars and events geared toward student learning in communication, research technical management, and professional/entrepreneurial development. SURE has lots of past recorded webinars on its YouTube channel (open to all students), with excellent resources on topics such as: how to do a thorough library search, how to analyze and how to write a literature review, how to create a research poster, and many more.
FYRE Faculty Resources
USask Faculty use FYRE in their classrooms. Why?
- active learning: students learn content via a deep dive into research
- students develop professional and research skillsets earlier
- Research coaches leverage your eyes and ears in class
- supports diversity and inclusion in research practice
- mobilizes and reinvigorates classrooms
- pursuit of skills and practices from USask Learning Charter
- engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) for more publications
- uses Research Cycle (Question. Investigate. Share.) to design course-based research curriculum
FYRE Research Coaches
USask FYRE Research Coaches are the lynchpin of first year undergraduate research. They work with faculty to deliver just-in-time coaching to FYRE classes during their projects.
Develop your professional skills with a paid research coach experience. Talk to your department: what FYRE classes are being taught this semester? Apply and get some extra cash and experience, right here on campus. Don't know of a class, but want to apply? Send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and let the office know that you're looking for a FYRE research coach opportunity.
A research coach works with students, guides their learning, learns to provide good feedback and constructive redirection, builds Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for extra publications and adds great skills to a resume!
The University of Saskatchewan Library has developed FYRE resources to support research coaches. Students who are hired as FYRE coaches receive additional training and resources on a shared Canvas course site.