On April 29, 2014 Tom Nielsen, vice president of instruction, officially announced that Bellevue College will be hiring Gita Bangera as BC’s first dean of undergraduate research. “This position is designed to enhance and further the college’s existing program in undergraduate research, pioneered by Gita, including the creation and oversight of a new Center for Undergraduate Research, Innovation and Experiential Learning, which will have a campus- wide approach to infusing research experiences into a wide variety of curriculum,” said Bellevue College President Dr. David Rule in the official press release.
“The Center will support the infusion of undergraduate research, experiential, service and project-based learning across the college, based on national research documenting that hands- on research and real-world applications for learning significantly improve student success and retention,” said Tom Nielsen, vice president of instruction, in an official email.
“Our own data, which is strongly supported by information received from local employers and national organizations such as the National Science Foundation, show that this type of hands-on, original research is one of the best ways to significantly improve student success and retention,” said Rule.
Bangera is tasked with developing the Bellevue College Center for Undergraduate Research, Innovation and Experiential Learning in accordance with the Academic Master Plan, which is anticipated to be completed in the coming months. “It will respond to a clear direction in our still-developing Academic Master Plan, and also build upon Gita’s reputation and the successes of BC students in the Community College Genomics Research Initiative (ComGen),” said Nielsen.
“Bangera will report to the vice president of instruction and support campus undergraduate research efforts through grant-funded projects, curriculum development, faculty support and partnerships with other research labs, industry and community organizations,” according to the official press release. Duties will also include “physical planning, coordinating faculty research projects, coordinating and developing undergraduate research projects, developing curriculum to suuport undergraduate research classes and programs and identifying funding and partnership opportunities on both the local and national level.”
As the dean of undergraduate research, Bangera will also liaise between Bellevue College and the National Science Foundation. “[Bangera] is one of 40 nationwide Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education Leadership Fellows. … [The] program [was] initiated by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for General Medical Sciences/National Institute of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to revolutionize US Life Science education,” according to Nielsen.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Gita serving in this poisition – she is exactly the type of faculty that we need to grow into our future,” said Rule. Bangera will officially begin her term as of July 1, 2014. Gita Bangera could not be reached for comment.