IV. Learning Beyond the Amherst Classroom

4.1 Research and Internship Opportunities

Student collaboration with faculty on projects of intellectual import plays a central role in pedagogy in the natural sciences and attracts talented future scientists to the College. Amherst lags behind peer institutions in the quantity, though not the quality, of the opportunities that we provide. The vagaries of government-driven grant funding create an element of unpredictability that our peers have increasingly mitigated through endowed funding for summer science research. We urge that such funding be increased at Amherst. The College should also explore ways to expand opportunities for student research at partner institutions, including the Whitehead Institute, Sloan-Kettering, and the University of Massachusetts. We welcome the new options for students to participate in research with our own faculty in the sciences and other areas envisioned through the Schupf Scholars program.

Support for semester and summer internships through the Amherst Academic Interns program and the Dean of the Faculty’s grant program for student research has proved to be increasingly popular over the last three years. Some of these internships have provided assistance to faculty research in the sciences and other areas; others have supported course development, as have the Curricular Computing Summer Interns. The College’s libraries, museums, and outreach programs provide other locations beyond the classroom for students to work closely with faculty and staff on projects related to their academic interests. We look forward to the creation of additional internship opportunities in these areas.

13. We recommend that funding for the Amherst Academic Interns program and the Dean of the Faculty’s resources to support student research across the disciplines be enhanced.