Undergraduate Research and Mentoring
All faculty members at BYU teach regularly, an important commitment at a university that focuses on providing a premier undergraduate education. BYU professors are also active in research in order to stay current in their fields and contribute to a resolution of world problems.
An extremely important aspect of research at BYU is the institution-wide emphasis on mentoring undergraduates involved in research projects. Undergraduates assist faculty with research and creative work on campus, often working in labs and co-authoring papers with faculty members. The students' work, which often results in presentations, performances and publications in academic journals, provides them with key credentials for graduate school admission or job placement. BYU undergraduates routinely win awards for their research while competing against graduate students.
To support student mentoring, the university's Office of Research and Creative Activities awards each year roughly $500,000 to more than 300 undergraduates whose research proposals merited grants. BYU also gives out more than $1 million annually to faculty members to mentor research projects involving undergraduates.
According to a recent Association of University Technology Managers' survey, BYU ranks as follows per every million dollars of research expenditures:
- #1 in invention disclosures
- #1 in new patent applications
- #1 in licenses and options executed
- #1 in startup companies spun out
- #5 in license income
The following examples highlight some of BYU's research:
- Economics professor Arden Pope documented specific health effects of air pollution, providing information that led the Environmental Protection Agency to adjust national air quality standards.
- Political science professor David Magleby led a research team that investigated the influence of "soft money" contributions in U.S. political races. His findings were cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling to uphold a new law intended to regulate such donations.
- Accounting professor W. Steve Albrecht's research of white-collar fraud has led to his being recognized nationally as an expert in this area, and his qualifications led to his appointment as a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which helps set accounting standards for the United States.