College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

PERUSE closes but undergraduate research opportunities remain

The College of Engineering, in a move to streamline administration while keeping a strong focus on academics, has announced the closure of the PERUSE program (Providing Experiences in Research for Undergraduate Students in Engineering). PERUSE, which has been operated by the Engineering Graduate Programs office, will end May 1.

Matching undergraduate students with hands-on research experiences will remain a priority for the college and will be improved by more fully utilizing the numerous research centers for student experiences.

“We know undergraduates value experiential learning,” said Balaji Narasimhan, associate dean for research and graduate studies. “We want to make sure that the undergraduate students who are interested in research don’t miss a beat in obtaining hands-on experiences.”

The connections formerly made through PERUSE will now take place at the academic department level, Narasimhan said. He stressed that the college will refer students to departments, where advisors will help them make contact directly with faculty for research projects and with research centers.

“This decentralized approach makes the most sense since advisors know the faculty well and since faculty describe research projects on their web pages. There is less of a need today for the college’s central administration to connect faculty and students on projects,” Narasimhan added.

Research centers are now playing an increasing role in providing undergraduates with research positions. Students interested in research opportunities are encouraged to contact faculty directly to learn how to become involved.

“Closing PERUSE is the latest example of how the engineering college is focusing budget reductions on the college’s administration while preserving the mission of the academic departments,” said Jonathan Wickert, dean of the college. Other recent changes include a virtual desktop project in collaboration with Information Technology Services, the closure of the Engineering Policy and Leadership Institute, and the elimination of the Faculty and Staff Portfolio System.