Janice DeCosmo—associate vice provost for undergraduate research, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs, and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington—has been elected as president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). DeCosmo will become president-elect on July 1, 2018, taking a seat on CUR’s Executive Board and succeeding 2018–2019 CUR president Iain Crawford (University of Delaware) in summer 2019.

For nearly two decades, DeCosmo has been an active CUR member. Her diverse volunteer experiences within CUR include service on program review and nominations vetting committees, Undergraduate Research Programs Division chair, two terms on the governing board for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and a term on CUR’s Executive Board. A prolific writer and presenter on undergraduate research scholarship, DeCosmo serves as issue editor for CUR’s flagship journal, Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research (SPUR).

DeCosmo stated, “My early experiences with undergraduate research were as a graduate student, where myself and my peers found ourselves mentoring first-generation college students who were struggling with coursework and finding their way at a large university. As the students learned our protocols and became part of our teams, we saw them blossom and gain new confidence; their grades also improved. That experience stayed with me, and later I jumped at the chance to develop a grant-funded undergraduate research initiative. I was lucky that soon after that I discovered CUR and met friends and colleagues whose work inspired much of the development of the UW’s undergraduate research program. I am humbled to be president-elect of this group, and I look forward to advancing opportunity for students in all disciplines and types of institutions to have the chance to develop their creativity, critical thinking, and communications skills—so essential to their future success in work and life—through research.”

DeCosmo earned a BS in physics from the University of Iowa in 1979 and a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington in 1991, specializing in atmosphere-ocean interaction. She oversees the UW’s Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity, which includes undergraduate research, service learning, leadership, and scholarship programs. DeCosmo developed the UW undergraduate research program, which had more than 8,000 participants in 2017. She represents the UW on statewide higher education policy groups that oversee new academic programs and the transfer process for students from Washington’s two-year colleges to four-year institutions. DeCosmo was director for 10 years of the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium, a NASA-funded effort to support innovative education and research initiatives across the state.

Elizabeth Ambos, CUR executive officer, stated: “Janice DeCosmo will bring a wealth of experience to the CUR presidency, particularly with respect to fund-raising for undergraduate research advancement, with which she has been deeply involved at her institution. Her previous work within CUR has fostered the development of the undergraduate research programs division, and her current role as SPUR’s issue editor provides her with a unique vantage point on the rapidly-evolving scholarship of undergraduate research. We look forward to her dynamic and positive leadership.”


Council on Undergraduate Research: The Council on Undergraduate Research supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. More than 700 institutions and nearly 13,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.

University of Washington: The University of Washington (UW) is ranked no. 13 in the world on the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities, with UW educating more than 54,000 students annually. UW’s undergraduate research symposium showcases the scholarly work of more than 1,000 participants each year and celebrates its 21st anniversary this month.