Undergraduate Academic Affairs

May 24, 2018

UAA’s Associate Dean Janice DeCosmo elected to president of national Council on Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Photo of Janice DeCosmo

Janice DeCosmo, associate vice provost and associate dean of Undergraduate Academic AffairsPhoto by Bryan Nakata

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 has been elected president of the national nonprofit Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

A longtime proponent of undergraduate research, DeCosmo was the first director of the UW’s Undergraduate Research Program and has been involved in or running the Undergraduate Research Symposium since its inception in 1997. Her work has been instrumental in developing a national model in undergraduate research at the UW. In 2016-17, more than 8,400 undergraduates participated in undergraduate research. In the recent 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium, more than 1,250 students presented their work.

“Our Undergraduate Research Program — its size, breadth and excellence,” says UW President Ana Mari Cauce, “is one of the crown jewels of our Husky Experience.”

“My early experiences with undergraduate research were as a graduate student,” says DeCosmo, “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.”

DeCosmo says the community and network of CUR members helped bring ideas and collegial support as the UW’s Undergraduate Research Program developed and matured.

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).

“I am humbled to be president-elect of [CUR],” says DeComo, “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 Ph.D. 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. 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.

University of Washington Undergraduate Research Program

The Undergraduate Research Program facilitates research experiences for undergraduates with UW faculty members across the disciplines. Its signature event is the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, which happens each May. This year, more than 1,250 students presented their research. The Undergraduate Research Program is an Undergraduate Academic Affairs program, housed in the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity.


University of Washington

The UW is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, our region and the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked No. 13 in the world on the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the UW educates more than 54,000 students annually.


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.


This announcement draws upon and is based on the announcement from the Council for Undergraduate Research.