April 28 Message to Undergraduates, Faculty and Staff: Summer Research for Students

To Our Undergraduates, Faculty and Staff:

As the end of the spring semester draws near, we want to update you on Case Western Reserve’s deliberations for undergraduate summer research.

As part of last month’s transition to remote operations, the university significantly reduced research that required on-campus activity. The main exception to this practice primarily involved the medical school, where work related to COVID-19 continued.

With Ohio’s gradual re-opening starting May 1, and the university’s first phase of employees returning later in the month, we expect additional research will resume within the next several weeks. As much as we would like to be able to welcome many undergraduates and high school students to campus to assist in those efforts, ongoing pandemic concerns require a far more conservative approach. Below are its details:

1. No high school students or undergraduates from other universities may participate in on-campus research this summer.

2. Case Western Reserve undergraduates may participate in on-campus research only if:

  • project progress cannot be completed remotely; and
  • the project’s Principal Investigator commits to:
    • supervise in person (or arrange in-person supervision by a graduate student, post-doctoral associate, research associate, or faculty member);
    • ensure the student receives proper safety instruction in all relevant lab practices;
    • ensure the student works in an area where space is adequate to allow social distancing and social distancing practices are followed; and
    • ensure the student has all necessary personal protective equipment.

3. Principal investigators who wish to have undergraduates work on campus under the criteria detailed in #2 are asked to give priority in selection to:

  • rising seniors doing capstone research;
  • students who are part of structured summer research fellowship cohorts that are organized/mentored/supervised.*
  • students already trained in the lab/on the project who have shown they can work with some degree of autonomy and do not need new certifications or clearance; and
  • students, such as international students or others unable to return home, already approved to live on campus this summer.

    *NOTE: No director or coordinator of any university program may invite a student to participate in on-campus research—and/or provide funding for such research—until the Principal Investigator/Designated Faculty Mentor has verified that all of the criteria in #2 have been met.

4. Any Principal Investigator may further restrict the conditions in which students may assist with on-campus research—or decline to have students participate in any on-campus research.

5. Similarly, any school** or college may further restrict the conditions in which students may assist with on-campus research—or decline to have students participate in any on-campus research.

**NOTE: The School of Medicine has determined that no undergraduates may participate in on-campus research until at least Aug. 1. The school will consider student requests for senior capstone projects after that date on a case-by-case basis.

For updates regarding other schools and programs, please check the website for SOURCE (Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors). For specific questions, please contact SOURCE Director Sheila Pedigo at 216.368.8508 or sheila.pedigo@case.edu.

As of this time, the university has not determined a date for undergraduates to be able to participate in on-campus research activities. We will provide that detail and others when they become available.

Suzanne M. Rivera
Vice President for Research and Technology Management