Craven CC partnering with UNCW to offer new class

Craven Community College

Craven Community College (Craven CC) has partnered with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) to provide a new course for students. The class, Introduction to Research and Discovery, is taught by Kathryn Amerson, Craven CC history instructor, and offered through UNCW’s Honors College.

The course helps students learn how to conduct research through online academic databases, as well as how to find grants for undergraduate and graduate research. In addition, students have access to Canvas, UNCW’s Learning Management System, and UNCW online resources, including their online library and databases, to assist in their work and give them more of a university experience.

The program began in early March and currently has 14 Craven CC students enrolled, the majority of which are Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) members and/or in Craven CC’s honors program.

Originally created and geared toward first-year students in 2018, UNCW expanded this initiative to include the Community College Undergraduate Research Experience (CCURE), which invites community college students to participate in a First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) section while still enrolled at their respective community colleges. CCURE seeks to open pathways to undergraduate research for community college students who may otherwise be disadvantaged after transferring. UNCW created full tuition scholarships for each student and removed the university application fee to eliminate financial barriers to participation.

Craven CC is one of three community college partners, which include Lenoir Community College and Cape Fear Community College. Each college was permitted to design its class according to the discipline of the instructor. Craven CC’s approach is history/humanities-based with a focus on ethical leadership.

Amerson, who is also a PTK advisor, is enthusiastic to be part of this new opportunity and hopes more students will benefit from it as it continues to be offered. Students will showcase their research process via Zoom on May 5. UNCW Honors College and community college partners will meet Craven CC honors students as they present academic research style poster board sessions.

“Through this course, Honors 191, UNCW is allowing community college students to earn university credit as they begin the process of scholarly research,” said Amerson. “When our students transfer to UNCW or elsewhere, they will have the advantage of immediately understanding how to navigate academic databases. They will also be familiar with federal and corporate funding opportunities that support university research, and will know the process for presenting undergraduate and graduate level research proposals. The students are excited for this opportunity and seem to be enjoying the discovery of research tools.”

For more information on the new class, contact Amerson at

By Craig Ramey, Director of Communications, Craven Community College