University faculty have worked to increase use of high-impact educational practices in recent years by implementing multicourse collaborative research projects between students in multiple courses in a semester and occasionally in small groups through multiple semesters. Meanwhile, university archives face the problem of underdocumentation of their institutions' diverse communities and the lack of available research hours to remedy it. By combining the two types of multicourse research projects—whole-class sections working together across semesters—with the archives acting as project repository and knowledge conveyor between semesters, undergraduates can make significant contributions to the archives' documentation of diverse communities.
Between 2014 and 2016, Mississippi University for Women (MUW) instituted a sequential multicourse collaborative research project in which upper-level history courses, partnering with the University Archives, uncovered and documented the history of MUW's desegregation and racial integration. Using this project, the faculty and the archives implemented high-impact educational practices in coursework, uncovering the history of MUW's desegregation in time for the 50th anniversary in 2016, re-creating for students the experience of participating in scholarly discourse, and building new collections, finding aids, and other supplementary materials for the archives.
This project shows that sequential multicourse collaborative research projects can be an effective if labor-intensive way for small departments and lone arrangers to foster and leverage student research for both pedagogical and collection-building purposes.