Guidelines for Faculty Mentors
Thank you for your interest in serving as a faculty mentor for one of the undergraduate research grants offered through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program! Faculty mentors participating in the Young Scholars, Collaborative Inquiry, Sustainability Scholars, Interreligous Research Fellows and Community Based Research grant programs receive a stipend for their time and efforts. Please keep in mind that faculty mentors must be regular faculty members at St. Thomas or adjunct faculty members who have either a contract to teach during fall semester after the grant period or a letter from their department indicating a strong likelihood that they will be teaching during that period.
Developing a proposal
As with the research itself, the process of writing a research proposal for internal support from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (or any other funding agency) should be seen by the mentor as a teaching opportunity. Please ensure that students applying for these programs are taking ownership of the process, including project/research question development, application writing, deadline management, research management and communication of questions to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
In addition, it’s important to remember that in order for the review of student applications to be fair, faculty mentors must follow certain guidelines in terms of how much help they give the student as they write their proposal. Each faculty mentor may help prepare and submit up to three proposals per application round. Obviously, faculty should not write any sections of the proposal for their student, or otherwise allow student applicants to plagiarize their work. On the other hand, in most situations it is not fair to expect students to be able to clearly communicate the importance, goals, and methodology of a project without some guidance from their mentor. With that in mind, here are some examples of how a mentor may guide a student researcher through the application process for a UROP award:
- Holding an initial meeting to discuss the proposed research project, the guidelines of the application and how the project fits with those guidelines.
- Reviewing the entire proposal outline (written by the student), and suggesting aspects of the project that should be added, removed or edited.
- Reviewing the entire proposal draft (written entirely by the student) and pointing out areas that could be written more clearly, areas where more (or less) support is needed, or areas where transitional statements could be made to improve the “readability” of the document.
- Reviewing the entire second draft (written entirely by the student), and helping to fine-tune the final project.
Student and Mentor Responsibilities
If awarded a grant, students and their faculty mentors are required to sign a contract to accept the grant. This contract lays out the expectation for participation in all UROP grant programs.
The students should expect to:
- Complete the required number hours of work on the proposed research project, noting that no more than 40 hours per week can be submitted for payment;
- Complete and submit of the Student Employment Form by the posted date, with the understanding that if it is not completed, the grant will be forfeited in full;
- Complete the Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship Training prior to beginning the research project with the understanding that if it is not completed, the grant will be forfeited in full;
- Complete an Institutional Review Board application, if working with human subjects; submit an existing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol number, if working with animal subjects;
- Participate in the Inquiry poster session following the semester of research;
- Complete a final paper/project and submission of the paper to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program by the posted deadline; and
- Complete a program exit survey which will be received at the end of the semester period.
The faculty mentor should expect to:
- Set aside adequate time to meet with their scholar regularly throughout the term of the grant and be available on a regular basis to assist their scholar;
- Monitor and guide their scholar’s work and teach, provide critical feedback, and direct in a timely way the research being conducted by their scholar;
- Assist the scholar in the preparation of an application to the Institutional Review Board if working with human subjects; maintain and train the scholar in the active Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol if working with animal subjects;
- Assist his or her scholar in constructing his or her final paper/project that he or she will submit to UROP at the end of the grant term; review and approve the final version of the project submitted to UROP;
- Guide the scholar in the development of a poster for presentation at Inquiry; and,
- Alert UROP of any difficulties which the scholar encounters that may hinder the progress of the scholar’s work.
Failure to carry out these responsibilities can result in the termination of the grant at the discretion of UROP. Students who do not complete all requirements will be out of compliance and will be ineligible to apply for future UROP funding. Faculty who do not complete requirements will be ineligible to receive the associated stipend.
If you have questions, please contact Laura Bru at firstname.lastname@example.org.