Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

Faculty mentors are integral to the undergraduate research experience. They work closely with the student in planning, developing and implementing the project.

faculty and students

Faculty enthusiasm for undergraduate research matches that of the students themselves. In some cases faculty mentors will be a student’s first exposure to independent research or creative endeavors. Faculty members may play a pivotal role in the life trajectory of their student charges. As students choose to explore independent academic inquiry and scholarship we need to optimize their transformative learning experience.

The manner in which undergraduates can be engaged and incorporated into the research process depends on the discipline, the project, and the needs of the faculty member. With support, training and guidance, students can contribute in a variety of ways, including:

  • Conducting library research and literature reviews.
  • Assisting with data collection, data entry and analysis.
  • Recruiting, scheduling and running study participants.
  • Conducting and transcribing interviews.
  • Acting as research and laboratory assistants.

Faculty mentor expectations will vary across disciplines and with individual preferences. However, all successful faculty mentors demonstrate a genuine desire to expand the intellectual curiosity and professional development of students.

Application Process Responsibilities

Faculty mentors must write a letter supporting the research project or presentation. This letter should mention specific reasons why this research is worthy of grant support. Additional details such as the relevance of this project to the student’s educational development or degree goals are welcome.

  • If applicable, mentors are responsible for obtaining required approval for proposed research involving human or animal subjects and any bio-safety requirements. Proposals requiring approval by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants in Research, Institutional Animal Care and Use and Committee, or the Bio-safety Committee will be considered by the OURCI Committee prior to regulatory approval, but fund availability will depend on those approvals. Copies of the approval must be provided to the OURCI Committee.

Research Project Responsibilities

  • Mentors are expected to work closely with the student in planning, developing and implementing the project. It is also expected that the mentor will be available throughout the program to answer questions and to help the student solve problems. Faculty mentors must ensure that students will receive safety training when appropriate.

Post-Project Responsibilities

  • Mentors should make sure that the students understand the required procedures to receive reimbursement. Typically, faculty mentors work with the department chair or budget coordinator in the department to assist the student research with reimbursement.
  • At the end of the academic year each mentor must report the status of the project and dissemination of the findings (presentations and publications). This includes students receiving travel grants for the presentation of their research. The final responsibility for submitting a final report rests with the faculty member. Failure to comply with the reporting requirement may result in temporary suspension of funding for subsequent projects mentored by the faculty member.
  • An abstract describing the results of the project must be submitted by the student or faculty member to the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry () at the end of the funding period. This requirement may be satisfied by the submission of an abstract for the Annual Student Research and Scholarship Expo. The final responsibility of submitting a final abstract rests, however, with the faculty member.