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Challenges for Mentors

Based on this definition, a survey was created by a student-faculty research team to query faculty about their priorities and challenges as they relate to mentoring students in their scholarly projects. An interesting finding was that project design and student recruitment are considered the most challenging components of a mentor's role and that mentors provide the most consideration to project design and to the initial stages of the project. Preliminary results were reported in an oral session at the Mindful Teaching conference (UW System Office of Professional and Instructional Development, April 2014) and in a poster at the UW-Eau Claire Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity, April 30-May 1, 2014.

Tools for Mentors

A collection of tools mentors can modify and use for working with their student scholars.

Models

Student-Faculty Research Agreements

Aspects of Research Meetings

Assessment of the Mentor

Assessment of the Student Outcomes and Experience

Frequently Asked Questions by Mentors

What is Effective Undergraduate Research Mentoring?

Based on some of the literature on mentoring and personal experience, the Scholarly Activity Mentoring Study Group (SAMS), a faculty Community of Practice, put together a Definition of Effective Undergraduate Student Research Mentoring. The definition document describes mentor attributes and activities that enhance the student learning experience.

  • Mentor has the disciplinary expertise required to mentor the project
  • Mentor designs a project appropriate to the student and the subject matter
  • Mentor leads the student through stages of the research project and personal development
  • Mentor maintains a supportive collaborative environment throughout

What are some examples of Student-Faculty Research Collaboration projects?

At the core, these experiences involve faculty mentoring and a student's in-depth scholarly activity. Student-Faculty research can take place in any discipline and include activities ranging from running experiments in a lab to writing poetry. Here are examples that show the variety of possibilities:

  • Two students spent three weeks on San Salvador Island researching the impact of coral reef health and ecology on fish distribution, under the guidance of a Biology faculty member.
  • An English faculty member mentored two students as they wrote a script and created a feature-length thriller film, shot entirely in Eau Claire. They plan to submit the final project to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
  • A student worked with an Economics professor to study wage penalties in majority-female occupations. The student went on to present results at the annual Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (CERCA) and win first place.

How do I get started?

Student-Faculty collaborative projects can be initiated in several ways:

  • If you notice a student who has the potential to work independently, invite them to participate in a research project with you.
  • Hear about projects from colleagues who are doing research or conference presentations, and inquire if they are interested in collaborating with you on that project or a future project. Invite students to collaborate with you.
  • Encourage students to contact you with ideas for a scholarly or creative project based on class activities such as reading, research for class assignments, or in-class discussions.
  • Take a look at what internal funding opportunities are available for student-faculty collaborations. Contact ORSP to find out what projects are available (contact Karen Havholm).

What makes a project eligible for funding?

To be eligible for funding support at UW-Eau Claire, the project should extend beyond the confines of classroom assignments, and the student should be involved in many or all of the steps in scholarship:

  • development of the question, problem or idea within its scholarly/creative context
  • design of the approach to be applied
  • execution of the project
  • analysis, application, synthesis, and/or evaluation of the results
  • dissemination of the results/conclusions/creative product in appropriate scholarly venues