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An enriching collaboration

The UW-Eau Claire McNair Program is a collaborative partnership between the McNair scholar, their faculty mentor, and the McNair program. UW-Eau Claire faculty members who choose to nominate and mentor a McNair scholar are integral to the development of their respective protégés as well as to the continued success of the UW-Eau Claire McNair Program.

Nomination Criteria: Critical role of the faculty nomination process

At UW-Eau Claire, the McNair program is a faculty nomination driven program. In addition to the requirement that prospective scholars must meet the federal and UW-Eau Claire eligibility criteria, we only accept students who have received glowing recommendations from faculty mentors. Our mentors play a central role in our success as a program, hence our ability to continue the cherished McNair Program at UW-Eau Claire. The research potential of a prospective scholar, as well as their interest and potential for successful completion of graduate school should be the most significant criteria for nomination. These are also important determinants of the number of points that our program is awarded by the Dept. of Education, and our probability of continued funding.

Any faculty wishing to nominate a student to the McNair program needs to carefully think through their perception of a prospective scholar's potential and motivation to:

  • Pursue research
  • Apply for graduate school
  • Be accepted into graduate school
  • Enter and continue graduate school
  • Successfully finish graduate school, especially a doctoral degree.

Caring collaborators

Kim Pierson and phsycis student working on solar project.

There are four components to successfully mentoring a McNair scholar:

  • Nominate a McNair scholar (optional)
  • Formulate a research project in collaboration with a McNair mentee
  • Collaborate on the research project with McNair mentee
  • Advocate for McNair mentee as they apply for graduate school

A rewarding role

While the commitment to become a McNair mentor is considerable, the rewards for mentoring a McNair scholar are likewise significant: McNair mentors gain the satisfaction of knowing that they have encouraged and supported the development of talented students. McNair mentors help shape the development of their discipline and foster the next generation of researchers doing cutting-edge work;and by advancing the work of our alumni, McNair mentors bring acclaim and prestige to UW-Eau Claire and our faculty. In the summer of 2017, we were able to provide our mentors a modest honorarium of $1,000 for mentoring one McNair scholar.

Summer Research Institute: Specific role of mentors

Every year, our junior cohort of McNair Scholars works on a six-week intensive research project with their mentors. The following, in our view, are the specific roles and responsibilities of the McNair mentor with regards to the SRI. Note that the McNair program will announce the specific start and end dates of SRI in Spring semester. Typically, the SRI runs from mid-June to late July.

  • In the Fall and Spring semesters leading up to the SRI (2018-2019 academic year), collaborate with and guide your mentee in crafting an original research proposal and a budget for the McNair SRI.
  • Simultaneously, also collaborate with your mentee to craft and submit an application for the ORSP-SREU. This is optional, although highly recommended. The McNair SRI project can be the same as or different from the ORSP SREU proposal.
  • During the following summer creating the research proposal, spend six weeks on the research project with your mentee. Also during the SRI, please assist your mentee in completing and submitting the Weekly Research Progress Report in a format that will be given to you by the McNair Program.

Mentoring is a deeply engaging relationship, one that requires advocacy and role-modeling meant to develop the student researcher both personally and professionally. This role requires that a mentor be many things, including available, encouraging, insightful, open, helpful, honest, nonjudgmental, and collegial.

Former Mentors

Please see the attached file for an McNair Mentors Complete List of our mentors and their scholars since 1998.

Below is a table showing the numbers of scholars per department who have been nominated since 1998.

Department # McNair Scholars nominated
Psychology 27
Biology 22
Chemistry 17
English 13
Geography 14
Language 12
Music & Theatre 11
History 10
Physics 10
Phil. Rels. Studies 9
Communication & Journalism 7
Mathematics 7
Geology 6
Political Science 6
Art & Design 4
Kins 4
Materials Science 4
Sociology 4
American Indian Studies 2
Communication Sciences & Disorders 2
Anthropology 1


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