FAQs for Research Mentors

How can an undergraduate student support my research?

Undergraduates have supported scholarly research in a variety of ways. For example, you may serve as a mentor to a student doing independent study or individual research on a topic the overlaps with your own research. Also, the student could be a contributing member of your research group/lab alongside graduate students and postdocs.

Do research mentors have to serve as a research advisor if a student asks?

No, this is entirely optional unless it is already required or expected by your academic unit.

I have an opportunity for a student to assist with research, how do I advertise this position to students?

You may seek out students in a variety of ways. The most immediate way is to post your position to OURConnect, an online application system where research opportunities are posted and students can search and apply. One approach is to use the various programs that support undergraduate research on campus. Examples include the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program (DURI) – interdisciplinary; Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship (Wilke) – Liberal Arts; Cancer Prevention Internship (CPIP) – interdisciplinary cancer research; Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) – Engineering during summer. See Search Opportunities for a more complete list. Another approach is to reach out to the strong students from your classes/interactions and those of others in your unit. Such students may be looking for opportunities to go beyond the boundaries of the courses offered and to experience research first hand.

What options exist for students who wish to receive academic credit for their research?

Most academic units offer courses entitled, “Research” or “Individual Study,” using them as a means to obtain academic credit for research. Typically the credit hours for these course listings are flexible so you and the student can agree on the appropriate level of credit based on the level of time commitment expected of the student.

How many hours per week should a student work per credit hour of research?

The expectation is normally in the range of 3 to 5 hours per week per credit hour, similar to the time required for lab or studio courses. You should discuss your expectations with the student.

If I supervise undergraduate researchers, will I get credit for this work in tenure, promotion, and merit-based salary decisions, and in decisions about teaching assignments?

This varies among academic units. Mentoring undergraduate researchers is generally encouraged and appreciated and should be listed on your CV. It is best to consult with your Head and the Primary Committee in your unit about expectations at your career stage.