Division ofNatural Sciences

Section 3 – Mentor Responsibilities

Mentors are the key persons who will provide student-researchers with opportunities for high-quality research experiences. It is expected that each mentor will be engaged in investigative research activities that have the potential for impact beyond the scope of the particular project, for example, research activities that will be shared with the professional community to which the mentor belongs. Mentors will encourage their student-researchers to identify questions, formulate hypotheses, devise experiments, and interpret data during the research activities.

Primary Responsibilities

Core responsibilities:

  • Mentors with funding from the NSCI Undergraduate Research Program are to work closely with their student-researchers during a 10-week period in the summer for which they have been awarded funds. This means a minimum of 400 hours; both mentors and student-researchers should recognize that their work may require more than 40 hours per week.
  • Some additional teaching and research activities are allowed, but 80% of the work time during the full 12-13-week summer period is to be available for work with the student-researchers.
  • The additional teaching and research activities are to be identified when faculty members apply for funding.

Additional responsibilities:

  • Mentors are encouraged to meet with their students prior to the summer research period.
  • Working with student-researchers, as they prepare research posters and talks for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust Regional Conference on Undergraduate Research or other professional meetings, is expected and will require some time commitment after the academic year begins in fall semester.
  • Mentors will attend and fully participate in Murdock’s regional conference to support our students presenting their work. (The number of mentors and students who can attend is determined by the Trust and is based on the capacity of the institution that is hosting the conference.)

It is ideal if the work accomplished is submitted as a research paper for publication, or as preliminary data for a research proposal, within two years after the work has been done. A submitted paper or proposal ordinarily will be expected if additional NSCI-funding is sought in subsequent years.

On-Campus Meetings and Presentations

Mentors are expected to participate in both recruiting students and evaluating the program.

The specific recruiting tasks include:

  • Participating in the mentor orientation meeting
  • Presenting a brief informational research talk at a session for interested students
  • Selecting student-researchers from the program’s applicant pool

Evaluation tasks include:

  • Making sure that the student-researchers complete and submit the program evaluation and a summary of their research accomplishments at the end of the summer period
    • Research accomplishments are defined broadly to include technical expertise and other personal development, as well as experimental results
  • Completing and submitting the mentor’s own program evaluation and research summary at the end of the summer period
  • Participating in other evaluation activities, if requested
Both mentors and student-researchers are expected to attend the weekly lunch meetings held for the entire summer research group. Although some absences may be necessary, for example, for out-of- town field work, the weekly meetings serve to promote the sense of community during the summer program. Mentors are invited, and strongly encouraged, to take part in planning the weekly sessions.