Faculty mentors play an important role in the undergraduate research process by helping students apply classroom knowledge to real world situations. It is the faculty mentors responsibility to help the student frame a significant question in the discipline that leads to the creation of new knowledge and then help plan the steps to the project.
The responsibilities of the mentor in the student-mentor relationship include:
- Guiding the student in selecting and developing an appropriate research or creative project
- Establishing mutual expectations
- Setting and refining goals
- Giving effective feedback
- Keeping track of results/progress
- Encouraging success
The following are suggested tips for guiding your student through their undergraduate research project:
- Schedule regular meetings. It is important to be available to your undergraduate researchers to teach and guide them on their journey. Set up weekly meetings and give feedback on the student’s progress.
- Be attentive, engaging, and enthusiastic about your student’s research. Your motivation, encouragement and overall leadership will help the student have a more positive experience that will ultimately improve the accomplishments of your student’s work.
- Communication is key! Discuss and establish mutual expectations early. The student and mentor should agree upon a set of goals for the semester, and refine those goals as research progresses.
- Allow independence as the student progresses.