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Guide for Faculty Mentors in Undergraduate Research McGregor Summer Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Sciences

The Ideal Student Researcher

As you write your McGregor summer research faculty proposal, it is a good idea to have a few student candidates in mind. You might want to identify those students in your discipline who have shown classroom aptitude for inquiry, initiative, and engaged learning, and who have a personality compatible with structured, guided tasks as well as being comfortable and capable with a particular degree of autonomy. Students should demonstrate potential for thinking analytically and logically, analyzing ideas and synthesizing new knowledge, and communicating an understanding of the processes used to generate conclusions.

Communication: Details, Details, Details

At your first meeting, the McGregor Student Fellow should provide a written list of goals and expectations for you:

  • What are their own learning goals for this research project?
  • How will participation in the project help them achieve those goals?
  • What specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) do they hope to develop during the project?

Even more important, the student should know your goals both for the project and the student, and the work you expect from your student should be 1) clearly written, and 2) discussed with the student at the first meeting. 

  • Describe the research project and solicit the students’s questions
  • Work with the student to create a detailed work timeline (include any firm deadlines for submissions) and discuss various time-management techniques
  • Outline the specific tasks that need to be accomplished and discuss the diversity of work habits, cognitive styles, and cultural biases the student might encounter as research progresses
  • Remind the student of his/her obligation to the McGregor Fellows’ weekly meeting and plan around that absence
  • Discuss the importance of confidentiality (when necessary or appropriate) and what is expected of the student in this regard
  • Outline any training or orientation which needs to take place.
  • Outline how frequently you plan to meet with the student, and what the best form of communication is for both of you (e.g., email vs. phone/text)
  • Describe expectations and opportunities for undergraduate scholar presentations and/or publications in the coming year.  If you expect the student to attend/present at a specific conference or workshop or seminar, make sure that date is communicated.
  • The student has been awarded a stipend of up to $3300, which will be disbursed in paycheck form every two weeks. The student will be required to enter time-card information every week (no more than 40 hours per week). As mentor, you will take care of approving the time cards.


Engaging Work:
With not For

Although autonomy is one important facet of a student’s development as an undergraduate researcher, the McGregor Fellowship is designed to be an intensive, engaged, and collaborative project between faculty and student.  As students embark with mentors on inquiry into specific lines of research, Mentors should be mindful that their student needs formative guidance in the research process. This is especially important when you consider that the nature of social science and humanities research does not typically employ the experimental method.  Your job, as faculty mentor, is to teach your student how to work with you, rather than for you, as s/he develops into a confident, creative, and collaborative researcher.