If a student is in a different academic department than my home department, can I still mentor this student?
Yes, especially if your area of expertise is closely related to the subject matter of the research project.
If a student asks me to be a mentor in a field outside my expertise, how can I still be a help to that student?
Help the student find a colleague in your department and/or field who can serve as mentor, or refer the student to the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.
Yes, but experience has shown that it is beneficial to the student to have one primary mentor—to help design and develop the project, and also to supervise the research. Ideally, this mentor will come from the major field most closely related to the subject matter of the research project.
First the prospective student researchers should consult with the Hamel Center website and/or staff to learn about the process and deadlines peculiar to the grant sought. After students decide on a project and secure the commitment of a faculty mentor, they write a detailed grant proposal that outlines the nature of the project, timeline, budget, etc. (See Application Deadlines for information on our application cycle and proposal writing workshops.) The Hamel Center director and a faculty advisory board decide who will receive a grant based on the feasibility of the project, quality and completeness of the proposal, and available funding. The application process is competitive.
As a faculty mentor, you should guide the student’s writing of the proposal and review the proposal before it is submitted, particularly the budget section. You will also write a detailed letter of recommendation for your student, affirming the student’s capability and preparation plan as well as your willingness to mentor the student through the end of the research project.
The Hamel Center offers proposal writing workshops and one-on-one consultation on proposals well ahead of the application deadlines to give students time to make revisions before submitting. We also offer advice on they types of grants available.
Undergraduate research funded through REAP, SURF, or IROP grants is not eligible for course credit. Students who plan to pursue research for academic credit may apply for an expense award through the Undergraduate Research Award (URA), but they would not be eligible for a stipend as well. (In the case of URAs, academic credit is offered by the academic departments, not by the Hamel Center.) Students interested in receiving credit for research may also enroll in INCO 590 or INCO 790, variable (1-4) credit courses that offer up to $200 in research expenses. See descriptions of various Hamel Center grants for specific details.
As a faculty mentor, you are responsible for helping your student with the following:
- Preparing an effective grant proposal
- Preparing to conduct the research
- Conducting the research; and
- Evaluating the research and the research process.
Depending on the grant program, you may also need to help the student connect with a research partner or opportunity abroad, and assist with the student’s cultural preparation and on-site accommodations, in conjunction with the foreign mentor. See descriptions of various Hamel Center grants for specific details.
Ask the Hamel Center staff for information about colleagues who have mentored Hamel Center students and are available to share mentoring advice. Your Departmental Liaison may also be of assistance.