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McNair Scholars

Faculty Mentors

McNair Scholars Program: Faculty Mentors

Mentor Responsibilities (Mentor Guide): Research Fellowship

During the Fall semester Mentors will discuss research ideas and possibilities with the mentee to sketch out a project that is interesting and that can be developed into a research proposal. The research experience shall be constrained to not less than an nine-week time period of the summer. The mentee will need guidance to develop realistic timelines and strategies for completing the research project (particularly given other program and academic commitments). In order to best assist the mentee, we ask that you:

  • Provide instruction, direction, challenge and support to the mentee during the research execution
  • Provide students with meaningful recommendation letters (mentors can write recommendation letters for as many students as they want per quarter/year).
  • Offer informal guidance and direction regarding –
    • The graduate school experience,
    • The rewards and challenges of the faculty role (if pursuing professorate),
    • Realistic and appropriate job prospects for the student once s/he completes the doctoral degree,
    • Networking possibilities,
    • Regional & national conference opportunities within your discipline,
    • Ensure that the mentee is familiar with appropriate and realistic graduate programs,
    • Check in with the student's Educational Action Plan Progress,
  • Monitor the mentee's research activities and provide feedback,
  • Present the mentee with examples of professional writing within your field,
  • Support and challenge the mentee and assist him/her in writing a high-quality research article,
  • Attend and participate in the annual CWU SOURCE, The Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression held in May,
  • Offer assistance and encouragement to the mentee as he/she prepares to present his/her research findings at a symposium, colloquium, or other academic conferences,
  • Complete an evaluation so that we may assess the student's and the program's strengths and weaknesses.

Meeting With Your Mentee

We have found that Scholars are most comfortable (and best kept on track) if mentors meet with them in person at least once a week. Obviously, depending on the nature of the research and the needs of the student, you may need to meet with the student more often. Please meet with the mentee more often if you feel it necessary or if you so desire. Mentors should expect to meet with mentees more than they usually do while the students are doing their summer fellowship.

Summer Fellowship

Many McNair mentors regard the summer fellowship as an independent study. However, you should be aware of significant differences regarding the work expectations of McNair students as opposed to students participating in other programs or projects where a research study is the sole focus. In addition to their research, McNair fellows may be devoting significant time to weekly classes and meetings. Fellows are awarded a stipend and provided allowances for room and board. These enable students to devote full-time effort to the program. (Limited funds will also be available to the Fellows to support their research projects at the execution stage.) Fellows are discouraged from taking classes (besides the McNair curriculum) or hold employment outside of the McNair Program. They are expected to regard their fellowship as a full-time (a minimum average of 30 hours per week for 270 hours total) commitment.

Summer Associate

A few new Scholars each year will have an opportunity to intern as an assistant to a Faculty Mentor on a project that is already developed. This can be lab or field research, publication preparation (book, journal article), publication research, etc. Scholars are expected to commit 135 hours during the summer.

Joint McNair-Science Honors Scholars Mentors

Faculty Mentors for these scholars will receive the Science Honors stipend and release time, but no McNair funds.


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