Faculty mentors are integral to the planning, development, and implementation of students’ research, scholarship, or creative projects. Students benefit from mentor input in all stages of their research. Faculty mentors assist students in making the transition from classroom learning to real world applications. They also contribute to students’ development and confidence to pursue a successful career.
But what about you? Why should you become a faculty mentor to an undergraduate researcher? Besides the pleasure of introducing a student to the joys of doing research, there are many advantages to be gained by becoming a faculty advisor.
Unlike graduate students who may need to produce scholarly products to move on in their careers, the goal for undergraduate research is to expose students to the way knowledge is discovered or created, and the critical thinking that goes into this process. This means that an undergraduate research project can be extremely exploratory. For example, faculty have had undergraduate researchers:
Alternatively, an undergraduate researcher can be an invaluable part of an already established project by:
Mentoring undergraduate researchers can also aid in professional development in the classroom:
Overall, faculty benefit in terms of both personal and professional satisfaction. As students are more productive, faculty in turn attract better students, extend their professional network of future colleagues, and amplify their own success.
Faculty mentoring is a required part of applications for Undergraduate Research and Travel Fellowships through the Office of Undergraduate Research.
Faculty seeking funds to support their own research endeavors should investigate University-sponsored awards through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.