Most of our faculty at ETSU are experts at being a faculty mentor
to undergraduate students. Much of the following may be either obvious
or very familiar to you, but we thought that providing some guidelines
and suggestions for the Research Faculty Mentor might be particularly
As a Faculty Mentor, your role concentrates on helping the student
develop all the abilities required to do quality, independent, academic
research that contributes to your discipline. In particular, your
task focuses on:
- guiding the student in selecting, developing and refining a
research or creative project;
- teaching the student those all important, discipline-distinct
- enabling the student to become self-reliant; and
- decoding the system, including policies, rules and regulations.
Just as with graduate students or in other teaching situations,
- are responsible for the academic integrity of the student's
- should help the student to be aware and sensitive to plagiarism
and/or misrepresentation of information,
- must maintain an ethical relationship with the student.
You will need to be sensitive to the issue that you are involved
in a professional collaboration with the student. If your collaboration
with this student results in a worthwhile contribution suitable for
publication in your discipline, joint student-professor authorship
often is appropriate.
The following are suggestions on how to guide your undergraduate
research student through their project:
- Weekly meetings with the student, even if brief, are a good
idea. Developing self-discipline for regular, measurable work often
is a difficulty for the typical undergraduate student who is also
enrolled in 12-15 hours of other coursework.
- Plan a timetable that describes "guideposts" of progress
with the student. For example---projects based primarily on library
research are most successful if the student completes an annotated
bibliography by mid-semester; projects in the studio or performing
arts and in creative writing need deadlines for completion of artistic
components; and projects requiring laboratory work profit from
a literature review coupled with a draft of methods & materials
due by the middle of the first semester.
- In sciences and humanities, use the students' literature review
to assist them in choosing a targeted scholarly journal to follow
for the format of their written report or thesis. Be sure to explain
how specifically you wish them to follow that format. In the case
of more creative works, requiring a written essay or narrative
that describes the goals of the project, both personal and in context
of the discipline. They may expand the written narrative to document
their project with photographs of artwork or performances, a diary
of their experiences, and/or the creative writing piece authored
by the student.
If you are working with an honors student who needs to prepare
a Senior Honors Thesis for presentation and submission to the University
Honors Program Office, please review
guidelines and deadlines for an Honors Thesis.